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Ask Slashdot: Unlimited Data Plan For Seniors?

johnlcallaway Anyone .... (170 comments)

... who thinks they are entitled to unlimited usage is naive. And wrong. ... who thinks they can get unlimited usage without paying a high price is a fool. And wrong. ... who doesn't read the contract to find out what 'unlimited' really means is just damn lazy. And probably a little bit of both of the above.

3 days ago

Battery Breakthrough: Researchers Claim 70% Charge In 2 Minutes, 20-Year Life

johnlcallaway Re:No mention on capacity though (395 comments)

So how is the fueling station going to get enough juice to charge 5-10 cars at the same time??? Their own generating station?? High-voltage electric lines directly from the sub-station?? And how are they going to get that much power out into the middle of some of the large tracts of land that make up the western half of the US??

I hope they can do it. I'm cheering for them to find a way.

I doubt if we will see anything nearing 25% electric-only cars in the next 20-40 years. I see households possible having two cars, one gas and one electric. My wife and I have two, I have a higher-MPG, smaller car because I travel farther that is also our 'travel' car if we drive long distances. She has the heavier utility because she likes to sit up higher and drives less and we need something to go to Home Depot and get stuff or to the dump and get rid of stuff. We have two cars because it's not practical, based on our jobs. to car pool. Even with other people because we work odd, and sometimes unexpected, hours.

about two weeks ago

Is It Time To Throw Out the College Application System?

johnlcallaway People pay to go to college (389 comments)

Colleges and universities should set minimum requirements for entry, and then let anyone who can pay in. I'm paying to be taught something, colleges need to start remembering that students are customers and treat them accordingly. I'm not saying colleges shouldn't have tough classes. If a college desires to give the best education money can buy, and that means a tough curriculum, as long as students are aware of that before they start spending their money. If a college or university's product is one of high standards for getting a passing grade, so be it.

If I think I can skip Calculus 101, go ahead and let me. If I fail, I'm the one that wasted the money on those credit hours and will have to take Calculus 101 and Calculus 102, possibly pushing back my graduation. Graduation could require the passing of specific levels of education, not accumulating credit hours. This 'well-rounded' BS needs to stop, the college is not my mom. I don't need to take underwater basket weaving to be a doctor or lawyer. But I probably need specific levels of English, Business and other non-medical related courses. Let me decide if I want to take underwater basket weaving and spend the money on it even if it's not required.

If someone desires to go a college that expects hard work, quick learning, and a high degree of work outside the classroom, and they fail because they can't keep up, it's their money they are wasting. I'm sure some would argue they are wasting class time, but in my limited experience, many professors are very good at keeping the class moving along and letting those that just don't get it fall behind.

Colleges should set their prices depending on the market system, as they do now. If students need money to go to college, they can prove to those that give out loans and grants whether or not they deserve the money. Just because I'm in favor of a college letting anyone in, doesn't mean I'm in favor of the colleges, government or banks giving or loaning money to anyone who wants it. They have the obligation to determine whether or not handing out thousands of dollars to someone is a good investment regardless of whether or not it's getting paid back.

Colleges could still give out scholarships and even loans to outstanding students that they feel will give back because of their abilities. Whatever method they setup to do that is up to them.

about three weeks ago

The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

johnlcallaway Re:Government gun regulation is useless (651 comments)

So .. is there an acceptable level of violent deaths for you?? As long as someone can only kill one person at a time with a knife or cricket bat is that OK as long as they can't kill two or five using a gun?? Are you willing start regulating knifes and cricket bats also, because those have been used by crazy people to kill also. Don't laugh, several years ago a group of doctors in the UK suggested that long, pointed kitchen knives should be banned because they are plenty of other alternatives and they tend to be the knives used most often when killing someone with a knife. Just as with firearms in the UK, they didn't ban them all at the same time. It started with just one type.

Your entire argument is that if you take something away, it can't be used anymore by crazy, bad, or angry people. That is a logical argument. So, why don't we just round up everyone that we think is crazy, bad, or angry and put only them into jail. That should stop the violence also, shouldn't it??? How about a law that says if you threaten someone, you are put into jail for 20 years to make sure you can't. What if we pass a law that says that if someone is scary, they also get put into jail. How about we pass a law that says the nice, quiet guy that lives next door, never bothers anyone, always says hi, is also thrown into jail just in case he goes nuts.

I can think of all kinds of ways to end all kinds of violence that would also work that are equally as moronic as removing all guns. Since you probably don't read any real news, you probably don't read about how daily, people all over the United States stop violence because they are armed. It does happen, a lot more than idiots like Rupurt Murdoch and Everytown want you to know.

The price that is paid by removing all guns it can't be used by the large portion of the population either that enjoy using it, already have it, and sometimes depend on it. You are willing to deny large segments of the population something they find useful and safe simply because you don't use it, aren't affected by not having it, are scared by it, and have a (false) sense of security because it's not around.

Free free to not own a gun. I have no problems with you not owning a gun.

I have problems with whiny little college kids thinking they have some sort of magical insight into the world and try to justify taking something away from me that has never been used in an illegal manner simply because they are scared of it, probably because they have never even shot a gun before in their life.

Fortunately, I didn't have such overly-protective parents and learned to shoot as a teen and discovered how much fun it was putting holes in pieces of paper 500 yards away.

about a month ago

The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

johnlcallaway Re:Hope He Continues (651 comments)

Your comment about Canada fails to note that Canada not only has fewer guns per capita, but also fewer capita per square mile. People kill other people either because they are crazy and just want to kill people, or because they are pissed at them. It's a lot harder for crazy people to kill other people when their aren't any other people around. And it's a lot harder to get pissed at people if fewer people are around. I also wonder what their drug/crime rates are, removing gun incidents that occur around other criminal acts significantly lowers the overall death rate. People involved in criminal activities are far more likely to end up on the receiving end of a gun or knife than I am. People who live in high-crime areas are also more likely to become a statistic.

The United States is not a violent culture, that's a label that liberals and other anti-gun fanatics love to throw around. The vast majority don't go around beating up people, stabbing them, or shooting them. There are pockets that are violent, usually centered around poverty and drugs. The average person is very unlikely to witness violent acts, let alone be the object of them, in many areas of the country.

Owning and shooting guns does not define a violent culture. Anymore than owning cars defines a country as a racing culture or drinking at bars defines it as an alcoholic culture. My wife and I own 3 revolvers, 3 pistols, a lever-action rifle, and a semi-automatic rifle. I probably have close to 1,000 rounds of ammo, and several pounds of gunpowder. The only violence these mechanical devices have seen is at firing ranges and in the desert, where helpless targets, plastic water-filled bottles, and the occasional apple are strewn about for practice.

The vast majority of the population in the United States stays as far away from violence as they can, except for in the movies. And from what I can tell, many people all over the world like violent movies just about as much as the population of the United States.

about a month ago

Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

johnlcallaway Of course they are (534 comments)

They are experts at using circular reasoning and 'because the (insert holy book here) says so' arguments for thousands of years. Why would the discovery of aliens change that?

People who are delusional always find reasons to continue to believe in things that aren't there, the arguments don't have to be logical or correct. They just continue to believe in them.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

johnlcallaway Re:overqualified (479 comments)

Are you suggesting this guy work for a company that promotes based on paper skills rather than on real-world skills? Work for a company that would promote a recently-graduated, newly-hired guy with a PhD rather than someone with experience that has been at the company for several years?

Please provide me a list of companies you think this works in, I want to be sure to never apply for a job in them. Sounds like the Peter Principle in overdrive. I've known more than one PhD grad that don't have the necessary interpersonal skills to get a senior level position. And one that was given the position anyway and despised by all that work for them and with them.

Just because someone doesn't have a degree doesn't mean they only have basic knowledge. Depends on the work experience. I have a crapload of 'basic knowledge' from 35 years of experience in many different positions and job sectors that no one with a PhD could ever hope to come out of school with. Meanwhile, this PhD schooled professional student knows one thing very well. As long as someone needs someone that can do that one thing, great. Until the next big thing comes along and makes that one thing pointless.

Then they had better hope they have some basic knowledge to fall back on....

about a month ago

Apple Sells More Than 10 Million New iPhones In First 3 Days

johnlcallaway Re: Sales figures are news now? (206 comments)

Ahh .. typical Apple iDrone. Ignore that 'real world' people post pictures to facebook and that camera optics become irrelevant because Facebook post-processes most pictures. And that even those places that don't post-process, hardly anyone ever prints pictures anymore so the majority of them will continue to be seen only on smartphones where a 4gb pictures is probably good enough. And that my Samsung S4 is fast enough for everything I throw at it and 'good enough' so even if Apple has questionably better CPU specs, most people won't notice it. And I've had it for over a year.

Apple drones on and on about how thin and light the iPhone is. Yet ignores that it's so thin and light because it doesn't offer a replaceable battery or SD card so can make the case thinner and use fewer structural components. Nice of them to finally allow their drones to install additional keyboards and provide other features Android users have had for a year or more.

No matter what features Apple puts in their phone, you can bet that within a few months Android phones will have similar capabilities. And then jump ahead because it will take Apple another 2-3 years to come out with a new phone.

And that is why they sell 10M phones on their initial rollout --- they simply don't roll out new phones that often and don't have 20 vendors rolling out new phones every other week.

about a month ago

Do Specs Matter Anymore For the Average Smartphone User?

johnlcallaway Re:It's not just speed (253 comments)

I disagree ... my ability to have a spare battery (which allows me to charge it while using the phone without having an annoying cord attached to the phone) and SD card is more important *to me* than longer battery life and a thinner phone and a better camera. For the most part, those things are irrelevant, my phone battery life is 'good enough' and my phone size is 'thin enough' and my phone camera is 'good enough'. Only smug elitist have to have what they consider to be the best, in my opinion. For 90% of the population, 'good enough' is good enough.

For example, many people only use their phone camera to post to the Internet with no editing ,, so anything about about 4MB really doesn't gain anyone anything. People who want a quality camera buy a camera .. people who want to take pictures of their food use their phone. Granted, I wouldn't knowingly buy a phone with a really crappy camera, but even my Samsung Gear 2 watch takes pictures suitable for posting on Facebook. Now, I've taken some great pictures with my Samsung 4, just got back from a motorcycle trip to San Francisco and took some amazing coastal panoramas with it.

Specs are important, but not everyone cares about the same specs. Some people don't care as much about battery life or camera quality. I am interested int he Samsung Active because it's water resistant.. It's nice to have a wide variety of phones.

Which is why I buy Android phones, they offer the most choices of any type of smartphone. More vendors, more options, more price ranges. I can move from one vendor to another and not loose the apps I've bought.

There is nothing in the Apple specs that provides that capability. And why I'll never buy an iPhone. No matter how amazing their camera is.

I have a dSLR and specialty lenses for amazing. And no .. it's not the 'best' camera out there either. Just one that is 'good enough'.

about a month ago

Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

johnlcallaway Re:COBOL (387 comments)

I did COBOL for 15 years. It's not difficult to learn if someone already knows another language. It only takes about 6 months to become proficient in it, maybe a year or two to become an expert for someone who is good.. Many shops are maintaining old code for the most part, so no one has to design something new. Even if they do, there are probably tons of examples.

We still use COBOL at the company I work at on the IBM systems. Who would I pick given the choice between a COBOL programmer with 20 years experience and a Java programmer that just learned it?? It would depend on what I wanted them to do, what the work split was, and what the salary requirements were. I might be more interested in their experience working on code other people wrote than their programming skills in a specific language ... I don't think I would want somebody who has only worked on new projects to suddenly jump in and work on a 20 year old system, no matter what their experience level.

Given the choice between a Java programmer and a Java programmer with COBOL knowledge, I would choose the COBOL guy, all things being equal. He will be more flexible and deserve a larger paycheck.

Our COBOL programmer works remotely and rarely has to come into the office.

However ... anyone that does this needs to keep current. It's very easy to fall into the rut of doing your job and then losing other skills. I know plenty of COBOL programmers who felt their jobs were safe and never made the transition out of the mainframe world, and are now not programmers anymore. Anyone who doesn't know two or three languages and can't work in a couple of different OSs is a fool.

about 2 months ago

3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

johnlcallaway Re:Something's gotta give (819 comments)

They will never rebel because the alternatives all suck in the US. Cross-country train travel is as expensive as flying and takes days, buses are cheaper and just as slow trains, but their depots are often in the bad parts of towns so any layover also sucks. Driving yourself takes less time than flying or a bus, but unless you want to sleep in your car their is the added cost of a motel. For one person, driving is almost as expensive as flying.

I don't fly very often, but I don't see what the big deal is. The cost of the flight is the cost of the flight, either I can afford it or not. If I can't .. I don't go. I always check a bag, so I just plan on paying for it. It usually makes travel so much easier, I'd rather drop my bag off and pick it up at the baggage check than deal with having to find space for it and pulling it down afterward.

Overall, in my 35 years of adult flying, I've rarely had a bad flight. But I do this thing called 'planning'. I try and plan layovers at airports that I like. For instance, terminal F in Atlanta is a great place for a 2-3 hour layover. I always keep layovers to at least an hour to allow for baggage transfers and a leisurely walk to the gate. I always know what the next available flight out of an airport is so I can book it right away if there are issues.

And I never, *EVER* take a carry on. I have a courier bag that is big enough for a couple of magazines, a change of clothes (in case my bag doesn't make it), and food and water (that I buy after I go through security) so I don't have to depend on the flight attendants.

It's amazing how when one stops depending on other people to do things for you, plan more for what is offered instead of what one would like, and take more responsibility that airplane travel can be a lot less painful.

about 2 months ago

3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

johnlcallaway Re:business travel rules need to change (819 comments)

Or maybe you a) should find a company more to your liking, b) pay the difference yourself, or c) find a different line of work.

It's self-centered jerks like you that are the problem .. always expecting others to change. It's one thing to discuss it with your company and express your desire. It's another to hold it against them when YOU are the one that can make so many choices but refuse to do so.

about 2 months ago

3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

johnlcallaway Biased much??? (819 comments)

The article comment 'Disputes over a tiny bit of personal space might seem petty, but for passengers whose knees are already banging into tray tables, every bit counts.' shows what the problem really is ... people who think they have the right to tell the person in front of them whether or not they can recline their chair.

They can recline it .. get over it. It's their seat. If you don't like it, fly first class. If you can't afford it, don't fly or shut the fuck up you inconsiderate, selfish loser.

It's one thing to ask nicely, it's another to expect someone to give up something they have every right and expectation to be able to do. I'm a pretty big guy, and never recline my seat out of consideration for the people behind me. But I've also never admonished the person in front of me for choosing to do so.

It's like the mothers who expect other children to share. It's their ball, they got it first, they don't have to share. I'm so sick and tired of all these people who expect other people to adjust their lives to suit them, how selfish is that. They only have the right to politely ask and walk away muttering to themselves if things don't go their way.

But of course, one only has to look at politics to see the problem echoed back. Anti-abortion activists (no .. you are not pro-life, you are anti-abortion. Get over it) want to force other people to not have something they don't want to have anyway. Anti-gun groups (yes ... you are anti-gun if you want to take guns away, your pretty words don't change that) want to force people to give up things they have never used in a crime so they feel safe. (Not are safer .. just feel safer). Anti-gay marriage groups (yes .. that is what you are, there is no sanctity of marriage outside of your head and maybe your church) want to tell gay people they can't live together. They can't do that, so instead they want to tell them that they can't have the same government benefits that others have.

The one thing all of these anti-something people have in common?? They want someone else to give up something so they can have what they want.

And they are all selfish and self-centered if they expect other people to do it.

about 2 months ago

Getting Into College the Old Fashioned Way: With Money

johnlcallaway Re:Not worth it (161 comments)

Maybe his education isn't in editing you self-righteous gibbon.

about 2 months ago

Getting Into College the Old Fashioned Way: With Money

johnlcallaway Re:Not worth it (161 comments)

I agree 100% .. my son-in-law hasn't even finished his state-school engineering doctorate and already has 3 big-money job opportunities. He AND his wife were both able to go to college without any debt (she has a BA in molecular biology), and managed to raise a child the last year, buy a house, pay off a car, and not have any credit card debt. He's got the opportunities partly because he is very smart and very personable, two qualities they don't teach in college. While I'm sure his degree gave him the knowledge they were after, his other qualities got him the job offers of other people. Not the school he went to.

People who go into long-term debt to go to college are too stupid to go to college, they aren't clever enough to find ways to do it and probably can't even do real-life math. With very few exceptions, no one really cares what school you went to. We hired an MIT grad at my last job, worst programmer ever .. I'll never pay any attention to degrees ever again.

I'll grant at there are exceptions .. if someone wants to be a professional student and just work in a college or university the rest of their lives doing research .. have at it. Depend on the whims of government funding for the rest of your life.

Or .. if someone really wants to delve into some specific area because it truly fascinates them and it makes no difference to them what they make for a living, as long as they are happy .. have at it.

My daughter-in-law is a marine biologist. Probably will never be rich. But she gets to travel (went to Cuba legally on some foundations dime) and is very happy doing what she loves for not much money. She and my step-son live in a small home and live based on what they make and are quite happy living their lives within their means.

I have no issues with people going to college. I have issues with the lie that people have been told that they have to and that they have to make lots of money to be happy.

I was told something once that has always stuck with me .. happiness isn't getting what you want, it's wanting what you have.

No one needs a degree to appreciate the world and people around them, they just need common sense.

about 2 months ago

Facebook Blamed For Driving Up Cellphone Bills, But It's Not Alone

johnlcallaway Re:Is there any way to stop auto-play? (131 comments)

And my eyes can detect when it's on and reset it again.

Start putting the blame on stupid people for going over their data limits. There are plenty of tools to monitor usage and alert when the limits are reached. At most, it should only happen once to somebody. After that, they are either too lazy to do anything about it, or too stupid to own such a complex device.

about 2 months ago

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Says Switching ISPs Is Too Hard

johnlcallaway Re:Seriously? (145 comments)

* Install one of the many email programs on your local machine and start using it instead of your providers software or web page.
* Add a rule to automatically reply to names in your address list that your email address has changed and what the new one is.
* Start moving over any business emails that you get.
* After a month or two, every time you get an email, click on 'unsubscribe', go to their web site and change your profile, or make sure they got an auto-reply.

I did this a couple of years ago for my Cox cable account, and have almost no emails that go to it anymore. I could switch carriers tomorrow if there was one I wanted to switch to.

about 2 months ago

Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

johnlcallaway Re:THESE PEOPLE? (1262 comments)

Biased?? You think??? I didn't see any mention about how MEN are depicted. First, there are the warrior types, often a bit raw. Large muscles, overly broad shoulders, thin waists, chiseled jaws. Often superhuman endurance and strength.

Then their are the slovenly types, often balding, with unkempt facial hair, dirty clothes, poor posture, and overweight. Usually of poor moral fiber.

There are two good male stereotypes to introduce gamers to, that handsome men can are rugged with strength and stamina that is unbounded, and uncouth. And overweight, balding men uncouth, have no morals, and don't follow good hygiene.

Or course, there are many other stereotypes of men in games .. the sexist pig, the gang member, etc. I've yet to see a game that has a normal father type in it. But isn't that the purpose .. to escape the real world for a bit and put yourself into a role you could never do in real life??

She obviously has a chip on her shoulder, last time I checked, no video game out there accurately portrayed male figures either. But she has chosen to ignore that and claim that games are sexist and only portray women in a manner that isn't accurate.

about 2 months ago

California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

johnlcallaway So sad ... (233 comments)

... that we have to pay for features based on the lowest common denominator. Another law from the idiots in California that impact everyone, regardless of where they live.

Wish that San Francisco earthquake had been just a little bit stronger .. and sliced San Diego, LA and San Francisco into the ocean. Ok .. maybe not San Francisco, it's a pretty cool town. The other two are cesspools and I try to avoid them whenever I have to make trips that way.

about 2 months ago

Calif. Court Rules Businesses Must Reimburse Cell Phone Bills

johnlcallaway What BS (161 comments)

Following that logic, they should also be required to help pay for my network at home, part of the cost of my desktop, and my work clothes, since they have required me to have all three.

My compensation requirement when I look for a job is dependent upon my work requirements, I don't have to work for a company that won't pay for my internet connection, provide a support computer, or pay for business wear. I choose to work for the company I work for because they compensate me enough that I can take care of those requirements. I'm not one of those people that see 'free stuff' in these rulings. Instead, I see increased costs that will be passed on to the consumer.

Several years ago, a company paid for my relocation. Instead of having a list of onerous rules and requiring detailed record keeping, they gave me a flat fee based on my salary. Funny thing about that, I found the cheapest way to move and pocketed the rest. May or may not have saved the company money, but it sure made my life easier. And no one at the office had to deal with the paperwork, pouring over every receipt to make sure it was allowed. My guess is that the company found, in the long run, that it was cheaper to do it that way. It was their choice, their freedom to decide how to handle relocation. As most company benefits (including medical) should be. That's how a free market economy works, by providing choices and letting competition settle things. Companies with the best benefits/pay/work environment get the brightest and smartest. If someone works for a company with poor benefits/pay/work environment ...maybe it's their lack of marketable skills or motivation that keeps them there.

My company currently does provide support phones because some idiot in security won't let us use Touchdown on our Android phones to get our email. So they give me a useless piece-of-shit iPhone (small screen, no back button, can't install apps on it because of security). Which sits on my desk at home, plugged into a charger and never used. I setup Google voice to forward calls to my Android phone, and setup rules to forward emails from important people to my Android phone. The company spends $$ a month for phones for many employees that don't even use them. I'm can get an iPhone through my service provider, and they will pay for the monthly service if I choose to. But then I have to have a phone with fewer useful features than my Samsung S4, which I prefer (as do many ex-iPhone users that I know of).

Yet more bullshit rules from the land of nanny-government.

about 2 months ago



Google removes guns and ammo from Google Shopping

johnlcallaway johnlcallaway writes  |  more than 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

Google does not hand tune search rules

johnlcallaway johnlcallaway writes  |  more than 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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