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Author Charles Stross: Is Amazon a Malignant Monopoly, Or Just Plain Evil?

Slick_W1lly Re:Amazon.. Not the only Game in Town... (405 comments)

>When I see Physical Book costing more then eBook

Methinks you meant that the other way around. I'd expect a physical to cost more than a virtual. On account of um.. paper. :)

about 2 months ago
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Author Charles Stross: Is Amazon a Malignant Monopoly, Or Just Plain Evil?

Slick_W1lly Re:Or, you could... (405 comments)

This.

I started boycotting Amazon after the (admittedly *very long time ago*) change in their policies from 'We will never sell your information!!!' to 'We'll give it who we damn please' and refused to 'delete' my account. This was in the late 90's...

I take some consolation in the failed pairing of Amazon and Borders, and hope to see the same for Amazon within the next decade.
Simply don't buy from them. Or distribute through them. The two combined would eventually mean they atrophy into nothing.

I'm doing my part!

about 2 months ago
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HP Delivers a Big-Name, 7-inch Android Tablet For $100: Comes With Compromises

Slick_W1lly No bluetooth? (182 comments)

I'm wondering how much it costs to add bluetooth to a device. I mean... them bluetooth headsets have it in, hell even the dinky little $12 'bluetooth speakers' you can park next to your iThing have it in...

What in the world possessed them to release a device that doesn't have bleutooth?

about 2 months ago
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Anti-Surveillance Mask Lets You Pass As Someone Else

Slick_W1lly Re:How convenient for him... (196 comments)

Plausible deniability.

If a bunch of others are wandering around with your face, you can reasonably say 'It wasn't me Guv, it were one o' them folks wearin' my mask..."

In techy terms - It's a bit like having an open hotspot. "It weren't *my* computer guv, it were one o' my neighbours connecting to my freely accessible SSID."

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Online, Free Equivalent To a CompSci BS?

Slick_W1lly Re:Ivy League = theroy loaded classes with skill g (197 comments)

This is what *school* is for, not University.

I hear Americans laud the 'breadth' of their university system with arguments such as the above, but frankly this kind of stuff should be taught *before* university, not during it. I, for instance, learned the 'History of the Roman Empire' when I was 18. Likewise a bunch of other history stuff that I later dropped in favour of the sciences.

School should be for your 'broad education'
It should funnel into your chosen subjects which then funnels into
University - which should be your *specialisation*. Not a continuation of generalities. If by that time you don't consider yourself a 'well rounded individual' then take up some evening classes on your own, rather than watering down the education you *should* be getting in your specialist, chosen subject.

This, frankly is why I consider american degrees to be nothing more than watered down bollocks. If I go to uni to study 'comp sci' then I want my degree to be 'comp sci' not 'some comp sci classes, plus some bullshit yoga / tennis / geology' stuffed in with it when I could be learning *more specialist comp sci' stuff instead.

-- did his degree in Artificial Intelligence and didn't suffer a single non-degree related course and is proud of it.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: State of the Art In DIY Security Systems?

Slick_W1lly Re:Insurance? (248 comments)

Perfectly understood. For my insurance premium reduction they simply require that an alarm be installed which is monitored - ie: automatic calls to police, fire etc. And I test my install regularly. They're quite happy with what I provide them.

I also understand an insurance company's policy is to attempt to pay the minimum, or not pay at all, or other methods of reducing outgoings. I have to say though, that the company I have now - and I'll be quite forthright: It's Amica - were exceptionally good with Hurricane Sandy damage. They sent out an appraiser, gave me what I considered to be more than reasonable recompense. I have 10 computers in an office which got mashed by two trees. Normally they'd not pay out on 'large numbers of household items'. Like.. say you claimed for 10 toasters you said got ruined? They'd pay for only one, since that is 'normal' for a household.

I had called them the year before to explain: I have all these computers in my house, do I need to increase my premium to cover them? They said 'no', you're fine. They made a note of it in my file, and come time to claim? They paid for 10 computers.

I could not be happier with my insurance company. :P

about 7 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: State of the Art In DIY Security Systems?

Slick_W1lly Re:Insurance? (248 comments)

My insurance did not ask for specifics. I get a call once in a while asking 'Is your house still monitored by an external company?'. To which I answer 'yes' and they go away happy.

I suppose I might be asked to provide specifics in the case of a claim against burglary/fire: Can your monitoring company provide logs of emergency call? etc etc. But... well, they can. So, all's good.

about 7 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: State of the Art In DIY Security Systems?

Slick_W1lly Re:Umm no. (248 comments)

If you're only 'alerting yourself' there's no fee involved. The 'alarm fee' my township imposes on me is, apparently, to cover false calls. (naturally my wife had one of these once...). They have a yearly false call allowance of.. once. After that they start charging you.

I agree with 'what's the point' though. If I get burgled, I want the police to be notified, and either come shoot someone for me, or turn up with flashing lights if I'm away - not me sitting on a cellphone describing what they're removing from my house to a 911 representative.

about 7 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: State of the Art In DIY Security Systems?

Slick_W1lly Build your own... (248 comments)

I have done just this. After ADT refused to 'update' the installation I had done about 12 years ago, and wanted to charge me $800 or so AND continue to charge me the $50 a month for monitoring.

So, I junked their old (crusty and mostly non-working) system and bought all my own kit. You'll find you can *always* buy better than what they give you in their 'free' package anyway, and tailor it to your own needs. You can find a monitoring company for around $10 a month. My insurance company doesn't care who does it, as long as it calls the police, alarms for fire, etc etc etc.

So. Here's what I got :

Vista20p panel. It's what most 'big name' companies install, except YOU get to set the 'installer code' and the ability to change / add stuff you hook up to it.
Honeywell 6120RF keypad. You'll need a 'keypad' to program your panel. This one also takes care of wireless sensors.
Various door sensors, heat / smoke sensors, break-glass sensors, Pet Immune movement sensors.
Don't forget the siren :P

If you have a landline, you can hook it up to this panel and have it call your monitoring-company-of-choice when an event trips. If you don't, you can get wireless addons which call them via cell-phone.

All this stuff is easy to order, easy to physically install. The programming for the Vista20P is a bit arcane and reminds me of programming assembly from my youth, but a day or two with the manual and some judicious googling and you should be set.

One of my requirements was that it hook up with the z-wave stuff I'd started installing, and I'm a fan of gadgets. So I *also* bought some touch panels with pretty graphics and stuff on them. They're expensive, mind (about $400 a pop) and their z-wave capabilities were limited. I ended up not using them for that and got a Vera-lite anyway. The wife, however, likes them.. so I consider the investment worthwhile (they can also display security camera feeds).

Note: NONE of this stuff allows you to monitor without a contract to a company. If you want to do that, then you can buy the add-on daughter board for the Vista20P called the Envisalink3. Hook that up to your home network and it can send you mails and stuff when things occur. Also note: if you do that and your power goes out, and you don't have battery backup for the internet gateway it sends through, you'll uh.. not get notified.

All this stuff I bought from 'the home security store'. Which is a haven for DIY'ers. They have a very helpful forum, very helpful staff and their prices are reasonable. I bought my bits a year or so ago and I've been a very happy customer.

Links follow :

Vista20P : http://www.homesecuritystore.com/p-958-vista-20p-honeywell-vista-20p-security-system.aspx
Wireless Keypad : http://www.homesecuritystore.com/nsearch.aspx?keywords=6150RF
Touchscreen pads : http://www.homesecuritystore.com/p-2081-tuxw-honeywell-tuxedo-touch-screen-keypad-white.aspx
Glass break sensors : http://www.homesecuritystore.com/c-76-glass-break-detectors.aspx#Filter=%5BManufacturerID=7*ava=0%5D
etc etc etc

about 7 months ago
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Congressional Report: US Power Grid Highly Vulnerable To Cyberattack

Slick_W1lly Re:After the fertilizer hits the ventilator (124 comments)

Yeah, but it 'doesn't work'

Take, for example, the latest hurricanes on the east coast. Or better 'snow on the trees' of 2012 fame.
Lots of trees came down. Fell on power lines, cut power to my neighbourhood for a week. Hurricane sandy was 2-to-3-weeks for most in my area.

One assumes they lost a shedload of business during that period, but until $lost-for-not-providing-power > the cost of *burying the damn power lines* it won't happen.
They beg and whine and moan at the state for money to perform the stupidly obvious action that they should be taking upon themselves.

Hell, my country ( Britain) started burying the power lines after WW2 (when bombs did it for them). The USA still puts them on poles and makes houses out of sticks. Didnt y'all learn from the three little pigs?

Moronic.

about a year ago
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Stolen Laptop Owner Outwits Mugger, Police, and the Media

Slick_W1lly Re:hoax? (272 comments)

Exactly this. yes.

He lives in England where they practice common law y'know.
Where - if I want to change my name - all I have to do is say : My name is now 'Humpert Merrywinkle'. If enough people know me as 'Humpert Merrrywinkle' then I am that person.

And I should know - My passport and my birth certificate contain different names. I never 'legally' changed my name anywhere. Ie: I never submitted a 'name change form'. It just works like that. 'merikans can't seem to figure this out.

So - yeah. PIN Number is right, On account of an imperial arseload of people say it. And that's a whole lot bigger than a metric buttload.

about a year ago
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Ohio Judge Rules Speed Cameras Are a Scam

Slick_W1lly Re:It would be interesting to see ... (984 comments)

I have exactly the opposite experience.

I *always* turn up to court for my summons. I've gotten 'off' every single one (counting 10 so far). Some deservedly so, some because I argued succinctly and sagely. And others because I was charged for the 'wrong infraction'.

I've been to court in PA, NJ and DE.

I've found judges ( at least in the NorthEast) to be quite welcoming of the 'defend yourself if you're smart' and the ones in NJ are particularly harsh with the burden of proof on the cops.

I recall one particularly lenient judge 'let me off' not having : A license (my international license had expired), registration (I had been out of the country a while), and from dint of not having a valid license my insurance was also invalid (although paid). He took a look at my documentation, rolled his eyes, said : I'mma let you off this time, get yerself sorted out, lad. And that was it. $60 court costs and a slap on the wrist...

Course, if I had done this in say.. South Carolina I would have simply been shot where I stood.

about a year ago
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Ohio Judge Rules Speed Cameras Are a Scam

Slick_W1lly Re:Not true. (984 comments)

Actually *this* is not true.

Although I've never had a speed-camera-related-speeding-ticket I have been to court and fought 10 traffic related incidents over the course of my lifetime.
I have a 10 out of 10 win ratio, and if you win you obviously you don't pay the ticket, and you can get the related charges (court costs etc) thrown out.

I've actually even been 'deficient' in my summons - one for failure to provide details of insurance (I had it, just not on me. Daz papier!!! ). One for a rear side indicator which wasn't functioning ( it was wet and shorted out ). Ironically the cop pulled me over for 'failure to indicate' - a charge which carried points, even after I showed him how the front one turned on, and the back didn't, which he could clearly see when he pulled me over. That got thrown out because the cop insisted on continuing with the charge that I didn't *attempt* to indicate, rather than the lesser (no-point) $fine for broken. Judge agreed with me...

I always... *always* turn up to court for my tickets, regardless of wether I'm in the wrong or not. I suppose that could 'cost me' - but only in time, and here in NJ they're very nice and hold traffic court after work hours - just bring a book / comfy cushion / iThing to play with while the 60 odd other people get their speak-time too!

about a year ago
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Adjusting to Google Glass May Be Hard

Slick_W1lly Re:AH-64 Apache Helicopter (154 comments)

Rather tragically - When I was a kid my 'sport' in school was shooting. Rifle range... every day. For a couple of hours at a time.

I was advised to 'close my other eye' when sighting, but I found it tiring and I didn't. I was an excellent shot and my team won many competitions.
My vision at the time was excellent. I had a nickname of 'eagle eye' for my ability to see things at a distance, or spot things lost in grass, or pick things out of a wreck of a bedroom...

Later on in life though, I have found that my vision is impaired. I have better eyesight in one eye than the other and it's been attributed to the exercise one eye got while shooting, and the corresponding lack of exercise that the other got by not being able to sight on the same thing.

It stymied my wish to be an airline pilot 'when I grow up'. Fortunately I got into computers instead...
But seriously - kids: if you do this, wear an eyepatch or something!

about a year ago
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French Police Unsure Which Twin To Charge In Sexual Assaults

Slick_W1lly Re:!(Prisoner's Dilemma) (626 comments)

Solomon would be more likely to say :

I'm going to put your mother to death instead - because she birthed a criminal.

The innocent is more likely to complain than the guilty. And you've then got your criminal.

about a year and a half ago
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Responding to US Gambling Law, Antigua Set To Launch "Pirate" Site

Slick_W1lly Re:Payment processors (377 comments)

I find your opinions interesting and should like to sign up for your newsletter... :)

I'm curious about 'state of New Jersey' but just about every other corporation you list (and most states) I am *also* boycotting. Hell, I've been boycotting Amazon since the late 90's (and all they sold were books) when they up and turned around saying 'We're gonna sell your data, wot we said we were never gonna sell, to third parties'. I boycotted Borders when they joined ranks with Amazon - evil by association - I'm confident that I killed them and still snicker when I pass their nearest store to me and look upon a women's shoe warehouse...

Oh, and you forgot Disney - for blatant plagiarism of public domain stories / pictures / music and THEN having the balls to sell it ( back to the public who owned it in the first place) and copyright them.

So - NJ?
 

about a year and a half ago
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When Was the Last Time You Used a Landline Phone?

Slick_W1lly Re:I use mine all the time (329 comments)

I guess I'm one of those wierd ones. I have :

Landline for reliability and I hate Comcast. ($17)
Vonage - for free calls to the UK ( $35 ish)
Comcast Voip - because it reduced the cost I had for intarnets + telly. ( free-ish )

Of those I use :

Landline is hooked up to security system - It has the ability to break into the line if the phone is 'busy' due to a burglar calling it to prevent *it* from calling out
Vonage - because it's free, and I talk to the parental units for 4-5 hour periods every so often. Also for my home office (which is my workplace now)
Comcast - the wife has started using this to call her family, or just generally because she doesn't have to worry if they're out of state or anything. We used to share my vonage phone, but if I was working (on it) and she wanted to call she'd have to wait.
Cell phone - which work pays for.

The wife refuses to get rid of the landline, and I somewhat agree. We get frequent outages of comcast here. They say stupid things like : Visit our web site to post your troubles (if my intarwebs are out, then I CAN'T VISIT YOUR DAMN WEBSITE). Likewise, if my intarwebs are out I can't use your crappy voip to even call you.

I guess we're luddites. I have an old push-button phone that I can hook up to the landline and make calls if I need. And, get this, I *did* need during hurricane Sandy. All the cells were broken, the cable had obviously gone out but.. the landline still worked! Bonus, the push-button phone has buttons that light up enough to read by if you ignore the constant beeping of the open line!

I would ditch the Comcast phone before I ditched the Landline...

S.

about a year and a half ago
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Solar Panels For Every Home?

Slick_W1lly Re:Solar Panels and high winds don't mix. (735 comments)

O' contraire!

My panels suffered no damage. The damage I suffered was the two 100' trees hitting (the other end of ) my house. Trees I never thought would come down, tbh. I had 8 trees fall in total... Not a single panel died though and my entire 40' south-facing-garage roof is covered with 'em.

about a year and a half ago

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