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Comment Cortana -- forcing it more place you don't want it (Score 1) 68

I'm generally happy with Win10 on both my laptops.

But Cortana? Why isn't there an option to disable it completely who don't want it? And why does putting it on the lock screen (hey, if its locked, maybe that's to keep anyone from doing anything, including random voice tasks..) feel like they're just jamming it somewhere *else* it's not wanted because people are ignoring it on the task bar?

I really would like to hear actual meetings where highly paid people at Microsoft think running around like a third-rate Apple knockoff is a good idea.

In addition to seeing some kind of supporting data driving these decisions. Either they'd confirm that research shows shoving Cortana everywhere actually adds to its usage, or they'd confirm there is no data, this is all mental masturbation to further fantasies that badly imitating Apple is actually a strategy.

Comment Can you play Xbox 360 games on it? (Score 1) 83

We won an Xbox 360 in a school raffle two years ago. The Xbox One had just been released. But because it had and the 360 had been on the market for a while, we were able to walk out of a pawn shop with a half-dozen games for less than $50.

I think our total game investment is maybe $100 up to now, and the count is probably 15 or more.

If you can play 360 games on the One, it might make a decent Christmas present if we don't lose the games we own or have to maintain two systems.

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 1) 160

"A century ago, there would be a battle that wiped out the next village, you'd never even hear about it."

Huh? Maybe in the remote parts of Africa or some other place that was still stuck in the stone age. Maybe. In the parts of the worlds actually living in the (early) 20th century not so much.

I think there's some truth to this, in that not even that long ago when something awful happened far away it may have gotten printed in a larger newspaper but even then the details were spartan, often delayed by days or weeks (depending on how far back we're talking).

But now? We get to watch high definition video of the something awful happening in almost real time and within hours we have a mountain of data on it, from facts to photos to additional video, from the other side of the world.

The benefit of not knowing or knowing very poorly was that the something awfuls were less inflammatory. You were, somewhat rightly, more aggrieved about the local awful things, which based on nothing more than probability, were far less awful. And because the focus was more local, the awful things usually involved people like you, so there was less likelihood that the awful things immediately raised tribal instincts.

Now? A member of $group1 is a victim of $group2, and within hours $group1 is rioting in the streets or whipping their members into a froth (if they didn't already whip themselves into one after watching constant HD video replays). Even people without a dog in the fight reframe their conception of their local lives based on what they see, despite these things being remote.

Comment Re:well well well (Score 3, Interesting) 536

That they were terrified of the loudmouth Donald Trump and grew increasingly terrified as he completely sabotaged their own attempt at coronating their own hand-picked stooge to run against Hillary in 2016.

The only difference between them and the Democrats? The RNC failed to derail Trump and the DNC and Hillary Clinton vociferously denied colluding to railroad Bernie Sanders.

The difference is also in expectations. Everyone *expects* the RNC and its major donors to guide a hand-picked favorite son into November. It's who they are. They don't operate under ideological banner that promotes free, open and fair elections -- they want to gut the Voting Rights Act, for example.

The Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, promote themselves as the guarantors of democracy, extending and protecting the franchise and voice of all people. Which is now being exposed for what it was all along -- a sanctimonious fiction and a bill of goods. Instead they spent their time promoting their own handpicked favorite and undermined a worthy and successful challenger.

I try not to buy into the Hillary is corrupt meme. But at this point, there's just too much evidence she's conniving and fundamentally not honest. And I'm not a Trump supporter, but I do have a certain admiration for the way he eviscerated the Republican party.

Comment Re:Not just at the border... (Score 4, Interesting) 286

I love those armed checkpoints many miles from the border in Arizona.

Ironically, the last time I had to go through one I was the passenger in a car with Arizona plates. I'm 50, the driver was 65, both of us are Caucasian men. We had to answer a bunch of questions and were there for 2-3 minutes. The driver lives in Bisbee and has to pass through either the checkpoint in Tombstone or Sierra Vista to go anywhere north (Benson, Tuscon, etc), and so is through the checkpoints all the time.

The car in front of us had *Mexican* plates and 2 passengers. I don't think they were stopped for more than 10 seconds.

That's just fucking great. Two American Citizens NOT crossing a border in a vehicle with in-state plates spend more time answering Border Patrol questions than three likely foreign nationals in a vehicle with foreign license plates. Tell me what this system is about again?

Comment Re:Technology is slowing down. (Score 1) 488

I think you're sort of on the right track, but I think it has even LESS to do with potential technological or engineering innovation.

My sense is that the finance people have basically taken over, and that technology/engineering is being completely driven by financial modeling. Basic technology and innovation is being dictated by what the elaborate revenue models tell them, and the models are built in a way to min/max production cost and consumer spending.

I see this in all kinds of technology situations, where what appear to be the dumbest engineering decisions are made because it requires you to spend more.

I expect the same with the elimination of the heapdhone jack. They will eliminate the 3.5mm jack and replace it with a lightning based audio connector. The specs won't be released until after the phone is available to purchase and they will be the exclusive provider of native Lightning headphones *and* Lightning-3.5mm stereo adapters at huge premiums, raking in nearly exclusive revenue on them for months. They will eventually acquiesce and approve third party 3.5mm adapters, but their licensing process will also also guarantee they get a percentage of ALL of them.

Now, if you look at it from a technology perspective, maybe the 3.5mm jack does need to go. But you don't need much of an imagination to think that maybe there could have been some other jack design implemented that would have still have accomplished the other putative design reasons (thinner, more internal space) and not tied up in a bunch of exclusive-to-Apple IP.

Comment Re:Commingling Inventory (Score 1) 336

What I think is especially maddening is that Amazon allows sellers to brand what look like identical goods with their own names, yet use the EXACT same picture of the items in the listings.

I bought a digital volt/current meter from a company on Amazon and there is another seller selling the EXACT same product using the EXACT same image as the one I bought. Both companies appear fairly engaged in their product (answering questions) and the second seller has suggested usage wiring diagrams as secondary photos.

My guess is that both sellers are selling some kind of Chinese product whose "brand" is whatever factory turns them out, but why does Amazon allow them to use the same photo? Why would they WANT to use the same photo?

Comment Re:This is Why... (Score 2) 125

I prefer driving as well, and even though we have a lot of direct flights from MSP, I find that security, delays, car rental, and so on worth nearly 3 hours or nearly 200 miles of road time on the Interstate. My limit, though, is about 500 miles because distances beyond that are just too time consuming for driving. I did have a trip to Springfield, IL, though which ended up being longer flying than driving would have been due to a cancelled flight and getting re-routed via Chicago.

The upside even if driving is long is you can take stuff with you -- food, full-size monitor, a decent electric kettle, cooler, etc. All that makes a week at a budget hotel much more bearable, especially when you're working 12 hour days. I've worked a couple of projects where I literally didn't need to leave the hotel for 2 days (on one of those trips the manager called me on day 2 asking if everything was OK -- she explained they get edgy when guests at this location don't leave the room for a couple of days as it makes them think of crime/drugs).

From a rights perspective, though, I think it's a mixed bag. The whole TSA experience is like visiting a prison, but I've kind of gotten to the point where I think they don't give a shit about anything but potentially violent people and no longer have the cop's what-can-I-bust-you-for-today mindset.

And in your car, with out of state license plates? You're basically an engraved invitation for a moving violation and an intensive search, and god forbid the cop that pulls you over is anything other than a major city squad or a state trooper. The former don't generally bother with anything but egregious traffic violations and the latter the same, provided your car is late model and in decent shape.

But small-town cops and county sheriff deputies can be real assholes to out of state cars. They are hot shit in their jurisdiction, shitkicker ex-football bullies making $20k/year and just convinced that someone from out of state is carrying mary-wanna and they just love to offer you a deal -- let me search your trunk, or you can have a stay in the county lockup, eat a moving violation, impound fees and lose 48 hours of your life.

Comment Re:Life goes on (Score 1) 121

I remember rumors a few years ago that VMware was going to make a smartphone hypervisor that would allow for smartphone VM partitioning.

The downsides would be battery consumption, paltry RAM on smartphones and the fact that you would basically need a major OEM to bake it into the design.

Of course the unachievable dream would have been iOS and Android VMs on one piece of hardware.

Comment Re:Happens All The Time (Score 5, Interesting) 105

But presumably the Brazilian Google exec was just that -- a Brazilian living and working in Brazil, and presumably under the jurisdiction of their justice system (no matter how non-local the video hosting was).

What I as an American find kind of unappealing is the jurisdictional claims that US law enforcement makes against a foreign national living in a foreign country whose actions took place in a foreign country and only tangentially involved the US, like the guy happened to have a dollar bill in his pocket at the time, so therefore all US laws apply.

I think it's serious overreach and it makes me wonder how safe I am from the reverse situation, some foreign prosecutor who decides that because I said "boo" on the Internet and it breaks some law in Fuckedupistan that they should get to prosecute me.

Comment Re:Not *really* selling student loans (Score 1) 49

I figure there has to be some risk with even the apparent advantages.

For one, you still have to collect on deadbeats. That's not easy.

There could be some kind of shift in the so-called gig economy where like minded student loan evaders eke out some kind of cash-only existence, making them even harder to trace and collect on.

Then there's potential for political action. It's not hard to imagine some kind of "student loan debt relief" where Congress basically forces the holders of these loans to take a haircut after 10 years or rewrites the rules to allow them to be discharged in some manner.

Comment Re:Commingling Inventory (Score 3) 336

This is one of my main complaints -- you find a specific item and there's a dozen or more sellers of the item, including Amazon itself.

I usually filter by Prime and try to choose Amazon as the seller to make sure I have the best chance of getting the real product and a recourse for a failed product.

I think Amazon could benefit itself and its reputation by forcing greater differentiation of products by seller. You would think they would want to for brand identity purposes and to claim more sales, especially when the alternative sellers are often underpricing Amazon. I know they're making money either way, but usually they're making more when they are the seller and not just the transaction handler.

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