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Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

Rob the Bold Re:A pencil? (674 comments)

A mechanical pencil is a tech product?

Can you make one with stone knives and bear skins? But seriously, compared to having to "advance" the lead by grinding down the case of my primitive Ticonderoga, I thought my first mechanical pencil was a technological wonder.

And after all, we're talking about long-lasting technology. The longer it lasts, the older it gets, right? If someone were still using their great-great-grandpa's John Deere steel(!) plow bought from his blacksmith shop in Grand Detour, I guess that would win.

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

Rob the Bold Re:HP Calculators (674 comments)

I still use my HP-11C and HP-32S calculators at least weekly. They're now 25+ years old, and I've changed the batteries maybe twice.

Enter > Equal ..... Yeah!

My 11C and 32C (darn you and your extra memory, Mr. 32S guy. I shoulda waited.) still work, but alas, they are not working all that hard lately. I'm not sure I've ever changed the batteries in the 11C . . .

2 days ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

Rob the Bold Re:Are you kidding (805 comments)

I have no sympathy. In fact, many of you cheered it as a sign of greatness and freedom that America was doing this. Your allies, however, were fucking appalled. Let

Let me finish that sentence for you:

Option 1: "Let me just say that I laugh at your situation, secure in my knowledge that nothing like that can happen where I live."

Option 2: "Let me see this as a warning that despite rule of law, foundational documents, and all the trappings of representative government, this could still happen here. I will be especially on guard against those that try to subvert my country."

4 days ago
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Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

Rob the Bold Re:Overseas comment (385 comments)

I like the UK system - if you're an employee and you're happy with the tax your employer has withheld on your behalf, you don't have to do anything. You get a statement at the end of the year telling you how much you've been paid and how much tax has been withheld - if you think they've got it wrong, or you want to claim deductions, you file a tax return saying so.

We could do this in the US. By could I mean, if we changed tax regulations -- the system is mostly in place already. Wage income is deducted "pay-as-you-go" here, too. All of my interest, dividends and gains were already reported (but not deducted) by the entities that paid them. The IRS could have just sent me a bill for that with what they already know. Most of the data I put on my 1040 is redundant for the IRS. The biggest impediment -- other than changing the law -- would be that not claiming all your deductions could result in paying far more than you really should owe, especially if you have a mortgage, give to charity, or need to report other such deductions.

5 days ago
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Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

Rob the Bold Re:base it around my OS (385 comments)

. . . at some point you're clicking quickly because you just want to get shit done and accidentally upgrade yourself to a $120 tax package. After that, you literally cannot back out or restart.

You can, but it requires human intervention from customer service and takes a few hours. Obviously, this would be a problem if it happened at the last minute

5 days ago
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Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

Rob the Bold Re:Tax Act vs Turbo Tax (385 comments)

Although I am moving more and more to Linux I am GOING to keep at least one Windows machine around just to run Tax Act if nothing else!

Tax Cut (H&R Block) online works with Linux browsers. Turbo Tax online complains but works anyway. And Tax Act online at least let me start without any warnings. There really seems to be little difference in the online versions of these services vs the installable Windows program, FWIW to you. I replaced my Mom's XP with Ubuntu and switched her over from Turbo Tax for Windows to Turbo Tax Online. Except for the (apparently bogus) warning when first starting, it worked fine, and she didn't really notice a difference in the experience from last year.

The paranoid might be concerned about filling out their taxes online, but the truly paranoid would note that an installable program could just as easily "phone home" with your tax info, anyway.

5 days ago
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Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

Rob the Bold H&R Block online (385 comments)

I used H&R Block online. Unlike Intuit's offering, it doesn't complain that I'm using Linux. (Turbo Tax seems to work anyway after ignoring the warning, though.)

My financial life is pretty simple, though: I didn't buy or sell a house, didn't buy or sell stocks outside of a retirement account mutual fund, and didn't move from one state to another.

Trading stocks and funds in a non-retirement account used to be a huge PITA at tax time. Good news on this year's 1040 is that you can consolidate all your capital gains (or losses) by short and long term and avoid entering a line for every single trade. This quite literally saved hours of work.

5 days ago
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Government Accuses Sprint of Overcharging For Wiretapping Expenses

Rob the Bold Next time . . (114 comments)

Maybe next time, the feds will wise up and get a month-to-month pay in advance eavesdropping plan and avoid bill shock.

about a month and a half ago
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Merlin's Magic: The Inside Story of the First Mobile Game

Rob the Bold Re:"kicked off the modern mobile gaming revolution (60 comments)

Snake... surely?

(or is it all about the shiny...?)

"Modern" is kind of a weasel word, isn't it? I guess it means: "As far back as I can remember without a time machine, hypnosis or thinking too hard." Or really, whatever the author wants it to mean.

about a month and a half ago
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Ancient Chinese Mummies Discovered In Cheesy Afterlife

Rob the Bold Re:rennet (64 comments)

The comment I made on the top of the thread was not innocent. It is one of the "best" preserved secrets in the industry and people are actually socked by it. I only found it out when I went vegan. As a side anecdote , I once asked my sister if she knew how cheese was made, and she told me milk and cream...sure...ignorance is a bliss. Thing is, it turns it out standard cheese is neither vegetarian nor hallal

True -- ignorance is bliss. "Standard" cheese in the US is often labeled as containing "enzymes" without any description of the origin. So you never really know . . .

It really is eye-opening to make some of the foods you usually buy in processed form yourself, from scratch. Cheese, tofu, sauerkraut, beer, whatever. Even just reading a copy of "The Joy of Cooking" is enlightening, since it describes -- in detail -- the process of producing all kinds of things you never thought much about because they were readily available at the supermarket.

about 2 months ago
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Ancient Chinese Mummies Discovered In Cheesy Afterlife

Rob the Bold Re:rennet (64 comments)

Is there a reason it can't be hallal? Arab groceries sell stomachs over here.

Both Kosher and Halal dietary laws mandate separation of milk and meat.

about 2 months ago
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Woman Attacked In San Francisco Bar For Wearing Google Glass

Rob the Bold Re:There won't BE any "general acceptance" (921 comments)

Not really. An automated CCTV system is accepted because we know why it's there. It's for liability reasons. It's to protect the businesses/properties in question. Most of us know that these images will never even be seen by a real person let alone posted to YouTube or worse.

That's kinda what I'm trying to say about our assumptions and reactions. We make an assumption that recording is anonymous and un-monitored simply because the human operator isn't visible. While it's possible that no one's watching a security camera, and also possible that no one will ever look at the recording unless something happens that needs to be reviewed, that's not necessarily so. It just seems that way because we're not watching the watcher. "Ignorance is bliss," as the saying goes. A CCTV operator could be following your every move as you walk around Macy's or chat up that attractive number at the local watering hole. Probably not happening, but we have no way of knowing either way.

about 2 months ago
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Woman Attacked In San Francisco Bar For Wearing Google Glass

Rob the Bold Re:There won't BE any "general acceptance" (921 comments)

People don't like being recorded, or even the possibility of being recorded, without their express permission. That's not going to change, therefore there isn't going to be any "general acceptance" of technology like this.

Seems people don't like being recorded by individuals they can actually see in the flesh, and just accept the recording of themselves by whoever mounts a camera on the ceiling or wall anywhere. And I don't think it's just the tacit acceptance of being monitored and recorded as a condition of darkening someone's door: I suspect that the average person would be far more uncomfortable with a mall cop pointing a camera at them in person vs. monitoring them from a back office with an array of pannable cameras as they moved about the premises. Even though the net result is the same, it's the apparent human element that I suspect makes Average Joe uncomfortable.

about 2 months ago
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Pine Forest Vapor Particles Can Limit Climate Change

Rob the Bold Re:Freebreeze to the rescue (124 comments)

You must be new here, or don't you remember the whole Aerosols are bad for Ozone and contribute to global warming form the 80's and 90s.

An aerosol is "a colloid of fine solid particles or liquid droplets, in air or another gas". The particular aeorsol (CFCs) referred to by parent is explained by a sibling post, so no need to repeat here. Point is, that an aerosol can be almost anything gaseous or that can be made fine enough to behave sort of "gas like", including dust, VOCs, smoke, etc. That's how the term is used in TFA: terpenes -- not CFCs -- are the substances "dissolved" in air.

about 2 months ago
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Pine Forest Vapor Particles Can Limit Climate Change

Rob the Bold Re:Ronald Reagan was right! (124 comments)

"Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do." Terpenes are a well known component of aerosol away from cities, and studied since many years. Nothing new in the headline, after all...

Yes, these are the terpenes that Reagan and James Watt (Reagan's Secretary of the Interior, not the inventor) were referring to. While they were sorta correct that you can't eliminate all the VOCs that contribute to smog by curtailing their emission by human activities, it was presented in the "complete solution or nothing at all" sort of fallacy. The whole thing got widely ridiculed -- albeit for the wrong reasons, even though it deserved it -- and Reagan distanced himself, throwing Watt under the bus. Or at least that's how I remember it. Memory might be kind of hazy, mostly due to all the smog back then.

about 2 months ago
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Do We Really Have a Shortage of STEM Workers?

Rob the Bold Re:Education does not qualified make... (491 comments)

There's no conspiracy to push down wages - these are real complaints. The same problem exists in many fields - there's a difference between good people and qualified people. As a hiring manager, when I complain about finding qualified people, I mean people that can show, in an interview, that they're open to and reasonably good at learning.

(Emphasis mine.)

Firstly -- and I'm not trying to be sarcastic or snarky here -- do you want qualified people that are "open to and reasonably good at learning," or people "that can show, in an interview, that they're open to and reasonably good at learning"? Because these aren't necessarily the same thing. You're looking for someone who interviews well, probably because you don't have that many other good methods of readily determining his qualifications. But that can be a problem, because a good interviewee isn't necessarily a good on the job learner. A worst-case scenario is hiring a guy that sounds good but is just a great salesman while overlooking a guy who would do a great job but doesn't present himself as well as the other guy.

Now one can certainly respond that candidates for jobs should be able to present themselves well. Being able to "sell" oneself obviously works. But that's solving a different problem. It's solving the "I didn't get hired" problem from the candidate's POV, not the "I can't find a good candidate" problem that HR has.

Also, you say you're not trying to push down wages. But of course you are. Not maliciously. You just don't want to spend more than you have to, do you? I don't go to the grocery store looking to needlessly spend more than I have to on fruit. But on the other hand, you're not usually gonna get top quality produce at bargain prices. You pay your money and make your choice.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: When Is a Better Career Opportunity Worth a Pay Cut?

Rob the Bold Re:Run. (263 comments)

"Career opportunities" don't come with pay cuts. They come with pay raises. Run.

True. What they pay you tell you how much they value you. Sounds backwards at first, but if they pay you more it makes them find you more valuable. Think about your own experiences: when you pay more for one choice than another, it reinforces your belief that it was worth more.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: When Is a Better Career Opportunity Worth a Pay Cut?

Rob the Bold Pay cuts are permanent (263 comments)

You gotta do what you gotta do, but keep in mind that pay cuts are permanent. You're never going to get back to what you'd be making if you kept the better paying position. Maybe you'll be the exception, but probably not.

So if you're thinking that eventually you'll get back on track salary-wise in your job decision calculus, run the pros and cons again with that in mind. Some things are worth more than money, just make sure you know how much more.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Michaels Stores Debit Terminal Information Stolen

Rob the Bold Rob the Bold writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Rob the Bold (788862) writes "From the Chicago Tribune: Dozens of Michaels stores across the USA have been hit by a scam involving stealing account numbers and PINs from the credit/debit terminals. The store hasn't said how, but newspaper articles suggest skimmers or network compromise. The company is replacing all its 7200 terminals."
Link to Original Source
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Rob the Bold Rob the Bold writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Rob the Bold writes "IEEE Spectrum Online asks: "Could modern patterns of marriage be concentrating the genes that predispose people to autism?"

This report: http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/oct06/4665, examines the theory that engineers marrying other engineers are increasing the rates of autism in areas with high concentrations of technical workers. From the article:

Among the children of engineers, autism and related conditions are found twice as often as in the general population, according to British studies, and are unusually common even in the grandchildren of engineers. Anecdotally, hot spots of autism have been reported in major centers of engineering, including Silicon Valley; Austin, Texas; and Boston's Route 128 technology ring.
"

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