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Comment Our tax dollars at work! (Score 1) 208

I for one find it infuriating that they can't balance the budget and must either raise taxes or cut spending simply because pointless expenditures like this apparently take precedence.

And sadly probably half the population is not the least bit upset, instead just thinking "good job guys! serves him right, that no-good trash-talking tweeter!"

Comment Re:"Worse" (Score 1) 498

I think just because "worse" reads so similar to "even worse", some people might feel it has that connotation, even though the speaker often doesn't mean it like that. In the literal sense, I think the original summary is correct.

If they really wanted to be clear, perhaps it should have read "... update intended to worsen its phones". That seems pretty connotation-free.

Comment Re:The Good Professor is Confused (Score 1) 299

Well now, LA's average low in winter is lower than that of San Francisco. So if SF is not too cold in the winter, shouldn't it also qualify for your "perfect" designation, as it's certainly not too hot in the summer there? Also, if you live within a kilometer or so of the beach, the fog, moisture, and salt from the ocean air, especially if you park AT the beach very often, will age your car rather rapidly.

Comment Re:Cheaters (Score 1) 151

I completely agree, my friend. Wish we could get more people to champion the flat income tax idea. It is unfathomable to me how many people can defend such a complex tax system with so many loopholes for investors and corporations to circumvent paying their fair share.

Simple tax scheme with no deductions/loopholes + not juicing poor people with consumption tax = massive win for society

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Avoiding Iodine-131 Contamination

thestallion writes: I live in Tokyo. Currently, levels of radioactive Iodine-131 in the water supply exceed the safe limit recommended for infants to consume. In some areas, it's approaching unsafe levels for adults as well. I can drink bottled water, but I can't avoid bathing or showering in this contaminated water. Despite it being at a "safe" concentration, whenever possible, I'd like to avoid having Iodine-131 molecules enter my body. I don't know how easily it would enter my body through my skin pores, but I'm curious...When it comes to washing oneself, which is safer, taking a bath or taking a shower?

Submission + - GeoHot Has Not Fled To South America (

Krystalo writes: Gaming blog VGHQ first started a rumor by saying that PlayStation 3 jailbreaker George Hotz, also known as GeoHot, has fled the country after court documents revealed a PlayStation Network account allegedly belonged to him. GeoHot previously denied having one, meaning he never agreed to the Terms of Service. The news of him buying a one-way ticket for the southern continent spread like wildfire on the Internet, which is unfortunate because it appears to be false.

GeoHot is currently on vacation in a South American country, as you can see in the picture below, which the 21-year-old posted himself. He has not fled; one who runs away definitely does not show proof of doing so. Furthermore, there is no reason to leave the country to avoid a civil case.

Submission + - 2008 fed Bailout data to be made public (

schwit1 writes: SCOTUS rejected an appeal by the big banks concerning details of the 2008 emergency bailouts. Many news organizations were on the opposite side wanting access to these secrets such as who and how much money was borrowed at the height of the crisis. The Obama administration did not weigh in, which is not surprising given their mediocre record on openness and transparency. FYI: Tim Geitner was the head of the NY Fed at the time, which distributed most of the bailout moneys.

Never before have so few privileged businesses and individuals benefited so mightily. This was the scam of the century.

The Fed has given no timeframe on when it will release the data.


Submission + - Ask slashdot: Programmer Kung-Fu traning.

An anonymous reader writes: We've all seen training montages of kung-fu monks spending their early years studying under a master to become the best fighter in their universe. What topics/skills a programmer and/or computer scientist should master in a 10+ year time frame to become the best in his art.

Submission + - Microsoft Continues Android Legal Assault (

shmlco writes: "According to an article on AllThingsD, Microsoft is continuing its legal assault on Android. On Monday the company sued Barnes & Noble, Foxconn International and Inventec over the company'(TM)s Nook e-reader, alleging patent infringement.

To quote Deputy General Counsel Horacio Gutierrez, “The Android platform infringes a number of Microsoft’s patents, and companies manufacturing and shipping Android devices must respect our intellectual property rights."

“Their refusals to take licenses leave us no choice but to bring legal action."

Just when you thought Microsoft was losing its evil touch..."

Submission + - Best Seller Refuses $500k; Self-Publishes Instead ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Barry Eisler, a NY Times best-selling author of various thriller novels, has just turned down a $500,000 book contract in order to self-publish his latest work. In a conversation with self-publishing afficianado Joe Konrath, Eisler talks about why this makes sense and how the publishing industry is responding in all the wrong ways to the rise of ebooks. He also explains the math by which it makes a lot more sense to retain 70% of your earnings on ebooks priced cheaply, rather than 14.9% on expensive books put out by publishers.

Comment US phone plans are actually quite cheap! (Score 1) 513

I know everyone's having a jolly good time bashing how stupid Americans are for the weaknesses in their phone plan options, but what about the strengths of what AT+T offers? I will focus on non-data users, where the US offerings are particularly appealing. First of all, it can be really cheap. If you get a few friends on a "family plan" with AT+T, you can basically get unlimited voice calling for a family of four for like $20 per person per month, including free phones for all. Talk to anyone anywhere in the US, any time of day, as much as you like, and don't pay more than $20. Ok now, I'm stretching the truth a little, because the minutes are not actually unlimited, however if your family consists of normal/typical Americans, it's very unlikely that they would all talk enough to use up the minutes that come with the plan. I talked for hours nearly every day, as did my brother, and we never hit the limit. Also, mobile-to-mobile AT+T minutes don't count against your balance, which would typically include a lot of people who you would be calling anyways.

I've traveled through a LOT of countries in the past couple of years, and for someone who actually likes to TALK on the phone, few places beat the USA pricewise. Many countries, like Australia or Japan, do not offer many "talking" minutes. Prepaid 3G internet via USB stick was surprisingly cheap in NZ and Australia, but voice calls were not. The locals told me they usually only SMS each other since they can't make many calls without paying loads. Japan is similar with messages being used because calls are prohibitively expensive. In Los Angeles, people talk for hours every day while sitting in traffic just to entertain themselves, and they don't have to pay much for it. When I returned to LA from my travels, I added myself to my family's plan for only $15 extra a month, and did not get locked into a contract. $15 a month for virtually unlimited calling and no contract, using my a phone I already owned (a free phone from AT+T would have required a contract). Even without a family plan to mooch off of, prices for plans with massive amounts of talking minutes but additional fees for data or texts are still quite cheap. If you can call instead of text, good luck finding service with that many talking minutes at that price in many other countries.

Almost every country screws you in one way or another on your cell phone communications. In the US, it's tethering fees, expensive data plans, trying to lock you into contracts, and outrageous per-msg fees for sending or receiving(!) texts unless you also pay an outrageous additional $15 per month for unlimited texts. In many countries it's expensive talk times that prohibit your ability to have long unimportant conversations with your friends. At least there's Skype for jailbroken data users :) My cell phone and plan options here in Japan super-suck and I really wish I were getting a US type of plan. On the bright side, having email in your cell phones without a data plan is quite nice though.

One last point of interest. Those "free phones" from AT+T in the US can actually make money for you! I know a guy who would unlock/jailbreak his free iPhone from AT+T, then as soon as he's eligible to upgrade to a new model (for free or heavily discounted) and renew his contract with AT+T, he would sell the unlocked/jailbroken phone on Ebay for a lot of money. Repeating this every year or however often they offer it ends up getting him an awful lot of money back on what he's paying them.

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