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Comment Re:Misleading summary (Score 1) 435

The petroleum industry is the #1 tax paying industry to the federal government - something on the order of $50B a year IIRC. In that context, a few percent of that being returned in credits / tax breaks or outright subsidies is more like the 'Cash Back' feature on our credit cards... It is also an example of how any politician, when confronted with a revenue stream, will seek to buy favors with it - which in turn creates an office (or building) full of people asking for it.

I agree with the point - I'd love to see the government get out of the check writing business in a big way, but pretending that Big Oil is getting a free ride is not accurate. If we're going to have a rational discussion on fixing problems we need to be honest with ourselves and each other

Comment Re:Another victim of the Microsoft Tax (Score 1) 246

Retail markup on a pair of Levi's may be 100% - but on commodity electronics it's more like 10-20% or less. Throw in your typical Sunday morning loss-leader promo and you're looking at more like low single-digits and the retailers *pray* that you buy an extended warranty or a $30 cable so they actually make some money.

But your point about the $90 license fee is a good one. On a low-end $500 list unit, M'soft makes $90, the manufacturer makes maybe $30-$50, and the retailers make $10-$50. If it ends up on clearance - the manufacturer and retailer numbers may go to zero or negative. M'soft keeps their check on the license and the manufacturer says 'No Mas'.

Comment They had it years ago.. (Score 5, Interesting) 290

A few years back I showed up at the airport without my ID (i'd taken it out to show ID at a bar, yadda, yadda) . Assuming I wouldn't be able to fly, I went to ask the TSA agent to be sure, and to my surprise, they said, go over to this desk over here and we'll ask you a few questions.

The agent asked for my name and SSN, then in a matter of seconds called up a list of questions such as: The first car I ever registered, What my address was in 1992, when the last time I traveled internationally... I couldn't answer one of the questions and they simply added in a few more. This was probably 2008 and front line TSA agent had access to a voluminous profile on me. I can imagine an FBI agent would have access to a lot more and now with the BIG Data projects the NSA is - they probably could paint an accurate picture of my finances, travel habits and web/communications trends.

So yes, I was able to fly - but I left with my head spinning about how well I was profiled even then.

Submission + - Setting up a system integration room at VAR

o2binbuzios writes: Due to an office move, I have a chance to do a clean-sheet design for an integration room at a fairly large VAR ($100M+ ). I'm looking for some ideas or best practice to support 100-120 square meters (~50 x 30 ft).

I'm particularly interested in ideas around efficient workflow, ways to manage cabling and electrical, and 'environmental' solutions that make it a pleasant place to work. There will be a central bench with 6-8 stations (3-4 per side) with engineers and techs who may be configuring stacks of up to 10 devices at a time that could range from servers, to network elements, to SAN & NAS devices and more.

I've been looking for a paper that seems like it must exist — but I'm happy to gather good ideas one at a time or in bunches here on /.

Submission + - Tablets To Outsell Laptops In 2013 - That Was Fast! (singularityhub.com)

kkleiner writes: "After a few early-2000s misadventures in Microsoft tablet PCs — the tablet was effectively re-introduced by Apple’s iPad in early 2010. And just two years on, global tablet sales are projected to overtake laptop sales. That was fast! And while that mark may be impressive, it’s worth noting it was already breached in North America and China in 2012!"

Comment School is set up for girls (Score 1) 690

Without treading into the debate about who is smarter - schools are an environment largely run by women who expect everyone to behave like a sweet girl.

I have two boys in high-school who (stop me if you've heard this before) enjoy their classes, are uniformly praised by their teachers as bright and active participants in class discussions - but bored witless by the work. How about a biology lab where you go down to the pond, scoop up some mud and describe the eco-system of worms, bugs and rotting goop you just grabbed? Nope - let's just sit in a sterile classroom and read a book about it - No Talking!!

God forbid the boys roughhouse in the courtyard - they have been sent to detention for 'inappropriate and aggressive physical behavior' . I seriously received a note from a principle about 'excessively loud flatulence' my youngest released in the hallway between classes. That classic is saved in the family archives.

It is no surprise that an system run by women, for women, favors the women?

Comment Re:Do your part! Snail-mail your comments! (Score 1) 734

Let's try a thought experiment:

You have won the Publisher Clearing House sweepstakes and will receive $10 MILLION dollars - all that is necessary to collect is you have to deliver a signed response back to PCH by noon on Friday. (we're just using delivery service here, no driving, flying...)

Would you trust your financial future to:
                          A) Post Office Mail
                          B) FedEx (profit driven)

Personally, I trust the execution, SLA and customer service level of the profit driven organization far more than the government bureaucracy.

Comment Re:Speed of light fail (Score 1) 448

actually not - because this can be timed.

Say I have a barrel of oil to sell for $100, and you as a market maker know of someone willing to pay $101 for that barrel of oil.

You can execute the buy order almost simultaneously with the sell order. If you know your trade engine take 10ms to execute the buy, then
a few picoseconds after you execute the 'Buy', you initiate the sell. This would result in you owning that barrel of oil for a few picoseconds.
A picosecond trade.

Similar to buying tea in china, shipping it across the ocean, and 3 months later, selling it for a profit.

Another example is at retailers. The goods on the shelf may actually be 'owned' by Proctor & Gamble who provide flooring (financing). When you put the shampoo
in your cart, it is still owned by P&G. When you check out, your friendly local retailer 'owns' that shampoo for precisely the amount of time it takes to
scan and process the bar-code until you pay, at which point it goes in the bag and you own it.

Comment Re:This can all be avoided (Score 1) 163

No argument on composition, lighting being the key ingredients for a good shot, but as a parent with pimply teenagers, and wrinkly parents, I have been very impressed with an application called Portrait Professional. It is a dead-nuts simple program that removes pimples & wrinkles, whitens teeth, brightens eyes and thins jowels in about 5 mouse clicks...then offers a bunch of sliders to fine tune of you like.

My portrait 'editing' in photoshop usually results in a look more like a smallpox survivor that improvements so I much appreciate the automated features.

My point is, the 'beauty' algorithms are pretty well developed at this point and it is not hard to imagine that built into a point&shoot camera.

Comment Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (Score 1) 293

My cousin is a pretty smart guy (he has numerous patents in optelectronics ) and worked at HP Labs before they spun out into Agilent.

He said it was a regular occurrence to have his budget ( for optical research) slashed/raided to give more money to the Printer division
who needed new plastic molds for the next model of Inkjet.

That was the main reason he left, even if it was the correct investment from a shareholder perspective, it was insulting to him to
see the low priority placed on research.

Comment Read a photo mag or two (Score 1) 680

I am a semi-serious photographer - mainly because is is a tech fiddle where I can tell the wife new toys are 'for the family' and I have a longer budget leash.

Photo nerds are as addled as anybody on this forum and have pretty well developed best practices for this.

'In-the-field' backup. - use your laptop or a self-powered HD with built in Card reader and you can save your photos on a daily basis.

Once at home, a small NAS or RAID system will save you from losing data due to a HD crash

For true archival, by archive grade Optical media and keep them in Jewel Boxes (not plastic sleeves) and stash them somewhere else. (that is a whole 'nother can of worms here on /. ... you may prefer tape, or stone tablets depending on your opinion)

On-line services are OK, but maybe a bit slow for big data sets. I can come home from a sports event with a couple hundred new photos, and uploading all that can be slow.

Comment There is a role for anonomous disclosure... (Score 1) 312

...but I don't trust many peoples' motives

Not every bit of corruption will get government/law enforcement attention (particularly if involves the government or law enforcement) so there is a role for 'public commons' disclosure.

How we as a community evaluate the merits of those is the question.

I could claim my neighbor is a tax cheat, or my mayor is a crook...and perhaps even come up with 'incriminating' evidence to support my point of view - but what is MY motivation? There is no guarantee that information is unbiased or even real.

Going up the ladder of business and government malfeasance - the same questions apply.

Knowing someone's motivations and anonymity are opposing dynamics... I guess that's why we have courts in the first place.

Comment Why not stop him? (Score 1) 833

If someone robbed the Federal Reserve of a Billion dollars, and then bragged for 6 months over his intent to buy a Mansion and a Yacht, a government would be considered within their rights
to arrest and extradite him and recover property, right?

These documents are US government property and declaring them as stolen would prevent any legitimate business from posting them, and to take aggressive action against Mr Wikileaks.

(Yes, I'm sure he has a hundred cached sites with this info and they will never all be tracked down....but allowing this to become public record is unacceptable. It is unlikely anyone was surprised by this in any event. If the security was so piss-poor that a nincompoop could steal all this materiel, I'm sure smarter and more subtle spies have been reading through this like the morning paper for years. )

Comment Re:Great...now just one more issue.... (Score 1) 681

I say 'Look, but don't Touch'

I've traveled twice since the new protocols went into effect and both times it has taken all the self control I have not to snap
at the TSA agents patting me down.

For the record, I DID go through the scanner... this does not spare you from the guy downstream running his hands over me squeezing
my chest and ass. The first time this was because I left my watch on and a pen in my pocket. So the next trip I took off my belt,
watch, pens and anything else remotely metallic.

It turns out the wallet in my pocket was flagged and so I stood there with my hands over my head while a troglodyte thumbed through my
wallet and I bit my tongue while my blood pressure rose.

We are actually waaay past the point of the old WWII films with the Gestapo asking for 'your papers, bitte'. This is certainly unreasonable
search... and ineffective. Why does a pen in my pocket subject me to a groping, while the same pen in my briefcase passes without mention?

Stupid and insulting - like almost anything any government gets their hands on.

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