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Comments

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Dropbox Head Responds To Snowden Claims About Privacy

johnlcallaway What idiocy (176 comments)

Anyone that posts anything on the Internet (i.e. on another person's computer and network) and demands privacy or security is a moron. You can ask .. but no one is obligated to give it to you. Becoming indignant or angry because they won't is just about the most self-centered and egotistical thing I can think of, thinking someone else owes you something. Why should they?? Because you demanded it?? What do you have to offer in return beyond shutting your mouth??

It's their decision and theirs alone. You want things private and secure, keep them on your own computer. Unplugged from any network.

Anything else is up for grabs.

5 days ago
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States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

johnlcallaway When y ou find the other study ... (778 comments)

... the one that was done with a 'double blind' testing system, I'll pay attention to the results. Until then, there are far too many factors to establish any true cause/effect.

But I do know this ... living on a minimum wage salary has NEVER, in my entire 35 years in the labor force, been a 'living wage'. That's why most people learn new stuff and don't stay in it for more than a few months.

Or until they get motivated enough to find something else so they can move out of their mom's basement.

I have little sympathy for someone that can't find anything but a minimum wage job and then have to stay in it. I remember a few years ago when I saw a sign at a local fast-food place advertising a starting salary over $9/hour, a full $2 higher than the minimum wage at the time. When I looked behind the counter, I understood why, the staff was actually WORKING. The owner could afford the higher salary because he needed fewer people because they worked harder.

People with good attitudes and a willingness to learn don't make minimum wage for very long. People with limited skills who aren't very self-motivated do.

That's called 'competition' and it works very well. Subsidies (that is, paying more for something than it's worth) rarely work in the long term. They become crutches and excuses. The US has a long history of such failures .. student loans (increases tuition costs, created a price spiral, saddled thousands with high debt), housing subsidies (increased house prices and created a bubble), Cash for Clunkers (didn't do a damn thing), farm subsidies (can't get rid of the hidden tax that all US citizens that pay taxes pay for that ends up costing 50% of the population almost 3 times what the actual subsidy would be to them in terms of taxes and national debt), etc.

Too bad we haven't learned from these mistakes..

about two weeks ago
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UN Report Finds NSA Mass Surveillance Likely Violated Human Rights

johnlcallaway And in other news ... (261 comments)

... the UN will continue to be inconsequential in any affairs other than sucking funds from wealthy countries and offering crazy world leaders a place to get publicity.

about two weeks ago
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Geographic Segregation By Education

johnlcallaway And in other news ... (230 comments)

... people that make more money buy nice things, live in nicer houses, and send their kinds to nicer schools.

Someone actually spent money on this?? Go to Maine and look at old mill towns like Saco/Biddeford and Lewiston/Auborn. Mill towns, where the wealthy lived on one side of the river, and the mill workers lived on the other.

I would say it's obvious to most people and no study was needed, but I guess someone has to justify their wasted college education by getting paid with government subsidized studies so they can live in the nicer part of town.

about two weeks ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

johnlcallaway Re:Supreme Court did *not* say corps are people .. (1330 comments)

Bzzzt!!! Wrong.

Individuals can be sued of fraud or criminal intent can be proven, not matter what protection the corporation has for it's assets. Martha Stewart went to jail because she lied under oath, not because she broke insider trading laws.

The same is true of corporations. If groups of people in a corporation conspire to dump waste into the environment, they can be sent to jail for it. Same goes for any other actions of a corporation.

about a month ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

johnlcallaway Re:A win for freedom (1330 comments)

It's a company. It's someone's choice to work there as well as someone's choice to offer them a job. Telling a company what benefits they have to offer is the one of the most un-American things I can think of. It wholly defeats the concept of capitalism and competition. This is the same shit that has caused half of Europe to become almost bankrupt by telling people things like when they have to retire and how many hours a week they are allowed to work. It's the same shit that has created socialist, entitlement riddled countries that can't afford half of their social programs.

Tell you what .. let's do this. Companies will stop contributing anything to the pool and let employees decide what coverage they want, which of course will set the amount of premiums they have to contribute. Then see what level of benefits they set. Do you honestly think they will spend the money for elective medications, like birth control?? And unlimited medical procedures?? And 100% coverage of everything?? Seems to me if quality health care is a right, then they should enable all of those things and pay the very high rates associated with it, just as they are expecting the company to do it.

But of course not, they will pick a number that is somewhat affordable, and accept the risks involved in the things they cannot afford.

It's easy spending another person or company's money, isn't it. It's tougher when it comes out of your own pocket.

If you want to depend on the government for your stuff, go ahead. Ask the people at the VA how well that worked. I prefer to be responsible and make my own decisions. I'll use government benefits if they are available and I'm eligible, but I'm not going to make long-term decisions assuming they will be there.

about a month ago
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First Phone Out of Microsoft-Nokia -- and It's an Android

johnlcallaway Re:So what? (193 comments)

If the vast majority of people upgrade their phone every few years to a new model, the ability to upgrade the OS is irrelevant for that same vast majority of people since they get an upgraded OS on the new phone,

If most OS upgrades only offer small, incremental changes, the ability to upgrade the OS becomes unnecessary for the vast majority of users because they aren't really that important to most.

If phone hardware changes dramatically in newer models and you can only get new features because of new hardware, the desire to upgrade causes many to do so, and the need to upgrade the OS becomes irrelevant except when upgrading phones.

If people are willing to pay an extra $20/month to never have a phone that is more than one year old, the ability to upgrade the OS becomes irrelevant to the vast majority of users.

And no one cares about the few techies that stamp their feet and want OS upgrades immediately.

about a month ago
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Chinese Gov't Reveals Microsoft's Secret List of Android-Killer Patents

johnlcallaway Re:Competition, Microsoft style (140 comments)

I think Apple is starting to be in the same boat. They had a coolness monopoly that many people used to make decisions based on a 'cool' factor rather than on usable features/functions. For instance, zooming on a web page was 'cool', even if it still wasn't practical to use the phone to view large numbers of web pages because of the small screen (pre-mobile web page world). My daughter snatched up on of the original iPhones right away, partly because she thought the zoom ability was cool. I stuck with my Android. Now, she has switched and vows never to go back.

After receiving an iPhone from work, it's amazing to me that anyone even buys them. It sits in my pocket, next to my S4, and is only used to view work email because of it's limited screen size, inferior built-in soft keyboards, and substandard/non-intuitive navigation features. (We are not allowed to install Touchdown and connect to the email servers, so they give us iPhones instead.)

Apple now thinks that getting into the 'connected' world is the way to go. They think that people will buy iPhones simply because of cool toys that can connect to bikes and golf clubs and such. It's kinda innovative, but like things all Apple, it's based on things other people are already doing. Just 'cooled up'. I wouldn't be surprised if they will own the patents and protocols and make it difficult for other companies to get in on it.

Meanwhile, Android will continue to be fragmented, which drives the ability for thousands of companies to complete and innovate.

Apple's only saving grace is their margin is so high they don't need market share.

They just need their iDrones to keep buying and drinking the Koolaid.

about a month and a half ago
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The Ethics Cloud Over Ballmer's $2 Billion B-Ball Buy

johnlcallaway The only losers are the players?? (398 comments)

Wow .. I wish I could be a loser to the tune of a million or two a year.

What a great opportunity to take something said in private, blow it all out of proportion, just to make a social statement. I hope I never become rich and famous and have to worry about someone illegally taping a private conversation and making it public so everyone can throw a hissy-fit. As long as I'm just a regular person, my special friends won't have an opportunity to blackmail me for something so ridiculous.

It is NOT illegal to be a racist. It is NOT illegal to have private racist thoughts. It is illegal to discriminate.

One can attack actions, but it is Orwellian to attack private comments. Everyone on here that whines about privacy should be shouting at the treetops against this invasion of privacy.

about 2 months ago
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Apple Says Many Users 'Bought an Android Phone By Mistake'

johnlcallaway Re:It true !!!! (711 comments)

My 'mistake' was the other way, I was forced to get an Apple phone as part of my job, and I think it sucks. Fortunately, I don't have to use it much, just carry it and check email because they refuse to let Android phones connect to get mail. They would rather pay every month for a phone for a hundred people than spend $25 for Touchdown. Or let us even buy it ourselves and connect.

I could have given up my Samsung phone completely and bought my own iPhone, which the company would have paid for and then paid for my monthly service. I'd rather pay the $40/month for my Samsung phone that have to use an Apple phone. I find the interface sorely lacking compared to Android, the screen is tiny, and WTF ... no back button?? No Swype keyboard built in? No on-screen folders? Now I understand why when my daughter switched from her iPhone to her Samsung she vowed never to go back.

One of the worst phones I've ever used. I suppose it was great when it came out, but they seem to have been left behind in features and options.

Let the iDrone comments begin .....

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: In What Other Occupations Are IT Skills and Background Useful?

johnlcallaway Any small business (158 comments)

My wife is a bookkeeper for a small non-profit. She asked me to help her automate some reports, which required me to know Windows, Crystal Reports, how to use window's task scheduler, and a fair amount of Oracle skill to hack the back end. As I was working on it, she mentioned that she wished she new SQL so she could use Crystal Reports better.

While I was working on the system, I noticed that the method they use to backup Oracle isn't a good, solid method. I'm going to try to understand what they are doing a little better, and if I still feel it's substandard, I might try to implement a more acceptable method.

If my wife had more IT skills, she could do a lot of these things herself. I already have significant accounting skills that I've earned over the years working with accounting departments, so it wouldn't take too much for me to get an accounting technical degree and become a bookkeeper.

So while I think there are many places where IT skills come in handy, any person expecting to make an IT-like salary doing so will probably be disappointed. And I doubt if I would be very challenged in a job where many of the tasks are simple data entry tasks, with only occasional needs for higher levels of skills.

All that being said, I have contemplated getting an accounting degree and provide accounting services when I retire in 5-10 years. It's something that I can do part time, doesn't require the huge investment in keeping up-to-date like being in IT or being a CPA. But I doubt if I'll be able to maintain the same salary/benefit level that I do today. So it's a two edged sword, I can leverage my IT skills to provide better accounting services than some, but I'll never be able to justify the same salary unless I become a CPA.

Not a problem if I'm retired and have retirement income that I'm only interested in supplementing. Or I have paid off my house, credit cards, and any other debt and have reduced my income needs significantly.

I think whether or not someone can leverage an IT background into a new job depends on a lot more than just learning a new trade.

about 2 months ago
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NSA Collecting Millions of Faces From Web Images

johnlcallaway Only a fool ... (136 comments)

... posts pictures on the web and expects them to be private.

Only a moron would find it surprising that government agencies aren't looking at them.

about 2 months ago
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Daniel Ellsberg: Snowden Would Not Get a Fair Trial – and Kerry Is Wrong

johnlcallaway Why should anyone get bail ... (519 comments)

... that has proven to be a flight risk?? What, on his 'word' that he'll show up in court?? His personal guarantee that if the trial starts to go the wrong way, he won't take off again??

Snowden will get a fair trial, and then be thrown in jail for the crimes he has already confessed publicly to doing.

about 2 months ago
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WikiLeaks: NSA Recording All Telephone Calls In Afghanistan

johnlcallaway Re:Well duh! (241 comments)

Thank you! There isn't a country in the world that doesn't invade privacy of civilians in other countries and spy on them. We should stand proud that we are better at it than anyone else. Ok .. maybe not as good about hiding it. The only problem I have with this is that some idiot made the information public.

about 2 months ago
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Programmers: It's OK To Grow Up

johnlcallaway The two biggest obstacles ... (232 comments)

On on hand, many companies pigeon-hole people into specific areas. If someone is designated a J2EE developer, and that's all the tasks a company makes available to them, how will they learn The Next Big Thing?? After doing this for 10-15 years, people get left behind. On the plus side, top notch COBOL programmers make pretty good money. On the down side, it's only the top notch ones that get hired and the opportunities are few and far between.

If companies took the time to allow development staff to try new things, more people would become cross-trained and the end result is a larger talent pool for the company. Most developers can pick up The Next Big Thing quickly if given the opportunity, and since they already know the company processes and products, should be more valuable in 3-6 months than hiring someone with the experience.

On the other hand, if a company does offer the ability the move around, and someone that is comfortable in their space isn't willing to take the plunge, it's their own fault. I've known plenty of people that when asked 'can you code in the Next Big Thing', simply reply 'No, I can't do that'. If they would add the words 'but I can learn it' afterward, as far as I can remember, every company I have ever worked in would let them. Instead, they move onto the next employee or hire from outside the company.

And the employee that always says 'I can't do that' stops getting get offered new opportunities.

about 2 months ago
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Sony To Make Movie of Edward Snowden Story

johnlcallaway Re:Reserved Judgement (107 comments)

You mean the threat that some self-righteous person can lie and manipulate his fellow workers into risking their jobs and livelihoods just so the self-righteous person can get some attention?? That if someone at work asks you to do something that isn't following procedure that you probably shouldn't do it because you could lose your job for someone that doesn't give a crap about you and will just flee the country and leave you hanging in the wind??

I hope so, maybe we can stop more security leaks.

Because the last time I checked ... nothing has changed. Other than Snowden getting far more press coverage than he deserves.

Or will Sony be brave enough to paint the entire picture rather than just try and create a feel-good movie about an underdog by only presenting the facts that help them get the best ratings instead of presenting a balanced viewpoint?

Probably .. that's what most documentaries do. Al Gore and Michael Moore are masters of that, I wonder if Sony will hire them.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Computer Science Freshman, Too Soon To Job Hunt?

johnlcallaway Re:IT needs to be a skilled trade with trade schoo (309 comments)

Maybe not, but 2 years of trade school coupled with 2 years of having a real job is far more experience than someone will ever get in college. I'll take the 2 year trade school person who was smart enough to figure out that they can spend 2 years in a trade school for far less money and come out with the skills necessary to start work, than someone so stupid they spend 4 years in college, rack up tons of debt, only to gain a few more hours of lab time, get useless credits in useless subjects, and some questionable theory that will probably be out of date in 4-5 years anyway when the NBT becomes the craze.

College can't teach someone how to be a programmer, it can only teach the syntax and theory to become a coder. Only experience and aptitude can make someone a programmer.

But, on the other hand, if someone has been coding for 10 years and the only language they know is PHP, maybe they aren't that smart to begin with. During my first 5 years of working with computers, I learned two different assemblers, FORTRAN, BASIC, and COBOL. Over the years I've added even more as I've needed to. No college in the world is going to teach someone that many different languages. On working in the real world and stepping up when needed can.

about 3 months ago
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Traffic Optimization: Cyclists Should Roll Past Stop Signs, Pause At Red Lights

johnlcallaway Re:stopping vs yielding (490 comments)

So .. can I do this in my motorcycle also then?? I'll save gas and time also. I hate stopping at stop signs and having to actually put my foot down, it takes so much extra energy. And why can't I just roll through a stop light if no one is coming, I can see traffic perfectly well and shouldn't have to stop if I judge that it's safe.

Just like a cyclist .. trying to justify a special rule just for them because they are too freakin' lazy to take their foot out of their clips. Or don't know how to balance a bike.

Tell you what .. when you can get all the asshole cyclists (I'm specifying a specific subgroup of all cyclists that think they own the road, not the polite ones that know how to share the road) to ride in their special bike lane single file so cars don't have to swerve around them, or just to ride single file anywhere there is traffic, and to not ride past lines of traffic on the the right, putting themselves at risk just to blow through a stop light, maybe I'll think about it. But I see cyclists every week who put themselves into situations that are far more risky than what this law is asking for. Mostly because it appears they think that just because the law supports them, they can bleeding well do just about anything they want to, no matter how inconsiderate and risky it is.

Nope .. I can't support giving cyclists special rights just because they are too lazy to put their foot down at a stop sign.

about 3 months ago
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The Koch Brothers Attack On Solar Energy

johnlcallaway Re:Why can't the tornados... (769 comments)

Get Soros and the associated liberal special interests into the same trailer and I'll support it.

Only liberal hypocrites complain about conservative special interests while ignoring the fact they have plenty of their own.

about 3 months ago
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The Koch Brothers Attack On Solar Energy

johnlcallaway Net metering isn't fair (769 comments)

Either you pay for the lines feeding your house, or you only get wholesale rates for your power. My water bill is that way, I pay a flat monthly fee, plus an additional cost for water. I don't see anyone whining about the poor being affected.

If someone with solar doesn't like it, they can go to a completely self-contained system with batteries that doesn't feed anything back.

Government subsidies create unfair marketing systems that artificially reduce one cost while moving it somewhere else and hiding it. In the US, we pay lower prices for food because of agriculture subsidies. But, in the end. we still pay the 'real' cost because of increases in taxes. Plus all of the administrative overhead that goes into managing the subsidies. Better to eliminate the subsidies, lower the taxes, and let the market set the prices. If the government then needs to supplement the food stamp system, it can do that.

Plus, subsidies seem to never go away. Some special-interest lobbying group somewhere manages to present biased statistics 'proving' that the subsidies are still needed.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Google removes guns and ammo from Google Shopping

johnlcallaway johnlcallaway writes  |  about 2 years ago

johnlcallaway writes "Google has decided to remove guns and ammo from it's Google Shopping system. From the article:
Google sent out an email to Google Adwords customers saying that they are going to pull all Google Shopping results for guns, ammunition, gun optics and gun accessories (Shopping results, not general search results).

I tried 'rifle sling' and was able to get results. But 'beretta' and 'ruger' yielded nothing. I'm not sure what reason they have, part of the letter sent to vendors talks about safety and legal items, yet knives and cricket bats still show up, and the last time I checked, people can kill other people with those items. And I think guns and ammo are legal in all 50 states, to varying degrees.

So what is the real reason?? Something as innocent as an over-reaction to complaints from users about accidental display of gun related ads maybe?? Or someone just forcing their beliefs on everyone else?"

Link to Original Source
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Google does not hand tune search rules

johnlcallaway johnlcallaway writes  |  about 6 years ago

johnlcallaway (165670) writes "Cnet has this short article about a google fellow blog. Amit Singhal posts an introduction to Google ranking and points out three Google philosophies:
  • Best locally relevant results served globally.
  • Keep it simple.
  • No manual intervention.

Which begs the question ... if an algorithm is hand-tuned, is that manual intervention?? Amit answers that question this way.

The second reason we have a principle against manually adjusting our results is that often a broken query is just a symptom of a potential improvement to be made to our ranking algorithm. Improving the underlying algorithm not only improves that one query, it improves an entire class of queries, and often for all languages. I should add, however, that there are clear written policies for websites recommended by Google, and we do take action on sites that are in violation of our policies or for a small number of other reasons (e.g. legal requirements, child porn, viruses/malware, etc).

"

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