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Comment This happened on Law& Order seven years ago... (Score 1) 227

Lennie Briscoe was working on this care in 2003:

Elderly man owns his Harlem brownstone free and clear. Some scammer steals his identity on line, takes out a second mortgage on the house, hides the money, loan goes into default, bank forecloses, real owner is out on the street.

Then he finds scammer and kills him. Which is kind of interesting, since the victim is 79 years old in the story.

So, if they're doing it on prime time TV in 2003, it's not a story today. No matter where it happened.

Comment Re:There's great stuff there!!! Go see it! (Score 1) 122

1>> Well, one should expect this when one is within shouting distance of one of the most secure buildings in the world. The same thing sometimes occurs near other buildings in the DC region. But Fort Meade? You're lucky you get stuff on your car radio.

2>> I work at that big five-sided building a few miles up the road from the NSA site. I was working a recent Saturday and on my way into the building, I spotted a small contingent of tourists from a friendly foreign nation (at least I hope they're still friendly) happily snapping away at group shots with the building in the background (including an entrance area). Also being captured in the photo was a large sign that said "Photography Prohibited", along with an image of a camera with the circled red line (I thought that was the international symbol for "NO"). I noticed one of the building's uniformed security personnel approaching, and helpfully pointed out the sign to the photographer. One of the group spoke a little English, at least enough to explain what was up...apparently, they just didn't see the sign.

What's ironic about this is that there's a heavily-visited memorial park right outside the building, and photos are permitted there...even if you're facing the building itself. My guess is that those signs have been there for a long time (the memorial only opened in 2008), and they're still itchy about people photographing entrances and access point to the building.

3>> Don't porn sites do this as well? Their gift shop management is likely contracted out.

4>> Subsidized with your tax dollars. I worked in a secure building with access restricted to certain people, and the soda machines in there sold canned brand-name drinks for fifty cents. In the "open" building across the parking lot, they were a buck.

Comment The Nexus was the best phone purchase I ever made. (Score 3, Interesting) 366

I began considering the Nexus when Google first introduced it. Like most others, I was unsure because of the $529 price tag. My wife and daughter were also in the market for new phones. Having already owned an HTC G1, the question of Android performance was never an issue (I paid full price for that phone, too).

The issue for me was contracts. My contract with T-Mobile had expired, and I wasn't willing to lock into another one. T-Mobile had also just introduced some new no-contract plans, so I did some math.

I ran the numbers for getting a two-year contract with two new MyTouch 3Gs at the $149 subsidized price. I wanted an unlimited everything plan. Then I looked at the same idea, only I'd buy the MyTouch phones at retail ($399 each). with their no-contract Even More Plus plan. Over the course of the same two years, I would pay $500 *less* for the phones and the service, without a lock-in. Not only that, T-Mobile made me a great offer: if I purchased the phones in a retail store, I could pay $20 down on each, plus the sales tax (about $50 total for both phones), and then pay the phones off at $20 per month each, added to my bill, with no interest. I could pay off the phones at any time.

That $500 savings justified the cost of the Nexus. The girls love their MyTouch devices, and the Nexus is probably the best phone I've ever owned. I've already rooted and modded it. Buying it unlocked was a plus, especially when I traveled to Europe a few weeks ago: slip in a local SIM and off I went.

Perhaps I'm fortunate in that buying the phone at full price is something I can do, but the sales model is something that makes sense. I can see this becoming more common in the future: manufacturers create the devices, make them workable on multiple carriers (especially for data between AT&T and T-Mobile in the US), sell them unlocked and let people just pick a carrier and buy a plan.

Then again, I know what I want. I don't necessarily need to touch something to see it's value.

Comment Well played, dinosaurs. (Score 1) 124

Let's see...

CBS News is in the ratings tank, despite paying buckets of money to people like Katie Couric, one of the worst "news reporters" in television history. No one is watching there.

CNN's prime-time news show ratings are routinely beaten by cable infomercials shown at three in the morning. Nothing there either.

So, they're going to merge and hope this raises ratings?

What could possibly go wrong?

Comment Re:CDMA2000 is a big wrinkle (Score 1) 405

T-Mobile is probably the closest thing the U.S. has to the European phone market, but among U.S. nationwide carriers, it has the worst signal coverage.

I would argue your last point. Having been a T-Mo customer for a long time, perhaps I'm biased, but my recent experiences tell me otherwise. I have a Nexus One with their unlimited, no-contract plan, and I'm getting strong, solid HSDPA data signals in a variety of U.S. East Coast locations, specifically, NYC/Long Island, the D.C. region and northeast Florida, near Jacksonville. I have experienced some locations where the phone signal is weak from time-to-time, but what carrier doesn't have that issue?

This is in contrast to a number of my cultish iPhone-loving friends who bitch to me constantly as to how terrible their service is in New York City.

I find it interesting that people believe this about T-Mobile's signals, but you never see the other carriers compare their services to T-Mobile's. Ever.

Maybe I've been fortunate. But no one is that lucky.

Comment Mint. Especially Min8 KDE Community Edition. (Score 1) 766

Mint is based on the Ubuntus, so it has access to the same software repositories.

The installer is pretty much the same as Ubuntu's, which means it's easy.

The one thing that Mint has over regular Ubuntus is that the Mint builders have included all the non-free, somewhat-proprietary stuff about which most FOSS purists get their panties in a twist. Having been a Linux user since the beginning, I agree with and fully support the idea of FOSS, GPLs and the like. In theory, it's wonderful, and it's brought a great set of computing tools to the world. But the Richard Stallman-influenced world of "only fully free is acceptable" makes no sense in the real world (well, maybe in Stallman's world), especially among the people the poster is attempting to assist.

Most Windows users/converts want stuff to just work. Leaving out multimedia codecs because someone has a copyright on it or because you're offended by the license restrictions doesn't help the user who doesn't understand those lofty concepts. Yes, people can learn about and and decide for themselves, and yes, hopefully, someone will come along and develop fully-free, GPL'ed versions of all the offending tools. But, in the meantime, people want their shit to work.

Mint comes as close to this environment as you're going to get. You do a basic install, and everything works out of the box, including just about any multimedia content you can throw at it. And the standard install has all the things you need: a messenger tool, Thnderbird for mail, multiple browsers (including Firefox), and office suites for all the Powerpoint stuff (OpenOffice is there by default).

I can recommend the KDE Community Edition for a number of reasons, the most important of which is that the KDE 4.3 setup in Mint 8 will provide a very comfortable interface for someone transitioning from Windows. Yes, people will have to learn a few things, like which app does which thing, but even the menu design will make that simple. The familiar toolbar is there, pretty much the way you described it, and adding desktop and toolbar widgets is a snap. This is a feature that will be a kick to a lot of new users.

There's no question that you might run into some issues with really exotic hardware, but those instances are becoming rarer by the day. As for customization, well, there's a lot built in for changing the look-and-feel around, and there's a lot of skins and themes available with a simple download.

With a very active on-line community, there are few issues that can't be solved.

Have a look at the LiveCD and see if you agree. I believe most of these users will be very pleased.

Comment Advice from a 30-year veteran (Score 2, Insightful) 1146

1. Love one another. That's #1 and it always will be. If there is no mutual love, nothing else matters. Your definition and feelings about love (yes, it's about feelings, not just logic or chemical reactions) might be different from hers, but it's not definable anyway. You'll both know it when you have it. Keep it.

2. Stop reading the books. Books are bullshit. The relationship you create with one another is far beyond what can be defined within the squared-off parameters of some outsider's perspective or opinions. All you're doing is making the people who write those useless things a little more wealthy. In fact, you probably should not be listening to anyone on this site about this, including me, but I'm not charging you. Just remember what I say may be worth what you're paying for it. When all the books talk about "compatibility" and the like, they're ignoring the incredible relationships of polar opposites...I think of Mary Matalin and James Carville as a public example. In my own family, I see a couple who are as politically opposite as you can get, but they worship one another. Sometimes, it's not about being compatible, but loving and accepting someone, even if they're different.

3. Here's some man advice: listen. Trust me on this one...don't ever shut her off, no matter how boring the subject matter is, and especially if she wants to vent (yes, even about you). You can have your say when the time comes, but you have to learn to listen to her, showing interest in what she has to say. Always. Even if you don't agree. If you can do this, it will go a long way to your marriage lasting forever. This doesn't mean caving in or compromising. She needs to do the same thing. But men seem to have an issue with this...believe me, I do at times...but this is something that most women wish their men did better. Doing it isn't difficult. The effort you make will be appreciated in spades.

4. Remember that things work both ways. It's a marriage, not a game. You don't push the stick and expect her to move the way you want when you want. Same thing for her. If you like something, tell her. Then find out what she likes and do it. In all things, from movies to leisure to TV to sex. Everything. You cannot get the things you want from a relationship if you're not willing to share that responsibility. Neither can she.

5. If you value your relationship and you truly love her, be ready for fight for her, hard. I hope that you never have a reason to do this, but you have to be willing to give it all up for her if that moment comes. I'm not speaking just of "fighting" in the physical sense, but emotionally, romantically, spiritually, whatever. In the end, the fight may be futile, but you have to be willing to go as far as necessary if you value the relationship and want to preserve it, even save it. Some people stay together a long, long time, both knowing that love and devotion are there. But sometimes, one party doesn't realize the depths of love and devotion the other has, because words and physical gestures are not often enough to express it. The day may come when you really have to reach down for this, so be prepared for it.

Now, the cynics here might read this and laugh and call it bullshit, but I'm just trying to offer some words based on my personal experiences. Just for disclosure's sake, I'm the geek (professionally) and she's a school administrator. She's not a "geek" in the usual definitions of the term, but she's smart, beautiful, and a superb human being. I am as devoted to her now as I was when I first saw her, 36 years ago, when we were seniors in high school. Next month will be our 30th wedding anniversary. Hope that's evidence of experience.

Comment Having worked in the weather community... (Score 3, Informative) 380

...for a number of years (though I'm an IT guy, not a meteorologist), I learned enough to know that not only is this doomed to failure, they should already know that it's not scientifically possible.

How in the name of God are they going to generate the energy needed to cool the water at "greater" ocean depths? The would have to launch a fleet of ships far greater then they can possibly imagine.

Not only does this appear to be scientifically and logistically improbable, but have they ever considered the issues with screwing with global weather patterns? Stopping hurricanes (or, in reality, stopping their potential capability for damage to humans and land structures) is a noble dream, but every weather even had both positive and negative affects on other weather patterns, events that we actually may want to occur.

He would be better off taking all the money he'd invest in this silliness and hand it over to people in hurricane-damaged areas so they can rebuild. Or move.

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