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Comment why? because it works. (Score 1) 112

uber. use app. get information on when your ride is coming and where it is now. There is no haggle over price, no need to have cash, and no decision on a tip amount. Overall experience: A

taxi. call. wait. no further information available. Some take credit cards, others not. There's always an issue of how much to tip. Many drivers spend the whole ride on the telephone even when asked not to. Overall experience: D-

In my area, taxi service is poor. I've waited up to 45 minutes for a cab. I've never waited more than 15 minutes for uber. Taxis could duplicate or better uber but they chose not to because they are protected (in my area) and have no incentive to spend any money on improving the customer's experience. (Recently it has taken a contentious law just to get taxis to accept credit cards.)

Comment don't bother (Score 1) 3

Best advice from a friend who travels frequently to China.

1. Get a cheap laptop. Use it. Wipe it when you return. Presume it is compromised at all times.
2. Get a cheap disposable cellphone. Throw it way when you return. Presume that all conversations and messages are being read by someone else. They are.

His company issues him a cell phone and computers expressly for China which are cleaned upon return. He is not allowed to take his usual company issued equipment into China and is strongly advised not to take any personal computing equipment as well.

Leave your good stuff at home. If you insist on taking your good stuff, wipe it clean upon return and restore from a known backup.

As to circumventing the rules in place within China, give it up.

Whatever you take to China will likely be hacked. Get over it.

Comment try photoshop elements (Score 1) 326

Photoshop Elements is a good choice. I have over 15,000 images. The windows version is good at organizing. You can tag, group, etc. Once you've collected the tags, etc, you can write the information to the actual images as exif metadata so that you are not dependent upon the embedded Microsoft Access db they use. You can also leave the images where they are in PSE and don't need to move them around or stick them in a proprietary db.

For comparison I've also tried Photoshop Lightroom, Apple's Apperture, and Iphoto (the latter two are os/x only). I found PSE to be superior to any of these and cheaper too.
I've heard that Picasa is good too but I have no experience with it.

Hope that helps.

Comment it ain't gonna happen. (Score 1) 495

Nice article.

A waste of time, ones, and zeros.

Neither Adobe nor Apple have any reason to compromise unless and until the Feds get involved and force the issue in which case the solution will be worse than the disease.

Let them both eat cake.

(Disclaimer: I love the closed environment of the iPhone and iPad. It keeps some of the junk out of my way.)

Comment Verizon. The worst of the worst. (Score 1) 738

These CEO nuts must come from some place in outer space. Perhaps there is a nebula somewhere that births the likes of Verizon's CEO, CitiBank's CEO, etc. Certainly they never had a mother.

I hate Verizon. If they were the only carrier available to me I would do without. As bad as AT&T (my cell carrier) and Cox (my cable provider) are, they combined and squared could not approach the level of poor service I have experienced with Verizon.

Verizon. Never. Ever. One of the absolute worst companies.

Comment my experience with private insurance (Score 5, Informative) 1197

I had a stint of several years without corporate insurance. The situation is grim and I can only tell you what I ended up doing.

I too had a family (3 kids and a wife). I found a private plan with Blue Cross that cost around $1200/month and considered it a steal. (Although I was not affected, I heard horror stories about individuals who were unable to get private insurance at any cost.) The coverage was similar to my prior corporate plan but with higher deductibles and more gate-keeping by our primary care physician.

After a year of this I looked around for an alternative and moved to a high-deductible plan with Aetna (deductibles were $5k/person; $15K/family) and opened an HSA. I contributed the maximum allowed to the HSA each year (note, this is not a FSA!). For the remaining years this was the approach I took and it worked well but no one got seriously ill, we didn't need any hospitalization, and only used a hospital once for my daughter's broken foot. For the duration I was with Aetna's high-deductible plan, they paid nothing, but my cost was only $612/month and I got the tax benefits of the HSA.

Absent a health plan you are paying retail for all medical services vs. the negotiated cost your insurer has obtained. You still end up paying a lot (all?) out-of-pocket but at a reduced rate. The same applies to prescription drugs. This negotiated cost business is the secret sauce of the industry. You go to your doctor and he charges you $100 for the office visit and $300 for an x-ray. But Aetna has negotiated these fees to be $65 and $125 respectively which is what you end up paying unless you've reached your $5K deductible. If you've got the money in your HSA you pay it from there using pre-tax dollars. If you don't have any insurance (or the doctor doesn't take your plan) then you pay the whole retail price ($400 in this example).

We had no dental nor eye care coverage for the duration but both can be paid using the HSA account.

In both policies a pregnancy was specifically excluded but we had finished our family by then so it was not an issue for us.

I hope this helps.


Dying Man Shares Unseen Challenger Video 266

longacre writes "An amateur video of the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explosion has been made public for the first time. The Florida man who filmed it from his front yard on his new Betamax camcorder turned the tape over to an educational organization a week before he died this past December. The Space Exploration Archive has since published the video into the public domain in time for the 24th anniversary of the catastrophe. Despite being shot from about 70 miles from Cape Canaveral, the shuttle and the explosion can be seen quite clearly. It is unclear why he never shared the footage with NASA or the media. NASA officials say they were not aware of the video, but are interested in examining it now that it has been made available."

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