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Comment Re:Specialization is dying (Score 1) 296

This. I was consulting with three separate companies back in 1997, pulling down a good deal of income with my activities. When my firstborn came along, I found myself not able to do the extended hours some of my clients needed anymore, and I decided to take full time employment with a company, trading my higher income (as a self-employed consultant) for more job security for my family. I'm also not as great a salesman of myself, and I found myself not enjoying having to go out and find new contracts (although I had plenty of referrals to keep me busy).

Submission + - Is Buying an Extended Warranty Ever a Good Idea? (

waderoush writes: Consumer Reports calls extended warranties 'money down the drain,' and as a tech journalist and owner of myriad gadgets — none of which have ever conked out or cracked up during the original warranty period — that was always my attitude too. But when I met recently with Steve Abernethy, CEO of San Francisco-based warranty provider SquareTrade, I tried to keep an open mind, and I came away thinking that the industry might be changing. In a nutshell, Abernethy says he’s aware of the extended-warranty industry’s dreadful reputation, but he says SquareTrade is working to salvage it through a combination of lower prices, broader coverage, and better service. On top of that, he made some persuasive points – which don’t seem to figure into Consumer Reports’ argument – about the way the 'risk vs. severity' math has changed since the beginning of the smartphone and tablet era. One-third of smartphone owners will lose their devices to drops or spills within the first three years of purchase, the company’s data shows. If you belong to certain categories — like people in big households, or motorcycle owners, or homeowners with hardwood floors — your risk is even higher. So, in the end, the decision about buying an extended warranty boils down to whether you think you can defy the odds, and whether you can afford to buy a new device at full price if you’re one of the unlucky ones.

Submission + - EPA: No Single Cause for Colony Collapse Disorder (

alphatel writes: Citing a wide range of symptoms, a federal report released today has concluded that no single event, pesticide or virus can be held responsible for CCD in North American bee colonies. Meanwhile, Europe has moved towards banning neocotinids for two years.

EPA's Jim Jones stated, “There are non-trivial costs to society if we get this wrong. There are meaningful benefits from these pesticides to farmers and to consumers, as well as for affordable food.” May R. Berenbaum, head of the department of entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a participant in the study, said “There is no quick fix. Patching one hole in a boat that leaks everywhere is not going to keep it from sinking.”

Comment Re:Going to get modded down as sexist for this, bu (Score 1) 690

I normally never respond to ACs, but there is a kernel of truth in this. My wife (M.S. in Speech Pathology) dropped out of her career about 16 years ago when we started having a family. I had several other girls (before I got married) who were very interested in me, but had as a goal to start a family and not have to work anymore.

Now, this doesn't necessarily apply to all women - there's several in the department I work in who work and raise kids, and some who never had kids and as such never had the desire to drop out of a career. However, there are more women than not who would like to be supported by a man, if only to be there for their kids.

Comment Re:Seriously? (Score 1) 340

Well, I can't say that much about a 52' boat, but I can say that some of us do know something about sailing, especially if you are (or were) in Sea Scouts. I'm the skipper of a Ship in Texas, and while I haven't done any sailing around the world, I will say that you can get some good ideas from people on here who do know technology.

That being said, however, the GP is right - Slashdot is a lousy place to get advice on what electronics to have on any sort of sailing vessel - seek out places like Sailing Anarchy for more pertinent ideas and suggestions.

Comment I live and work near SH-130 (Score 1) 992

I actually live and work within 10 miles of the southern end of SH-130. I'm not concerned about the higher speeds on the highway, because I've traveled on the Autobahn in Germany many times, and as long as you watch the traffic and don't be a jerk about how you travel, I will be extremely glad when this road opens. It will make getting up to Austin considerably quicker (it can take 2 hours sometimes to get to a place in Austin from here), and if it reduces the parking lot known as I-35 in Austin, I for one will gladly travel on SH-130

Comment Re:If Obama's BIRTH can be an issue (Score 1) 571

There is no such thing as "free health care"

Of course there is. Like public roads and public libraries, free health care is free to use.

As opposed to toll roads, bookstores, and for-profit hospitals, which all cost money to use.

Perhaps they are considered free to use. Somebody still has to pay the bills for the staff, the buildings, the supplies, the hardware, etc. That's why so many hospitals are going bankrupt, closing their emergency rooms because people come in yet can't pay for the services rendered. TANSTAAFL All of the "free to use" things still cost money, and they have to get paid for by someone - and guess who gets to foot the bill? Yes you, the overburdened taxpayer!!!

Comment Re:If Obama's BIRTH can be an issue (Score 1) 571

So let me get this straight. The richest country in the world can't afford free health care for all of its citizens?

There is no such thing as "free health care". Someone has to pick up the tab, and that tab is accelerating upwards at a pace faster than the GDP. Do you want the State to pick up the costs? Fine, then prepare to have even more money siphoned from your paychecks. Health costs need to be brought under control, and unless you like a bureaucratic state solution like Britain, you have to push the decisions back to the individual who can decide for themselves as to whether a certain procedure is necessary or not. Yes, people will make bad choices, and that happens - but people also make choices to eat fatty foods and die at an earlier pace than healthier individuals.

Comment Re:Nokia selling more of its crown jewels (Score 1) 93

Look any way you slice it Nokia is dead and they were dead before Elop ever walked in the door, why? Because their big business is about to go the way of the 8-track, that's why. Nokia made their money on dumbphones and we can all see the writing on the wall, as the chips drop dumbphones will disappear. Hell Walmart has begun offering smartphones on their cheapo prepaid plans at $125, when that gets down to $50 that's it, its over.

Not necessarily, though for a growing-smaller percentage there will always be a need for a dumb phone option. My mother-in-law just got such a phone to replace her old phone through Verizon (may they rot in some abyss). My wife and I tried to gauge her ability to use anything with a higher degree of tech (such as a tablet) and she absolutely cannot do it (even with a couple weeks of work). We broke down and got her a very basic pre-paid phone plan, with a very basic telephone, and she's thrilled.

Now, for those of us able to use smartphones, we'll never go back - but there will always be a segment of society that needs a minimal phone.

Comment No big secrets here (Score 4, Insightful) 320

Big thing is to first know where you are spending money, and then categorize your expenses into what is a can't-do without, must have, nice to have, and frivolous buckets. You need to put about 10% of your income into a long-term retirement fund, and have (ideally) six months of living expenses in a money-market or savings account (Must have). You need to put a certain amount of money aside each month for certain necessities (housing, required food, loan payments) (can't do without (unless you're living in your parent's basement)). Most of the rest of it tends to be the nice-to-have (like cell phones, phone lines, new clothes, eating out).

I would agree that cable internet is indispensable to me for work purposes, and would be one of the last things that I would cut back on in the event of a major problem (like losing a job).

I pay about $225 for phone service, cell phone service, and satellite service, with another $50 for cable internet (total of $275). I've looked at getting rid of the home line and going strictly cell phone, but my spousal overlord unit isn't ready to do that yet, and with three teenagers in the house, I expect my telephone costs to be going up here until they move out of the house.

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