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Comment Re:How about insulation and whatnot? (Score 1) 712

Insulation is good in walls and ceiling attic spaces.
Windows have been replaced over the last couple years.
Exterior Doors and sliding glass door replaced as well, all with energy rated replacements.
Even hung e-rated window blinds which believe it or not make a notifiable difference.
That changes helped a lot actually I think the first year we went through 3 tanks of oil to barely make it through the season. After insulation, doors and windows it dropped closer to 2 tanks a year, (50% improvement) but this winter has been unreasonably cold compared to previous years.

10 years ago it didn't cost nearly as much to fill the oil tank. I think the first year in this house it was around $360.00 to fill the 250 Gallon oil tank. With heating oil hitting close to $4.00 per gallon now, that's up to almost $1000.00 to fill the tank each time. I think my last fill bill was $960.00

No amount of insulation is going to offset that increase in oil pricing.

Comment Re:What to replace coal with? (Score 2, Interesting) 712

I converted my home to heat with Coal this year, as I can no longer afford the ridiculous cost of heating oil.

Cost to Heat Last season with heating Oil -- $2,200.00 (675 Gallons of Oil)
Cost to Heat this season after converting to Coal $660.00 (3 Tons of Coal)

Tried a pellet stove last year, it barely put out enough BTU's to heat one room in the house. That was a $3200.00 boondoggle, took a huge loss reselling the thing.

Don't mention geoThermal as the incredibly high cost of installation, plus the necessary Electrical service upgrade to support the electric booster furnace for this region, makes it unaffordable to install in an older home, like most other 'green' solutions.

Until someone finds a cost effective, affordable solution to replace these, Coal will remain king in my home.

Comment Re:Here's how I handle it... (Score 1) 388

I received messages from a family talking to some college student about help with his drug issues. then got in a mail exchange for the same family coordinating holiday plans, asking if I was coming home for holidays and when I would be there. I responded nicely several times telling them they had the wrong email address, and please would they all remove me from their address books, then please contact Matt in VA and get his correct email, because I am Mark and I live in OH. My plea went unanswered as they continued to include me in their messages. I finally had to RESORT TO YELLING AND BEING NASTY before they finally removed me from their correspondence. I guess being nice doesn't always work. Now if only I could get Matt to quit using my email address in the stupid redbox. There is no way to opt out of notifications from the redbox when people enter your email when renting or returning a movie. I wonder how dense you have to be to continually enter the wrong email address as your own.

Comment Re:How it works. (Score 1) 229

ATMs keep track of how much cash is in the dispenser (entered into the system when the cash is loaded) It keeps track of all transactions, successful or failed.

The inexpensive retail ATM's we manufacture can track how much cash was dispensed if the dispense was not complete, of if there was an issue and cash was diverted from being dispensed into the reject tray. The terminal will automatically reverse a transaction if it failed to fully or partially dispense the requested cash during a transaction, and will credit the difference back to your account.

I have a hard time believing a machine that costs $1500.00 can do all that yet a $50k ATM on the side of a bank cannot. Banks also reconcile their machines nightly, comparing the cash in the Dispenser cassettes, the reject tray, and the transaction journal reports. It had better all balance. I own and operate several ATMs and I can assure you I check to ensure everything balances..

So if there was One transaction where the machine pulled back the '$300.00 you failed to remove from the machine' and everything doesn't balance, when they reconcile the machine, how hard do you really think it would be for them to figure out ? I say it would take them less than 5 minutes to find where the money went.

If what you mention was actively being exploited the banks would be loosing money and they would not sit idly by, I am positive they would be going after the manufacturer of the machine with a vengeance, and the issue wouldn't be hanging out there for 8 months..

Comment Re:They got the ability to talk though (Score 1) 229

The company I work for manufactures ATMs. Our machines do NOT run Windows or any other Commercial OS. They are fully compliant with PCI and ADA requirements. They include the headphone jack and audio prompts you mention among other requirements.

So what was the requirement that necessitated the use of Windows ? It's only a platform and is not needed to accomplish those goals. The OS used is irrelevant to ease-of-use by the disabled. The ADA guidelines state that ALL new machines manufactured after a certain date must include those features. Older machines of course are grandfathered in, due to the excessive cost of upgrading or overhauling them. f you take ANY machine out of service to replace it, it must be replaced with a terminal that meets the current guidelines.

You might be surprised to find out there were still terminals through the end of last year using only single DES encryption. At the end of the year we shut down all of the terminals we handle processing for that were not upgraded. I can't say the same for other processors or sponsor banks. It wouldn't surprise me in the least to find out people were still operating those insecure out of compliance terminals.

Funny the ATMs installed in the banks cost around $50k While ours are in the range of $1500.00 - $2000.00. We have manufactured to date around 6000 machines and handle processing for over 12,000 terminals (ours and other manufacturers). to date none of our machines have been subject to fraud via tampering in any fashion. that includes denomination fraud, code insertion, skimming devices.

Quite frankly the process we have to go through for certification of any hardware or software change, I don't understand how the big guys keep ending up so vulnerable. They attempt to freeze, drill, Shock, inject foreign substances, pry apart, cut open, and whatever else they can come up with to assault our terminals to ensure they are not able to be physically or electronically compromised. Do the big guys get an automatic pass on the certification process, just because of who they are ? We sure as heck don't..

Comment Phone Company Demarcation vs. Network cabling (Score 1) 837

The easy way to handle this would have been to have the demarcation point located in your Server room to begin with. Sounds to me like they went cheap to begin with by not having the teleco drop it directly into the server room. What I did at our facility is have all phone and data circuits terminate in the Server room as the main demarcation point. the phone company was more than happy to do this provided I supplied them with a 4" diameter conduit from the entry point at the side of the building to the destination. They then proceeded to insert a single 1/2" diameter cable to provide all my circuits through this conduit. On the upside I never have to worry about extending a line, and the phone company is responsible for the circuit right into my data center. from which point I can use any standard 20' Patch cable to reach any of the telecommunications or Data com equipment. I designed to avoid having to customize cables.

The 4" conduit still baffles me though.. it's so big for such a tiny cable.

That being said, as others have stated. Do what the boss wants,

Comment Re:FBI Resources - Yes they too are understaffed. (Score 2, Insightful) 464

You should get to know your local FBI agents, you will get a better feel for the cases they work. you might change your opinion when you see the variety of different cases they pursue. Join a local chapter of Infragard so you can become informed. Most interesting are the sessions where they break down a case from beginning to end, explaining how and why they got involved, the course of the investigation, and how they closed the case. FBI Agent even have a pretty good sense of humor believe it or not..

Here in Cleveland they DO go after political corruption (The number of local raids this year has been astonishing), Child porn, Computer based Crimes, the list goes on and on.. The decision to accept or not accept a case is sometimes determined by the Financial losses incurred, Of course that criteria would not apply to all types of crimes.

I hope you aren't basing your opinion off of how the FBI is portrayed on television and in the movies. If so then maybe you believe Wolverine is a real person too...

Comment Re:There is some bad news too (Score 1) 440

Well those numbers are certainly skewed as usual.

Why do I say that ? Well I purchased a netbook with Windows on it, wiped it and loaded Linux. Why did I buy the Windows netbook when it's available with Linux ? Because the Linux version of the same netbook had lower specs, for memory and storage. So yes my purchase contributed to that 90% figure, but due to users like myself that 90% figure is not accurate. there are quite a few people that did the same thing as me, they didn't feel they should be shorted on Secs just because they planned to run Linux on their Netbook.

Why won't manufacturers offer identically configured Hardware with Linux or Windows OS options ?

Comment Re:Aren't thereFREE upgrades? (Score 1) 440

I believe that will be for a limited time with restrictions. as in, If you buy your new PC from an OEM within 90 Days of the Windows 7 release you might qualify for the free upgrade.. but you will have to notify the OEM at time of purchase that you want the free upgrade to Windows 7

The actual free upgrade program may be better or worse then my speculation of it, time will tell..

There is no way they will extend that free upgrade to ALL Vista users, as nice as that would be..

Comment Re: Firefly (Score 5, Informative) 753

I really enjoyed the firefly series after purchasing it on DVD, and watching the episodes in order. FOX seemed to do everything in their power to kill this show..

1. Friday night scheduling.
2. Airing the episodes out of order.. I mean HELLO ?? The order was 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 4, 5, 9, 10, 14, 1; with 11 â" 13 unaired

The wikipedia entry for Firefly contains more detailed criticism of Fox for their treatment of this series.

Fox is definitely the last place you want to try out a new series. It's hard to start watching a new series on their network, knowing their track record for killing off anything that might be halfway decent.. Why bother getting interested in a show that won't be around tomorrow ?

Comment ETQW - bargain bin, and not so Bargain Bin (Score 1) 763

So I'm in Best Buy last week and I decided to browse the PC game isle for something that would run on my Linux system. I see Enemy Territory Quake Wars (ETQW) (released Oct 07) and the price is $49.99 Ouch.. I browsed a bit more and see a special edition version of the same game for $29.99 so I bought it. Grabbed the Linux installer from the net and started playing the game.. So far so good !!

I stop in MicroCenter over the weekend and see ETQW for $4.99. I immediately bitched and moaned, was really glad i hadn't done the impulse buy of the $50.00 version. I then bought 4 more copies from Microcenter for my friends and nephews so we can all get online and play together.. so my total investment now is $50.00 / 5 games $10.00 per copy.

I imagine I could have looked for a key gen on the net and installed from my disc onto their machines, but For $5.00 why not make em all legit ? I should know better than to even look in BB for anything PC related.. it was an impulse decision because I hadn't bought a new PC game for a while. I too am gun-shy of dropping $60.00 on a game that bites..

The last game I pre-ordered (savage2) had the minimum system specs change before release and the game wouldn't run on my hardware. They now give that game away for free, and it still won't run on my machine. That game was release around the same time as ETQW

Who would have thought a game couldn't step down and run on a geforce 6800 ? yes the card is old, but it's the fastest one I can get for an AGP slot, a video card upgrade means a full system upgrade at this point. Since the PC runs so well I haven't been able to justify the expense to myself.

Comment Forgery is illegal.. how is it unfair ? (Score 3, Interesting) 251

Apparently this is a little unfair- he sniffed the data, he didn't actually make a fake passport.

Of course he only sniffed the data and didn't make a fake passport.. If merely sniffing the data proves your point, why would you subject yourself to penalties for forgery ?

U.S.C. Â 1543 provides:

Whoever falsely makes, forges, counterfeits, mutilates, or alters any passport or instrument purporting to be a passport, with intent that the same may be used; or

Whoever willfully and knowingly uses, or attempts to use, or furnishes to another for use any such false, forged, counterfeited, mutilated, or altered passport or instrument purporting to be a passport, or any passport validly issued which has become void by the occurrence of any condition therein prescribed invalidating the same

Shall be fined not more than $2,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

I certainly would have stopped at successfully sniffing the data. besides all a terrorist has to do is rig the bomb so it will automatically go off when it detects a pre-specified number of US RFID passports in the vicinity.. Now, don't you feel that RFID in your passport has made you more secure ?

The Courts

Journal Journal: Big Win for Innocent RIAA Defendant

Good news for an "almost" victim of the RIAA: "she's won back her attorneys' fees. The decision today is one of the first in the country to award attorneys fees to a defendant in an RIAA case over music sharing on the Internet." Another, similar "writeup: Court Awards Wrongly Sued Woman Legal Fees From The RIAA; Calls Lawsuits Frivolous And Unreasonable

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Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming