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Paypal Jumps Into Bitcoin With Both Feet

TheCaptain Apple Pay was just announced... (134 comments)

Well...since Apple just announced Apple Pay, I guess they felt the need to get themselves into the headlines somehow. IMHO, this is probably more about their competition than it is about Bitcoin.

about 3 months ago
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US Government OKs Sale of Sharper Satellite Images

TheCaptain Re:Oh...they have access to better imagery... (82 comments)

Doh!

Good catch on that...I was pretty sure on that one, but my quickie search didn't turn up the details that your post did. Thanks for that.

about 5 months ago
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US Government OKs Sale of Sharper Satellite Images

TheCaptain Re:Oh...they have access to better imagery... (82 comments)

Google doesn't (Or didn't until a few days ago) own satellites. They buy their satellite imagery from Geoeye and DigitalGlobe. I'm not sure if they own any aerial providers or if they just buy aerial imagery from a third party. Aerial imagery is higher resolution, but it's a lot easier to shoot down an airplane if you don't want it taking pictures of something.

I stand corrected on that...you're right. Just had to double check that for myself. I thought they owned some imagery satellites of their own already.

Anyways...the other part is true. Many of the existing satellites up there can do higher resolution than what we've currently been allowed to see. I got to chat with someone at DigitalGlobe at a conference once...it was interesting stuff to hear about. I had no idea about any of those details up until that point.

about 5 months ago
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US Government OKs Sale of Sharper Satellite Images

TheCaptain Re:Oh...they have access to better imagery... (82 comments)

Airspace restrictions are a limitation on aircraft photography, but no such limit can be enforced on Satellites. You could not go get a high-resolution photos of Area 51 or Aberdeen proving grounds from your airplane.

Yeah...this is obviously true. When I wrote that I had more conventional things in mind, such as the 45 degree views that are available over many cities in Google Maps. Those were done with aerial photography, if I'm not mistaken. I think Bing maps and others are the same way. There were some OpenStreetMap projects doing some things with aerial imagery too...I haven't looked at the state of those projects in awhile, but it looked like neat stuff. Obviously there are services that will do aerial imagery for you for a price too...where allowed by the relevant authorities.

As for Area 51...I wonder how long it's going to be until some civilian manages to get a drone with a camera over that. Maybe it's already happened. Maybe they've already disappeared... :)

about 5 months ago
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US Government OKs Sale of Sharper Satellite Images

TheCaptain Oh...they have access to better imagery... (82 comments)

but they can't share it with you. I'm not sure how much they can even disclose about the abilities of the satellites they have, but you need to bear in mind that companies like Google actually own imaging satellites of their own. They've been able to do much higher resolutions for a very very long time already...they just haven't been allowed share it with us.

The resolution limitations have been political in nature...most if not all of the hardware already up there has been able to provide higher resolution for years. I think some providers were getting around that by providing arial photography in some areas instead...the 50cm limitations are for satellites. Photography from airplanes doesn't have that limitation.

about 5 months ago
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Austin Has Highest Salaries For Tech Workers, After Factoring In Cost of Living

TheCaptain Re: Denver? Atlanta? (285 comments)

That was my first thought too. It sounds like a cobbled together Austin marketing piece by some execs who are probably at SXSW.

about 9 months ago
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Would-Be Tesla Owners Jump Through Hoops To Skirt Wacky Texas Rules

TheCaptain Re:Red state (470 comments)

It always cracks me up when people say that Austin is the best city in Texas. It's not because it's wrong though - it just sounds kinda like saying that "housewares" is the best department in Walmart.

about a year ago
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George Zimmerman Acquitted In Death of Trayvon Martin

TheCaptain Re: Moral of the story (1737 comments)

Ok...so lets go hypothetical then. Lets say the guy TRIES to grab the kid. (The "kid" being roughly the same size as the guy...)

The kid resists. He's probably going to try to punch the guy, or try to break free and run. First off, in this hypothetical situation the guy broke the law by grabbing the kid. What happens next?

Well...

Case one: the kid DID break free and probably hit the dude and ran...and would most definitely be calling the cops because some whack job just tried to assault him in his own neighborhood. If the guy pulls a gun at this point and there are ANY witnesses, then the guy just pretty much screwed himself. If the kid or anyone else can describe the gun that the man was carrying, he's going to be in some serious trouble with the law enforcement. His gun toting days will be curtailed for awhile, or not be over entirely. If the guy shoots at this point, he's going to put a bullet in the kid's back. Also...not a good thing for when the police arrive. He'd be definitively screwed.

Case two: the kid didn't break free. Seriously...how many hands does the guy have? He's going to hold a guy his own size captive AND draw a gun on him? How the hell would that work? Again...the cops get there and the guy who did the grabbing is likely going to be taken away in a police cruiser. The kid and his family are probably going to press charges.

In either case, if there were shots fired, it would be kind of obvious what happened when they study the ballistics, etc. The distance he's shot from, the angle he was hit at, etc. If he shoots the kid in the back...bad news for him when the cops get there. If he shoots the unarmed kid from some number of feet away...again...obviously bad for him. If he shoots the kid after the kid knocks him down and was beating his head against the pavement - well - I don't know many self defense cases that look like that. Getting on top of someone and beating the crap out of them isn't a typical self defense scenario...

Bear in mind...all of these things are playing out in a residential neighborhood with people nearby. When they start hearing the commotion...they're going to show up. Neither of hypothetical situation is going to go well for the guy here...and he'd know that going into it. It's kinda obvious. And it's why things were really unlikely to have gone that way.

That's the thing with the stand your ground laws...you don't HAVE to retreat under the law, but that's not the same thing as saying that you shouldn't. You damn well should try to de-escalate the situation...and both parties were old enough to know that. It's kinda like the old saying that having the right to do something is not the same as being right to do it.

Both parties were being idiots, but most people here are polarized about it - they only see one of them as having really messed up.

about a year ago
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George Zimmerman Acquitted In Death of Trayvon Martin

TheCaptain Re: Moral of the story (1737 comments)

Holy shit. You REALLY assume too much. I bet you know everything about me, right? Just like you know everything about this case...

As for the CCW - I don't. I DID take the course for it though...right here in Austin, TX. It takes about 10 hours to go through it here...there is a class, a written exam, and a proficiency test. I passed all of them - and then never bothered to do the fingerprinting, application, and photos required to get one. I don't need it...but I DID want to learn the firearms laws here in TX. Taking the class is a great way to do it. Plus...hey...you get a little range time in. Believe it or not, target shooting can be kinda fun.

FYI, the laws here are VERY different from getting a CCW in PA (my home state) which I don't even think has a test. (Written or otherwise.)

Anyways...wow. I mean...I AM a hard bastard and all of that, but the hardest on earth? Thanks!

about a year ago
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George Zimmerman Acquitted In Death of Trayvon Martin

TheCaptain Re: Moral of the story (1737 comments)

In a residential neighborhood? With witnesses nearby and everything?

No...you probably won't. I won't know you have a gun in that situation, and you wouldn't know if I do either - lets just get that spelled out up front. People aren't walking around with a brandished firearm. It's not the wild wild west, and that is HIGHLY illegal. Take a CCW course and learn about how this stuff goes down.

If you randomly draw your weapon and shoot me, then there is no evidence of a fight. They'll know from the wounds about where we were standing when it happened, and they'll see the angle of the shot, etc. Then you'll get convicted and possibly get a new boyfriend in prison. (Which is appalling if it's non-consensual. If it is consensual - hey man...whatever floats your boat.) Seriously...you can't just do that. It'll likely end very poorly for you.

Since things probably won't go down like that, I'm probably going to interact with you in a reasonable way. You'll ask me what I'm doing there, and I'll tell you that I live with my parents at this house over here, and go on inform you that you should probably go fornicate with yourself. No weapons will be drawn, and you'll probably have hurt feelings and look pretty stupid when the cops show up. Either way...how are you going to attempt to stop me from leaving? Are you implying you're going to start waving a gun around or you'll grab me? Or will I just walk to the house that I live in and go inside while the crazy neighborhood watchman waits for the police....yeah...think I'll do that. In fact, I think I'll call them myself because that guy's a bit cray.

It MIGHT go differently if I was an overly aggressive idiot who wanted to start a fight though. Sure...I'd know it's against the law, but seriously...I'm a tough guy, so the laws don't apply to me.

Anyways...good luck with your dream scenario. And make sure you take that CCW course so you know how the laws work with that.

about a year ago
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George Zimmerman Acquitted In Death of Trayvon Martin

TheCaptain Re: Moral of the story (1737 comments)

I should also clarify that I shouldn't have to clarify that last part. I'm just trying to prevent the obvious onslaught of crazy arguments that people are going to make against me unless I spell it out in painful detail, rather than trying to understand what I meant. :/

about a year ago
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George Zimmerman Acquitted In Death of Trayvon Martin

TheCaptain Re: Moral of the story (1737 comments)

I should also clarify that last part - there is more to it than being willing to kill. You have to be in danger of seriously bodily harm or death. Someone is on top of you beating the crap out of you - that's probably going to qualify. Again...the whole damn thing is unfortunate, but the story holds up.

about a year ago
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George Zimmerman Acquitted In Death of Trayvon Martin

TheCaptain Re: Moral of the story (1737 comments)

Provided the weapon is concealed, then yes. If you're brandishing the weapon - that's something else entirely.

You should note that Zimmerman was not following Martin with his gun out. Martin didn't even know he had a gun until he attacked Zimmerman, or so the story goes.

Beyond that: You'd have to know some of the laws regarding a CCW to have a CCW. Walking around with a brandished firearm will almost universally get you in some serious trouble. (I don't know the laws in Florida, etc.) The ONLY time the gun comes out is if you are literally willing to kill someone. Because if you're not willing to kill them and they are also armed, then you've escalated it and one of you is likely to die. It's very bad news, and they're pretty specific about how these situations are supposed to be handled.

about a year ago
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The Pentagon's Seven Million Lines of Cobol

TheCaptain Re:Cobol is self-documenting (345 comments)

Eh...there probably was some half baked documentation at some point, but I doubt it was maintained very well by the people who edited that codebase over the decades.

I also doubt they fired any of them unless they were contractors...you have no idea how ugly the federal workers union is about things like this. They almost can't lose their jobs through incompetence or anything else. Which brings me to the problem...the people who wrote it probably wrote half-assed spaghetti code, didn't document it well, and then died off or retired. No one is learning cobol anymore, so you get what we've got right here.

Plus...trying to replace any system in the government or military is an extremely painful exercise that probably fails more often than it succeeds. Between the people you need to deal with, and the policies you need to dance around...it's almost impossible to stand a new system up. (Unless you have someone in a high place that really gets it, and champions the hell out of it...and even then, it's iffy.)

I was a defense contractor for 4 or 5 years. It was quite a few years ago now. Left that behind, and I don't miss it.

about a year ago
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Silicon Valley In 2013 Resembles Logan's Run In 2274

TheCaptain Re:Texas (432 comments)

Yeah...that's the thing with Austin. It sounds pretty great on the surface.

Sure...Apple is building/expanding a huge campus here in Austin. (Sounds great.) It's really only operations stuff, like finance, accounting, human resources, etc. (Not great.) All of the interesting design and development work is in California, and it's there to stay. (And for some very good reasons, IMHO.) I hear they'll do some manufacturing here though, so if you fancy the idea of working in a factory, this is the right state to be in.

It's a low tax, low service state. Don't expect them to do much for you, because you're getting what you pay for. They also won't regulate many things in the state...so you'll occasionally have things like the fertilizer plant explosion up in West Texas. 15 dead, 150+ injured, and about 150 buildings damaged or destroyed. But at least they didn't have those dreaded regulations to contend with.

Oh, but if you're a woman, they WILL regulate the hell out of what you can do with your own body. Good luck with that.

Anyways...I've vented about this stuff before. I'm headed back to the one of the coasts sometime next year. There are some great things here too, and I'll miss a handful of them...but the bad things here aren't outweighing the good anymore.

about a year ago
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How Silicon Valley's Tech Reign Will End

TheCaptain Re:Try Austin (395 comments)

As for the climate, if you can enjoy the heat here...good on you. I don't know if I really consider it to be a desert though. It has a bit more humidity, but granted - not alot. I think it retains more heat than deserts at night too, but that might depend on which desert we're talking about. Either way....you're speaking the truth on dealing with heat and sun.

Haha...and yeah...there are two sides to the ladies in skimpy clothes. Some you want to see, and some you're better off not seeing. Obesity rates in Austin proper are low...but it's surrounded by Texas. You're taking a lot of bad with that good. :)

As for politics...I know TX is changing politically. I'm probably stating the obvious when I say it's going to take a long time for it to really change though. I'm all for people moving here if they're willing to keep fighting that fight, but between the heat and the politics I'm kinda tired. I need to go recharge my batteries at somewhere that feels more like home to me. Again...if this works for you, more power to you!

about a year ago
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How Silicon Valley's Tech Reign Will End

TheCaptain Re:Try Austin (395 comments)

Yeah...before I moved here, Atlanta was on my short list of places that might be nice to try. It's closer to family for me, but still has milder winters.

Interesting thing about the culture down South. There is some truth to the whole Southern hospitality thing...and I would miss that. It's not all bad in the North though either...they're just a little more up front with their feelings, and sometimes initially stand off-ish.

The whole "Keep Austin Weird" thing has a pretty sad story, to be honest. The very saying of it was originally meant as an anti-corporate support the local business thing, and a push for people to be themselves and be independent. And then it got trademarked, and commercialized. It's pretty much all a bunch of fakery for people who haven't spent enough time here to see through it. More of Austin's fantastic marketing.

Speaking of Austin's marketing...there was a funny story recently about them trying to bring the X-games here. The sad part was that a Nashville based consulting firm was running their campaign for them.

My favorite line is on their right now. It says "Show detroit who has soul by voting here". Seriously...Austin. You want to compete with Detroit and you go with a soul showdown? It sounds like something that someone would say if they never spent much time outside of their bubble.

Like I said...Austin has the best marketing department of any city I know right now. I'm not here to stop anyone from falling in love with the place and moving here...but check it out carefully first. It might take a little while before the honeymoon phase wears off. It sure has for me and quite a few other people I know. (But yeah...some people really love it here. YMMV.)

about a year ago
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How Silicon Valley's Tech Reign Will End

TheCaptain Re:Try Austin (395 comments)

Yeah...those are the nicer months of the year. October and November tend to be almost perfect. I can't argue with that....it's pretty frigging awesome. I do think some of the things going on here can even make that a little harder to enjoy though...I'll explain below:

I live in North Austin. (And I mean North Austin, not Round Rock or Pflugerville, etc.) I'd love to live downtown...I could actually afford to live downtown. I could even swing buying a decent condo down there even at the elevated prices we're currently seeing. I'm not an overly wealthy guy, but I've been in this business for about 15 years now and I've saved my pennies. (Never bought a home and I live within my means, etc.)

I'm somewhat deterred from the idea for one or two big reasons, and they come from actual examples in my life. One of my coworkers owns a beautiful (and not cheap!) condo downtown...very close to Zilker. (For those of you who aren't from around here, that's the big park where Austin City Limits goes on.) ACL is a HUGE music festival. You'd think that living there is awesome, and at first, it is...and it would be. But then reality hits. They pretty much close Zilker for a week before the festival to get it ready, and it's obviously in use for quite a few days during the festival itself, and then for at least a week afterwards to fix everything after hordes of people have milled through it for days. They hold ACL in that ideal window of time...October. (And this year, ACL is being expanded to two weekends because one just isn't enough...) So to make a long story short, the huge beautiful park that is right next to his condo is completely unusable for at least 3-4 weeks of the most ideal weather of the year. (And that's not counting anything else they might have there, etc.) It's probably available right now though...it peaked at 108F today. That's...great...

And then there is the extreme uptick in traffic that he gets to deal with every time they hold another major event (ACL, SXSW, etc.). And Austin isn't exactly big on public transportation...it's kinda busted.

I literally don't know where to begin when describing the problems I'm seeing with the whole thing. Austin has it's charms sometimes, but they're becoming fewer and further between for me. I'm happy for the people who are happy here, but I'm looking to move back to one of the coasts next year. Austin is fun to visit, and apparently a decent place for families, but living here isn't doing it for me.

about a year ago
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How Silicon Valley's Tech Reign Will End

TheCaptain Re:Try Austin (395 comments)

Austin has it's good points, it's gained it's share of problems in recent years. Full disclosure - I've lived in Austin for over 5 years, many of my friends have been here for 10+. I'm looking to make a move back to one of the coasts in the next year or so.

1.) There is the climate. As I type this, it's 106F (40C) right now. It could be worse. It hit ~114F last summer. There's an awful lot of blacktop and concrete out there that's just baking in it. Walking around outside and breathing feels a bit like I'm inhaling from the business end of a hairdryer. I looked at the temperature around midnight last night and it was 90F. The hot season here makes going outside almost useless unless you REALLY like to sweat and/or gain skin cancer. Granted, the winters are mild and generally pretty pleasant. It's rare to see more than a dusting of snow, and that's gone within hours. Also...we're in a drought. The growth here is outstripping the water supply. The lake getting so low that you can't even see water from some of the boat ramps.

2.) It's mostly super cool in that most people say it's super cool. They have great marketing...I've give them that. Most of the originality here is gone...now it's just trendy. Thankfully I was still here in the days of Leslie. (A well known local homeless cross-dresser that ran for mayor once, among other things.) "Keep Austin Weird" used to have meaning. Now...most of the original old businesses are fading away. All they do is build more condos and gated communities. Seriously...the architecture isn't even aesthetically pleasing. (A bit subjective, I know...but I think most would agree.)

3.) Speaking of condos and gated communities - this is "business friendly" Texas, so the developers are running almost unchecked. They want to squeeze every cent they can out of everything they can get their hands on, and they generally do. Developers here seem to be able to throw up any size development they want, and they aren't asked to do very much with respect to infrastructure improvements to keep up with the growth. Want to pack more cars onto an already overtaxed highway? No problem...build baby build. When it comes time to address the roads, the tax payers will get the bill, rather than the even-more-wealthy developer.

4.) Culture. Austin is not really a mix of SF - Berkley, Boston, or DC. I really have no idea where that idea is coming from. I've been to all of those places and spent a fair bit of time in one of them. (DC)

5.) Traffic. Austin has been rated as the third worst area for traffic in the U.S. recently. Right behind LA and DC. Some people don't believe it, other people are screaming it from the hills. It depends on where in Austin you are, and where you're trying to go. Try driving around on 360 during rush hour. It's gridlock...and in summer, it's extremely HOT gridlock. Hope there isn't an accident, because it'll only get worse. If you drive a small economical car, bear in mind that this is still Texas. Probably 50% of the vehicles on the road here are gigantic pickup trucks, or yuppie luxo-barges.

6.) You're still in Texas. Did you follow the news lately? Wendy Davis barely filibustered in insanely tight abortion law that is about to be passed anyways. From what I've read, they're going to be down to about 5 abortion clinics in the state of TX. (Seriously...the state of TX is huge. It takes 12 hours to drive across it.) Glenn Beck just moved to the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and he's been telling others like him to come here. The Republicans are calling the shots. It's a low-tax, low-service state. If you move here...you're ultimately going to get what you paid for. There are no free lunches. Ironically (for most Slashdotters)...if you're moving here and cite the financial reasons, you're proving the Republicans correct in many ways. Good luck with that.

Anyways...I've had a decent time here, but it's getting to be time for me to move on. The BBQ is great, and you can rent a machine gun at the range and go to town with it.

about a year ago
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Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda Resigns From Slashdot

TheCaptain Thank you... (1521 comments)

...and know that you will be missed here.

Good luck with the next adventure. :)

more than 3 years ago

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