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Comment Re: Pierson's Puppeteers (Score 1) 675

Or just insulate the house better. When the temperatures are in the 40's - 50's around here, my house stays comfortable just by the people in it and the waste heat from appliances and electronics. I really don't even need a furnace until the outside temperatures are cold enough that a heat pump (that vents into the outside air) starts becoming ineffective.

Comment Re:Capitalism! (Score 4, Insightful) 167

Actually, quite the opposite. The cost of Helium depends not on how rare it is, but how much it costs to extract it from the ground. Since it's actually a byproduct of natural gas production, the cost of extracting it is cheap (basically, free) and the main cost is actually the cost of separating it from the methane, storage, and transport. Because of this, a lot of helium isn't even captured and instead is vented to the atmosphere, where it eventually escapes to space. Why? Because capitalism. It's not profitable to capture it, so it's not captured. Nevermind that it's a non-renewable resource used for many important applications that has no substitute available. So Helium is cheap, until all of sudden it won't be.

Comment Re:Grandma don't do no registries (Score 1) 220

I have to disagree. Windows 8 seemed to assume that you had been using Windows long enough to know that to launch a program you had to click on the bottom left of the screen [on the start button], and to search for a program you could start typing [in the search box], and thot you would still know to do that even with the visual elements removed. If you weren't familiar with Windows, you'd be hopelessly lost*. As an experienced Windows user I actually didn't mind the Windows 8 interface as much as a lot of people did, but it certainly seemed like it assumed you were coming into it with a bit of Windows tribal knowledge.

*One of my favorite things to do during the initial Windows 8 preview releases was to challenge experienced Windows users to open Notepad without using the keyboard. The results were usually entertaining and sometimes hilarious.

Comment Re:Linux Feature Compatible (Score 1) 220

Webcams were pretty niche until USB finally took off which was in 1998. I've got a few very old webcams. None of them work in Windows after XP, some didn't make it past 98/ME. Linux support is spotty. Several of them used propriety image compression techniques which were never fully reverse-engineered, so while Linux can see them, you can't really pull an image off of them, or if you can only a few low resolution modes work. The only one that really works in Linux as well as it did in Windows is an old Logitech Quickcam, though the last time I had it plugged in the plastic lens had clouded to the point where the image was almost useless. To be honest, I'm not even sure why I still have all these webcams.

Comment Re: Not to remove a performance issue. (Score 1) 220

Yes, exactly this.

It's kind of crazy for equipment like this to run Windows in the first place, as I've dealt with stuff like this and it's pretty clear that Microsoft doesn't care one bit about niche use cases like this. Probably the best solution would be not allow the PC on the network at all so it can't patch itself, though I'm not convinced that Windows 10 won't complain after a while if it's can't call home.

Fun fact: Many of those equipment manufacturers are technically in violation of Microsoft's licensing one way or another, assuming the computer loaded with Windows was provided as part of the purchase of the equipment. Like I say, Microsoft doesn't seem to care.

Comment Re:It's the OS that just keeps on giving (Score 1) 220

The other way that Microsoft helped kill off the netbook was to make Windows 7 Starter very cheap, but in order to qualify the Netbook must not exceed certain specifications (otherwise, it was then considered a laptop by Microsoft and would require a more expensive Windows 7 Home license). That's why the Netbooks all had very similar specifications no matter who made them, and also why it seemed like they were stuck in a time warp where the hardware didn't seem to change at all for several years.

Of course, the Linux netbooks didn't have these restrictions, but since the manufacturers idea of the Linux netbook was to take the Windows one but load Linux on it instead, they basically all ended up hobbled by the same restrictions as the Windows netbooks.

Comment Re:It's the OS that just keeps on giving (Score 1) 220

Don't forget that the original release of XP would run pretty well on a Pentium III with 256MB of ram, which was a pretty typical computer when XP came out. It really amazes me how much of a dog XP became later in life, where you really needed a dual core with 2GB before it would run acceptably.

Comment Re:Bing It (Score 1) 256

That doesn't prove much of anything. Google always seems to return a huge pile of "results" for any search. Most are completely useless and have nothing to do with what I was searching for. And somewhere buried in that huge pile of useless crap I'll find the same few, at least somewhat relevant pages that Bing (or DuckDuckGo) would have turned up. I'm not sure what your searches are actually about, but I bet you'll find a most of of the Google results don't contain all three of those terms, with many only containing one of the terms, and even pages that have none of those terms(!).

Comment Re:Bing It (Score 1) 256

I've found the opposite. Now whenever I use Google I'm amazed at just how bad the results often are. That's actually the big reason I stopped using Google in the first place. Now some of it is not really Google's fault (people doing SEO mostly only try to game Google's results) but a lot of it is Google's fault (Google searching for what it thinks I want to search for, not what I actually searched for). This is the most obvious when DuckDuckGo doesn't return many results for a search, so I try Google which returns a huge pile of results which turn out to have nothing really to do with what I actually searched for.

As far as Bing is concerned, I've not found it to be a whole lot better than Google, but certainly no worse. Some of the features (maps, image search) are considerably better and more useful than Google's.

Comment Re:Is this so hard (Score 1) 110

So, if, say AT&T, sees a high volume of short duration calls originating from carrier X... sure, they can shut down that carrier, but what if that carrier had legit customers as well? Not only that, carrier X is paying AT&T per minute rates for calls terminating on AT&T's network.

yes, carrier X could shut down the customer... but they would only be shooting themselves in the foot because they would be giving up a good chunk of revenue. VoIP carriers are mostly small/medium sized businesses. In addition, short duration calls are more expensive than "conversational" calls (to recoup the cost) and carrier X knows that their high volume customer will just move to another VoIP carrier if they drop the customer.

This is exactly how you stop it. If carrier X has some customer that starts making a large number of robocalls, and carrier X doesn't drop them, you slap carrier X with a huge fine. If working at the carrier level isn't effective (like if the carriers are outside of US jurisdiction), then you start slapping AT&T with huge fines when they don't drop VOIP carriers that harbor robocallers. If you make it bad business to let the robocallers do their thing, then the problem will stop, and the shady VOIP providers will either have to shape up or go out of business. Really, it's pretty pathetic that the FTC hasn't gone after these companies that allow the whole situation to persist in the first place, because doing this kind of thing is their job.

Comment Re:Is this so hard (Score 1) 110

No, here's how you stop it:

Follow the money. Set up some investigators with fake identities. When they get an illegal robocall, they play along, using the fake identity (credit card, SSN, whatever) until they have enough information to uncover who the scammers are. Then you shut them down and throw them into jail. Maybe they don't have a US presence that you can go after, but you investigate who sold them their connectivity into the phone system, who provides their merchant accounts, who sold them their contact lists, who they actually work for, etc. Anything under US jurisdiction that can be made to stick results in large fines and/or jail time. Most of these robocall scams must either have a US presence, or at least have some kind of relationship with US companies in order to do what they are doing. It's really shocking to me that the FTC won't actually do anything about it, because once a few of these operations are shut down with consequences to those involved, the others will fold pretty quick.


The only reason I could see for decommissioning it would be that it costs more in upkeep and maintenance than it provides in income from selling the energy. If the only thing that made it "profitable" was the tax subsidies and depreciation write-off then it likely never actually made any money in the first place.

Still, I do have to wonder if it was actually bought up cheap by someone and is still standing.

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