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Comment Re:So you exclude half the taxes and what you get? (Score 1) 903

It's the nickle and diming. Obviously I can pay to do that or I would not have water, but why should I be? It is only because it is a form of lobbied for taxes that you must continue to pay. So I also have a new garbage fee that used to be on my property tax, because of reasons. Why not just put it on the property tax like it used to be? You pay it even if you don't get garbage service. Then there is the automobile safety inspection, of which they literally check the light bulbs and your tires and pretend to look it over at Jiffy Lube. Yeah, that is worth the $40 (and no, this does not include emissions that is separate). It is examples of hidden lobbied for fees that are in essence taxes and are not necessary at all.

I brought the backflow valve up only because I just had to have it done again. Asked the only guy up here how many he has seen fail, and the answer was zero after installation. So basically over 10,000 people are paying $200 for no reason....

Comment Re:So you exclude half the taxes and what you get? (Score 1) 903

Sales tax is often above 6%, even here in Utah. There are state, county and city components to it. The federal gas tax is the low part. State more than doubles that. We pay an additional 29 cents a gallon on that. Given the cost of gas that is an effective 25%ish tax rate. Social security tax is very significant amount, varying by income.

Then again remember the second half of the equation. We are required to by health insurance and nothing is covered. We have to pay out of pocket on top of that to use the health insurance. We have to save for our own retirement as we do not get government pensions back out of our money, and in fact can't even really start collecting social security (our own money) until later and later years. Now approaching the average age that a male dies. We basically get very little for our tax money, and have to make up that difference ourselves, costing us more.

This means that the real effective tax rate is higher, and actual cost of living can be quite high do to the lack of services provided for your taxes. The corporations get cheap tax rates, the extremely rich pay very little, and the middle class carries a significant portion of the tax burden. Look at the effective rate the middle class pays and what they get.

Comment Re:So you exclude half the taxes and what you get? (Score 1) 903

Except once again, this isn't even close to an approximation of what an individual tax payer pays from his income. This takes into account corporate taxes, which are crazy low in the US with all of the shelters, deductions, and dodges. They are looking at the summation of all taxes collected against GDP....

Comment So you exclude half the taxes and what you get? (Score 5, Insightful) 903

I don't think anyone thinks that America's income taxes straight out are that high. But now add in property taxes, which are very significant, social security, etc. That really starts to cover the effective tax rate that you really pay. Then also all the government 'fees' and requirements you pay (required backflow valve inspections at your cost, etc.). Finally, consider what you actually get for it, as we don't get government pensions or healthcare or any kinds of real social service for this money.

So basically they really aren't counting the total real taxes paid, and aren't considering the value of those taxes. Not sure how really useful this comparison is at the end of the day.....
China

Hidden Backdoor Discovered In Chinese IoT Devices (techradar.com) 85

"A backdoor has been found in devices made by a Chinese tech firm specializing in VoIP products," reports TechRadar. An anonymous reader quotes their article: Security outfit Trustwave made the discovery of a hidden backdoor in DblTek's devices which was apparently put there to allow the manufacturer access to said hardware -- but of course, it's also open to being exploited by other malicious parties. The backdoor is in the Telnet admin interface of DblTek-branded devices, and potentially allows an attacker to remotely open a shell with root privileges on the target device.

What's perhaps even more worrying is that when Trustwave contacted DblTek regarding the backdoor last autumn -- multiple times -- patched firmware was eventually released at the end of December. However, rather than removing the flaw, the vendor simply made it more difficult to access and exploit. And further correspondence with the Chinese company has apparently fallen on deaf ears.

The firmware with the hole "is present on almost every GSM-to-VoIP device which DblTek makes," and Trustwave "found hundreds of these devices on the net, and many other brands which use the same firmware, so are equally open to exploit."
Television

Streaming TV Sites Now Have More Subscribers Than Cable TV (axios.com) 47

Nielsen reported this week that millennials "spend about 27% less time watching traditional TV than viewers over the age of 35," possibly threatening the dominance of cable TV. An anonymous reader quotes Axios: Streaming service subscribers (free or paid) increased again (68% in 2016 vs. 63% in 2014) and have caught up with the percentage of paid TV service providers (67%) for the first time ever, according to the Consumer Technology Association's new study, The Changing Landscape for Video and Content. The rise of streaming services represents a shift in consumption habits towards cord-cutting, primarily amongst millennials.
Some other trends are impossible to ignore. 2016 also saw a saw dramatic drops in the use of physical disks -- from 41% in 2015 to just 28% -- as well as another big drop in the use of antennas, from 18% to just 10%.

Comment Unsupervised learning techniques would be better (Score 1) 195

OK, my bet is they are using tensorflow or another neural network behind this with supervised training. NNs are great at performing classifications by basically correlating everything to everything, but they really rely on valid output data to match the input data. Saying some audience rated the post as 'toxic' is really a bad methodology of training such a network. They will likely have a ton of bias based on the audience they have, such that in a democratic website, probably anything that was said by trump will classify as toxic, but on the same exact input on a republican website, it would classify as the greatest thing ever. Not very useful in the real world.
Now in reality if you diversify the sample enough to account for this, it would end up as neutrally activated and if the correct NN were used, would end up as a wash. That is very hard to do, though, as you would need to account for a lot of community biases.
It would be far more interesting if they used unsupervised training and let the posts gather themselves using a technique such as bag of words or other such proven technologies to do more of a sentiment analysis type approach. Then you could be looking out for posts that tended to be 'extremist' in nature, 'low in content' that is not worth your time, etc. That would be far more interesting, allow you to get some idea about the quality of the post, and not be prone to the community bias as it would be based on what was actually written, rather than what some reviewer thought of it.
My guess is google knows this, but also realizes that this will play well with people, as it will introduce a confirmation bias into the results. The people who use this in their own communities will suddenly see all those posts they disagree with, and are thus toxic, disappear. See it works!
Instead what they should be filtering out is all of the posts that spout the same falsehoods again and again, which unsupervised learning would help with. I want to read ideas that are contrary to mine in order to debate and learn. What I don't want to read are the thousands of posts spouting the same false rhetoric again and again. It makes reading any comments on a news group almost intolerable, no matter what their political slant.
Government

FBI and Homeland Security Detail Russian Hacking Campaign In New Report (theguardian.com) 404

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and FBI have released an analysis of the allegedly Russian government-sponsored hacking groups blamed for breaching several different parts of the Democratic party during the 2016 elections. The 13-page document, released on Thursday and meant for information technology professionals, came as Barack Obama announced sanctions against Russia for interfering in the 2016 elections. The report was criticized by security experts, who said it lacked depth and came too late. "The activity by [Russian intelligence services] is part of an ongoing campaign of cyber-enabled operations directed at the U.S. government and its citizens," wrote the authors of the government report. "This [joint analysis report] provides technical indicators related to many of these operations, recommended mitigations, suggested actions to take in response to the indicators provided, and information on how to report such incidents to the U.S. government." The government report follows several from the private sector, notably a lengthy section in a Microsoft report from 2015 on a hacking team referred to as "advanced persistent threat 28" (APT 28), which the company's internal nomenclature calls Strontium and others have called Fancy Bear. Also mentioned in the government document is another group called APT 29 or Cozy Bear. The Microsoft report contains a history of the groups' operation; a report by security analysts ThreatConnect describes the team's modus operandi; and competing firm CrowdStrike detailed the attack on the Democratic National Committee shortly before subsequent breaches of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign were discovered.

Comment Uber Chopper at Sundance (Score 1) 357

Uber tried this same stunt in Utah at the Sundance film festival. They decided they didn't need a permit to land choppers in a regular neighborhood right in town. For a whole day the damn things were flying low over people's houses and dropping off people in a field next to someone's house. No safety equipment, lights, nor even a proper walkway. Just some spray paint on a field

They claimed they had the right and didn't need a permit. It all stopped when the local sheriff informed the pilot of the chopper that if he landed one more time he would impound the chopper and that would be it. Uber then tried to claim they could use the helipad at the sheriff's office under FAA rules. You can guess at this point the pilot had enough and was not willing to continue.

Then we had to pass a bunch of explicit rules against this at the county level, all due to this foolishness and publicity stunt that clearly was not about actually starting an uber chopper business. I expect this will turn out the same.

Submission + - Girls Who Code Launches 'Satirical' video (girlswhocode.com)

clifwlkr writes: Girls Who Code today launched a new 'satirical' video ahead of computer science education week. In it they claim to "call for Silicon Valley to solve real problems, stop replacing mom". So far the reviews on youtube are mostly less than favorable.

So what do you think? Is this an appropriate video to encourage women, or in fact anyone at all to code?

Comment Re:"showcase some of our new thinking" (Score 1) 84

Sounds like a response from an AC who maybe doesn't have a job and can take the time to queue up all songs manually..... Sometimes it is nice to just have songs chosen for you that you might not actually have thought of as related, while you are doing another task such as working or driving. I am sorry that my choice to enjoy this feature deserves my extermination in your eyes. AC's opinion is noted duly....

Comment Re:Plex Pass - for what? (Score 1) 84

There are several additional features available through it such as photo tagging, fingerprinting of music, better grouping of songs to give you a 'plex mix' option, and early access to new features.

The best reason to pay for the pass is the same reason as any other open source software. If you don't pony up some money when you find software like this useful, it will cease to exist. If you want new features and new capabilities down the road, the best way to ensure this is to give them the few dollars to help keep them going. It's not like their price is unreasonable for what they deliver.

Ultimately your choice, as the free version is definitely very capable, but I choose to support their efforts with real dollars.

Comment Re:"showcase some of our new thinking" (Score 4, Informative) 84

Honestly it is much more than that. Like a song you are listening to? You can queue up a 'plex mix' which queues other songs similar to the one you are listening to. Actually works pretty good. Need to transcode that video from a codec not supported on your playback device? Plex does this. I even have one running on a raspberry pi in my truck with my music on it. I have an android car radio, and run their client as my music in the truck. Can pick a genre, song, etc and queue a plex mix while I am driving. All running on Linux. Also downloads and manages trailers for movies, etc. Want to watch a movie or listen to a song while at your hotel on business, or on the road? Plex provides an interface for that as well, with bandwidth optimization with re-encoding.

BTW, most of this functionality is available in the free version. If you want some of the more advanced features, you can choose to pay them for it. I pay for the pass primarily because I want to support their development of a server that really is great for all your media.

Or you could simply use an SMB share for all your music and hunt around by filename. A very different experience. I haven't even scratched the surface on the organizational capabilities for large collections that plex provides.

Comment Re:Not being listened to, but rather shouting (Score 2) 204

And oddly people continue to shout, rather than being listened to in a hidden manner.

This is why I do not participate in things like Facebook. This is a wealth of information about what you do that is freely out there for the government to use for this kind of activity. They don't even have to have a listening device in your house, people voluntarily put all of this up there for them to parse and monitor on a daily basis. This is what the government (and never mind your future employer) will use to make the determination about where your loyalties lie.

Of course then what does posting nothing on these sites say about you as well then? :-)

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