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Investor Tim Draper Announces He Won Silk Road Bitcoin Auction

humphrm How to make an opinion a fact (115 comments)

"Of course, no one is totally secure in holding their own country’s currency"

Just put the words "Of course" in front of any opinion and people will accept it as fact.

about 4 months ago
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Don't Be a Server Hugger! (Video)

humphrm Re:Cloud needs server huggers (409 comments)

I've been in IT since the '80's, and every company I've worked for, large or small, has had their own backup generators of some sort. Some, at start-ups, were just a portable gas generator that they could set outside the back door and fire up to keep a few critical servers running. Other larger companies had jet turbines on standbye.

All for the same reason that companies are hesitant to commit all of their IT to the cloud - keeping control. It's not about jobs, it's about being sure that critical services are available when you need them, and also who's neck you're going to throttle when things go wrong.

about 5 months ago
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US Customs Destroys Virtuoso's Flutes Because They Were "Agricultural Items"

humphrm Re:All the news that matters (894 comments)

In most U.S. ports, it's not Customs that makes the decision to inspect, it's actually ICE.

In the olden days, back when I worked as a contractor for Customs, entry into the U.S. went like this:
1. You went to Immigration Control first. Pre-ICE (US Immigration Control) checked your passport and entry form, OK'd you to enter, and then you reclaimed your baggage (whether you were traveling onwards or not).
2. You then had to clear Customs, which looked at your itinerary (e.g where you'd been), your bags (i.e were they bulging, smelly, etc.) and your face and non-verbal cues to determine if you warranted a further inspection. If you did have something questionable, there were actually expert (!!!) customs agents available to determine compliance.

Today, it goes like this:
1. You go to Immigration (ICE) first. Based on your facial expressions, non-verbal cues, and passport history, they determine if (1) you're OK to re-enter the US, and (2) if you need further "assistance" with customs. They make a mark on your entry form, which you later turn in to a customs agent, to indicate if you should be further "assisted". The decision regarding inspection and possible seizure of goods is left almost entirely with ICE, who specialize not in Customs enforcement but Border Control.
2. You move on to Customs Enforcement, which looks at your ICE-noted entry form and either inspects, detains, seizes, or lets you go based on ICE notes on your entry form. If ICE didn't mark your entry form for further scrutiny, you move through Customs very quickly.

The reason for the change? Efficiency. Most people re-entering the US don't need any re-entry assistance, and Customs agents are otherwise very busy. Giving ICE the job of determining 90% of Customs work saves time for travelers and money for the government. But the downside is that most ICE agents aren't trained to sniff out the difference between a guy with handcrafted musical instruments made of foreign raw materials from a guy bringing foreign raw materials into the US with the intent of defeating embargoes and/or tariffs.

The point is, it's not Customs that are dim, it's ICE... and as long as it saves most travelers some time at the desk, it probably won't change.

about 10 months ago
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LG Announces Mass Production of Flexible OLED Phone Displays

humphrm Steve Jobs looked at this option and rejected it (123 comments)

Steve Jobs thought about using plastic, in fact one of the prototype iPhones had a plastic screen. He rejected it because of the cheap feel of the plastic, and went with the Gorilla Glass that he used in original iPhones. So I guess it's down to, do you want an indestructible phone screen, or do you want one that feels good?

And, btw, not an Apple fan boy here, I just happened to read Jobs bio by Walter Isaacson, he covered Jobs' choice in fair detail in the book.

1 year,12 days
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Seeking Fifth Amendment Defenders

humphrm Re:The right to remain silent (768 comments)

Love this movie quote:

Shrek: Donkey, you HAVE the right to remain silent. What you lack is the capacity.

about a year ago
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Aaron Swartz Prosecution Team Claims Online Harassment

humphrm Re:Good (429 comments)

Reading the article helps. He was arrested for "downloading excessive material". In other words, he had a legal JSTOR account, he wasn't accessing it illegally, he just downloaded more material than they wanted him to. Really? That's a crime now? Even the civil matter was settled with JSTOR, but prosecutors went ahead and harassed him anyway.

One day in prison means the likely end of a promising technology career, and is one day too much for someone accused of "downloading excessive material".

Just hope that one day you don't get sent to prison for going over your mobile data usage.

about a year and a half ago
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PC Makers In Desperate Need of a Reboot

humphrm Re:The PC is Dying (622 comments)

It's not very efficient or ergonomic to have HR (or any) staff staring at reports on a 3" screen all day. It's great to check your mail on the run or a quick text message, or using the browser to find a spot to have a few beers. But it's not intended for reading reports, or working on full screen apps that manage portfolios (for instance) or analyze sales leads.

more than 2 years ago
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PC Makers In Desperate Need of a Reboot

humphrm Re:The PC is Dying (622 comments)

(Replying to Original Commenter's comment): Yeah, HP sucks, but so does Dell and Acer and Gateway and everyone else who makes PCs.

(Replying to both comments, but mostly AC's): I think you over estimate the demise of the PC and also don't understand what they are used for in Enterprise. I agree that, in general, the PC business is declining. I think that will result in a lot of consolidation, likely into segments where the consumer PC business will consist entirely of low end PCs and the enterprise business will consist mostly of high end servers. And HP's bread and butter is in the Enterprise, so I suspect that a company like Acer or Dell will end up "owning" that business and HP will "own" the Enterprise business. Everyone else will go out of business.

Speaking of enterprise, there are a LOT of applications running on PCs in the enterprise. Salespeople run client / contact management software, account managers run portfolio analysis software, HR runs tons of HR-related apps, there's a myriad of software running on desktops in the enterprise and upgrades are required all the time. I don't see PeopleSoft being replaced by an iPhone app anytime soon.

more than 2 years ago
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Ouya Android Console Blows Past Kickstarter Goal

humphrm Re:summed up in the summary (270 comments)

What about replying to the reply of the ... aww, nuts, skip it.

more than 2 years ago
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Julian Assange Served With Extradition Notice By British Police

humphrm Re:How does this work? (612 comments)

Equally unlikely that Ecuador would try to sneak him out by granting him diplomatic immunity. If they didn't, no Strike Force needed, just pull over the car carrying him (again, legal) pull him out, and tell the remaining diplomats that they're free to go.

more than 2 years ago
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Julian Assange Served With Extradition Notice By British Police

humphrm Re:How does this work? (612 comments)

Actually not exactly. Police can stop diplomatic vehicles, they just can't detain anyone in the vehicle who has diplomatic immunity. Ecuador would thus have to grant him diplomatic immunity AND drive him to the airport AND put him on a flight with diplomatic status. And of course he'd still have to step onto British soil to get from the car to the plane, and I doubt his diplomatic immunity (if he had it, and that's a big if) would protect him there.

more than 2 years ago
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Supreme Court: Affordable Care Act Is Constitutional

humphrm Re:First dissent (2416 comments)

You don't have to buy car insurance, i.e. if you don't own a car.

more than 2 years ago
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High-Frequency Traders Are the Ultimate Hackers, Says Mark Cuban

humphrm Re:A trading tax (538 comments)

They already pay a fee per trade at many levels, up to and including their clearing houses which pay a fee to the exchanges. Adding a penny tax on top of the fees isn't going to make much difference, other than slightly reduce revenues down the chain.

more than 2 years ago
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Georgia Apple Store Refuses To Sell iPad To Iranian-American Teen

humphrm Re:Wait wait wait (1116 comments)

Technically, Iranians are Caucasian. So if you must bracket this with race and not nationality as the story describes, then it would be "racist white guy does something stupid to someone just because they're white."

more than 2 years ago
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U.S. Gas Prices Continue To Fall

humphrm Re:Maybe (398 comments)

OPEC only has so much control, and they're not united in their controls. They don't control demand, which has fluctuated wildly lately. Saudi Arabia, for instance, has been quite reticent in their controls and have been flooding the market as long as it makes them money. The anti-US contingent in OPEC would love to pull back production but the countries that actually make a profit aren't biting.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Recommendations For a Laptop With a Keypad That Doesn't Suck

humphrm Re:Toshiba (300 comments)

I had to say the same thing. $500 laptop with a numeric keypad, as an accounting geek I love it. I've also seen the Sony Vaio, but for cheap you want to go Toshiba.

more than 2 years ago
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Yahoo Layoffs Begin, CEO Sends Employees Apologetic Letter

humphrm Re:Typical large corporations (138 comments)

Ah, I see. Thousands of econonomists over time have said you can't cut your way to profits, but if it gets repeated in one article you read, we're all just parrots. Specious logic, much?

more than 2 years ago
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Yahoo Layoffs Begin, CEO Sends Employees Apologetic Letter

humphrm Re:Typical large corporations (138 comments)

I'm sure your bombastic speeches impress everyone lacking the ability to differentiate between capitalism, cronyism, oligarchism, and corporate fascism.

more than 2 years ago

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