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Comment Re:Don't think you can have it both ways. (Score 3, Insightful) 835

If gun ownership in a society is as ubiquitous as in the United States then the police necessarily have to be at least as well armed and trained in military tactics.

Gun ownership is protected by law. And that is all the more reason that the police should behave in a calm and civil manner; they are creating the problem they fear by behaving like violent criminals themselves. "I have to to home at night" will never be an excuse for breaking into someone else's home and creating situations where people get murdered (and the murderers get off being put behind a desk, rather than behind bars).

If they get a warrant describing the specific place or persons to be searched, knock, and calmly identify themselves and their purpose before drawing arms (as they are expected to), they have nothing to fear from normal citizens.

As to the cases where there is genuine risk from armed criminals involved (which remains the case regardless of the legality of arms), well, quite frankly they were aware of that risk when they signed up. If they are not willing exercise more due diligence first or put their lives on the line to protect and serve, then they should find another line of work.

Comment Re:Wow, only $7.25? (Score 1) 1106

I started keeping meticulous financial records when I went back to university several years ago (including all non-cash spending exactly, and cash spending rounded to the dollar). A quick report dumped from that time range shows my annual "mandatory" expenses during that period amounted to approximately $13,000 annually.

The report covers all of the categories I would consider as making up my baseline standard of living--the same report I use now to evaluate how long I would expect my savings to last in the event I were to become unemployed (have to be vigilant in this economy).

Key points:

1) Located in the mid-western US.

2) Single, with own apartment.

3) Broadband internet, prepaid cell, VOIP "landline".

4) High-deductible/HSA individual health insurance (was working on contract at the time). I don't believe those sorts of plans are legal any more, but for someone young and healthy they were an excellent way to save while still having financial protection in a true emergency.

5) Attend a satellite campus or online classes at a public university to reduce tuition expenses. For most jobs, your degree won't matter anyway once you've gotten some experience in your field, so there's little sense for most people to blow tens of thousands of dollars on it.

6) I did not own a credit card during this time, and carried only student debt (because the interest was subsidized and I could invest that amount in something that bore interest TO me instead). That debt was paid in full within a couple of months of finding in-field employment, as soon as I was able to do so while maintaining a minimum level of savings in reserve.

Probably the only significant mitigating factor was that I mostly paid off the cheap used car I had at the time prior to returning to university. However, at $3000 in full that would still have left my annual expenses under $14000 annually if it were paid later. With the savings I set aside during that time, I purchased a low-mileage two-year old car in cash shortly before graduation (which I continue to drive to this day).

The two biggest factors, in my opinion:

1) Location. Don't expect to live in a high-cost area on a minimum wage job. If you're flexible about where you live (state-wise, not just 'what part of town'), it becomes a lot more practical to live on the cheap.

2) Discipline. If you want to live on the cheap, you need to learn how to manage money and plan ahead (months or years out--a paycheck or two out doesn't cut it). If you want a luxury/entertainment item, earn it first, then you can have it (not having credit cards helps with that). If you're single, stay that way--babies aren't cheap, but they don't make themselves.

Comment Re:There is already such a thing. (Score 2) 316

BTW - don't blame the application because every full screen application appears to be mishandled in that way.

All that requires is that the developers implement a borderless display-sized window option (aka fullscreen windowed or fullwindowed), which about half of them already do. I use this whenever available for reasons very similar to what you describe.

Windowed 3D apps will happily switch just like normal app windows do. As I understand it (I only develop business apps personally), Windows/DirectX full screen mode involves an enormous amount of additional resource management when relinquishing and re-assuming exclusive display control, and that's where the problems tend to occur.

Comment Re:does it surprise you? (Score 1) 541

I graduated in 2004 with an Electrical Engineering degree. The total I had in student loans was $0. (zero) Co-op paid for most of my expenses. Courses were about $400, six per term, a total of $2400 per semester. (I know, holy shit, right?) Books were the typical ass-rape, but in the non-lubed Canadian version. (A couple of books were $120, lots at $80, I eventually just gave 'em all away.) I was not living with my parents, and rent was about $500 a month.

If one has the sense to get a marketable degree from a state university in the US (as opposed to paying out the nose for a big name or a useless arts degree), the costs are pretty comparable here. And if you're single, employed, and actually competent at finances, that's actually affordable out-of-pocket as you go. Even if you can't get full-time work while in university, that's still in the neighborhood of only $30k for the whole degree (you'd have to pay housing regardless), so you could certainly put a big dent in that before graduation.

Did it myself--took two years of college on partial scholarship, then paid off the rest on my crap part time wage and found a full time job, took two years of university paying most of it as I went (could have done it all out of pocket but I opted to keep some savings back instead), then got a proper job in my field of study. A few months later (once I was able to do so without taking my savings lower than I was comfortable with), I paid off what little loans I did choose to take in a couple of lumps and was done with it.

It's mostly a matter of actually thinking ahead and learning to delay gratification. Both things that seem to be considered vices these days.

Comment Re:Professional Game Studio? (Score 1) 65

Interestingly, the other games I am more satisfied with are the Supreme Commander titles which are by Gas Powered games who provided the engine (at least) for Demigod.

GPG developed the entire game. Stardock published it and provided the Impulse Reactor overlay and the matchmaking/NAT-Traversal functions (via licensed code from RakNet initially, much of which has been replaced in the weeks since release). Once the NAT-T servers have connected the players together, they hand off to GPG's netcode for the actual gameplay.

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