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Dragon Age 2 Announced

richmaine Re:How about some decent mac support this time? (183 comments)

Same here. I went out of my way to show support for the Mac version of Origins. Before realizing that there was to be a Mac version, I had initially bought a PC version, which I ran in BootCamp. Then when the Mac version came out, I bought it too, mostly just to show support for their doing the Mac one. Being able to avoid rebooting into BootCamp was a slight convenience, but not really enough to justify buying a second copy. My main reason was just to show support.

But I've felt pretty ill-supported in return. As you say, no 1.02 patch. No expansion pack.

And now, looking at the list of platforms for Dragon Age 2, I don't see the Mac listed.

more than 4 years ago

Amazon Pulls Book Publisher's Listings; Ebook Wars Underway?

richmaine Re:Can someone explain to me why people buy this c (297 comments)

What's wrong with real books?

Here we have yet another example of "I don't have an interest in a product, so obviously anyone who does must be stupid." Since several million people (myself included) were interested enough in a Kindle to pay several hundred dollars for one and you don't understand why, that obviously means all those people must be stupid. Indeed, whenever *YOU* don't understand something, that means someone *ELSE* must be stupid. Yep.

I have a personal library of several thousand books and I designed my custom-built house specifically to have a library room.

I also bought a Kindle and am very pleased with it. I bought it before going on a 2-week cruise last summer. If you can't think of what is wrong with lugging several dozen "real books" along with you on a trip, then I don't think I'm up to educating you. I worked pretty hard to keep my luggage down to something that was practical to lug through, for example, the London underground. It wouldn't have taken very many books to blow that.

more than 4 years ago

Each American Consumed 34 Gigabytes Per Day In '08

richmaine Definitions so broad as to be pointless (245 comments)

Their definitions almost allow grandma to count time sitting in a rocking chair on the porch watching the outside world as "consuming information". Lots of bits of data comming into those eyeballs. Or maybe even if she closes her eyes and starts daydreaming, those dreams count too. :-)

When a "report" spends a substantial amount of time explaining the notations for large numbers, it is a pretty clear sign that it isn't a very serious work.

more than 5 years ago

Response To California's Large-Screen TV Regulation

richmaine Worst summary ever (619 comments)

Well, ok, not really the worst, but only because the competition for worst slashdot summary is pretty intense. I don't think I'll bother to comment on the merits of the actual proposal. The summary says more about whoever wrote the summary than about the proposal.

No, the regulation does not "target your big-screen TVs for elimination." Those few who RFTA will note that it doesn't say anything close to that. I note that the summary says nothing about what the proposal actually does say.

And I see that the poster makes sure to throw in spurious knee-jerk words like "unelected bureaucrats" because that certainly constructively contributes to the debate. Why would one want to debate issues when you can instead throw epithets? Going to claim they are child molesters as well?

Anyone who starts out like this summary isn't worth arguing with. When you start by blatantly misstating the most basic of facts in the matter and then continue by using irrelevant epithets in hope of getting knee-jerk agreement, I don't think you are looking for reasoned debate.

more than 5 years ago

Why Cloud Storage Is Lousy For Enterprises (and Individuals)

richmaine It isn't an exclusive or (183 comments)

You don't have to choose one or the other. I don't understand why so many presumably smart people here (well, ok...) pick on a problem of some backup method or other and then conclude that it is therefore not a choice. If you really care, you have multiple backup methods - not just multiple copies, but multiple methods. They then compensate for each other's weaknesses.

Well, security issues can be another matter, as having multiple methods doesn't help your security if one of them "leaks". But I'm talking about just being able to recover the data.

I use about 4 different backup methods - some regularly and some occasionally. Apple's Time machine is real handy and I have it on all the time. That's one local copy. Mozy Pro gives me something remote in case the house burns down or whatever. It also auto-runs regularly. If I'm about to do something with extra issues such as an OS upgrade, I first make sure I have a fresh full clone using SuperDuper. And files that I particularly care about I tend to have copied onto multiple machines. If any of those methods goes belly up for some reason, I've got the others. It takes three major failures (ok, only 2 if one of them is my house going) in quick sequence to loose anything - more to loose critical stuff.

For my mother-in-law, I have her set up with Mozy (free version works because she doesn't have over 2 GB of stuff that needs backup). That's because it will happen without her attention, which is really, really important. And it also happens without me having to remember to take care of it for her regularly. She doesn't have computer stuff critical enough to need much more. If Mozy goes, I'll set her up with something different. If her computer dies right around the same time as Mozy does, then she'd loose stuff, but she'd get over it.

more than 5 years ago

Kindle Finally Ready For Global Distribution

richmaine Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (145 comments)

Your Kindle can READ?! Shit, that's really advanced. Mine just displays text.

Um. Actually mine *CAN* read. Check out the text-to-speech feature.

I don't think it is too strong on the understanding part, but it can do the reading part. :-)

more than 5 years ago

Candy Linked To Violence In Study

richmaine Re:The other way to see it (205 comments)

Exactly. And how on earth do you "correct for parenting style"? Out of a sample of 35? Jeez.....

Particularly since giving kids candy every day *IS* an element of parenting style.

more than 5 years ago

Do Retailers Often Screen User Reviews?

richmaine Re:Their site... (454 comments)

Thinking that something "should be illegal" is not particularly close to it being illegal. It sounds to you that you are just saying that it is unethical. I agree with that, but the point was that a prior poster said he "considered this to be illegal", and the parent asked why it was illegal.

Saying it is unethical does not answer that question. You have to actually find a law that says it is illegal.

Likewise, asaul says that it is illegal because it is misleading. Again, he doesn't cite any law against being misleading.

Even blatantly lying is not, in general, illegal. There are cases where it is, but those are specific cases; there is no general law against lying. (Mom's law doesn't count here. :-))

There are laws against false advertising, which are probably the closest things to applicable ones here. But the standards applied to that in practice tend to be awfully lenient. (Heck, as far as I can tell, darn near all advertising attempts to give false impressions in at least some way. Apparently the lawyers don't use the same standards that I do, since I don't see darn near all advertising slapped down.)

more than 5 years ago

Did Chicago Lose Olympic Bid Due To US Passport Control?

richmaine Re:US Customs Isn't Kind To US Citizens, Either (1040 comments)

Amen. I'm a US citizen (by birth, and I've lived here all 59 years of my life). The border folk of my own country give me far more hassle than I've ever had with any other country. I don't even fit any particularly common "bad guy profile" (independent of any questions about the use of such profiles). I'm quite the nerdy, white middle-class American image. They don't pick on me in particular; its just that the way they are to most people is so much worse than the border folk of most other countries.

This summer I had my first trip to Russia. The cruise ship folk warned us about how painful the border folk were. This appeared to be mostly a push to buy the cruise ship tour excursion so that they could help you smooth it. I didn't do that; did have my own Visa. Went through the Russian officials more quickly and easily then the US ones when I returned home.

As far as so-called security goes, if someone in my family mysteriously disappeared, never to be heard from again, agents of my own government would be a lot higher on my list of likely culprits than foreign terrorists. I don't really run around every day worried about either possibility (and I don't even brink my tin foil hat with me when I travel), but I sure know which one is higher on my concern list.

more than 5 years ago

FCC Backs Net Neutrality, Chairman's Full Speech Posted

richmaine Re:Server vs. client (270 comments)

The server market is competitive - very much so (as I presume you are well aware). That makes the situation very much different. Most of the reason why we need net neutrality rules is the lack of competitiveness in the ISP market. If the market were really competitive, to the extent that Joe Blow customer (such as me) could realistically tell his ISP to go jump in a lake, then we wouldn't need net neutrality rules. Market competition would indeed do the job.

If I tell my ISP to go jump, I'm back to dialup... or I suppose I could get Satellite, but that's pretty worthless for anything interactive. It is clear that I'm far from alone and am closer to typical in this.

Market competition doesn't work when there is a small group that controls the market and there are substantial barriers to entry by others. That is really the crux of the whole matter, and the part that the big players who do control most of the ISP market would like to distract people from. It does make a difference - a huge one.

more than 5 years ago

Austin Police Want Identities of Online Critics

richmaine Re:He's A Jerk (320 comments)


As odd as the British law in question is, I don't think it usually includes extra radiation as a penalty. :-)

Extradition probably wouldn't apply either. :-)

more than 5 years ago

First Private Manned Orbital Flight Announced

richmaine Re:Subject: LOOKING FOR PARTNERSHIP IN BUSINESS (165 comments)

That's hilarious. At first I just thought it was a mildly amusing bit of unsubtle satire. But that was before I glanced around the IOS web site and found that this is actually directly quoted from there. That makes it hilarious.

more than 5 years ago

Science, Technology, Natural History Museums?

richmaine Re:The Franklin Institute isn't what it used to be (435 comments)

If the Franklin has gone downhill, then either it used to be darned good or maybe it was just recently. I was at the Franklin not too many years ago... well... time does seem to zip by.... I suppose it must have been on the order of 5 years though it still seems recent. I recall being quite impressed by it. Before reading the above post, I was going to post and say that the Franklin sets a pretty high standard.

Lots of good recommendations elsewhere in the thread. All I can do is second some of them, including the exploratorium in San Francisco and Balboa Park in San Diego. Of course, it has been longer since I've been to them - more like 10 to 15 years, so I suppose they could possibly have gone downhill as well.

more than 5 years ago

Security Certificate Warnings Don't Work

richmaine Re:No shit (432 comments)

Speaking of NASA (which your signature did), I retired from NASA a few years ago. Our own systems were regularly coming up with things like cert warnings because the security people were too clueless to do their job correctly. More than once I called the computer security folk to complain about a certificate warning from their own systems. They were surprised that I had bothered to call; I was told I was just supposed to ignore messages like that. When that's the line you get from the so-called security professionals, little wonder that the average Joe doesn't do better. (Yes, the computer security folk at the particular NASA site I worked at were spectacularly clueless about pretty much everything, probably more so than at other NASA sites.)

It obviously hasn't improved since I left either. Just a few months ago, I got a call asking me to log into a system to review some management BS about one of the programs I had written when I worked there. Same problems. I was tempted to tell them that NASA systems were one thing, but that I declined to override security warnings like that on my home systems, where I have important things like banking information. They wouldn't have understood, though.

Not that NASA is alone. I've seen the same kinds of things from banks. Sigh.

more than 5 years ago

Is the Kindle DX Worth the Money?

richmaine Re:Why not a laptop? (263 comments)

I've got a laptop computer. I also have a Kindle. No way is the laptop even close to an adequate substitute. I plan to bring both on a cruise I'm going on starting next week. My Kindle is not the DX, and I'm not at all sure whether I'd prefer the DX or not, but your comments have nothing in particular to do with the DX either. I'm not going to just repeat all the sales blub stuff in detail. That is all readily available. I don't know whether you never read it, or perhaps the Kindle just isn't for you. I'm sure it isn't for everyone, but that doesn't mean it is for nobody. In very short...

The Kindle (non-DX) is sized and shaped about like a paperback (particularly if you get the leather cover - recommended). This is clearly intentional, and it works well. You can tote it around just like a paperback; my wife throws it in her purse just like one. It is a whole lot more handy than my laptop. It is also a *LOT* easier on the eyes than a laptop screen. And yes, I can indeed read it outside in the desert sun here in lighting conditions where it would be hard to even tell whether my laptop was on. Since the epaper screen is a large chunk of the cost of the thing, its properties are important to consider. Yes, if you don't value those properties, you aren't going to value the Kindle.

Its battery life is measured in days instead of hours (caveat: that's with the wireless off, which makes a huge difference; keep the wireless off if you aren't using it). And my aging eyes appreciate that I can select the font size instead of being stuck with whatever tiny font a book printer used.

Most of the books I have on it so far are free ones, though my wife has bought a few, and we'll probably skim Amazon and buy a few more today.

One negative. I don't think the interface for things like newspapers is very convenient. I tried the free trial subscriptions to a few papers, but then I dropped them. The material is there, but it just isn't presented in a way that I find very handy. With either a physical paper or the web, you immediately see what the "big" stories are. Sometimes that's all you want. You don't get that with the Kindle.

Yes, I could carry a dozen books or so on my upcoming cruise. Well, I could carry them until all the extra weight got to me, which it would. Or I could carry my one KIndle. I'm bringing the Kindle.

more than 5 years ago

14-Year-Old Boy Smote By Meteorite

richmaine Re:ein minuten bitte (435 comments)

Hey, it's the Telegraph. You expect maybe accurate reporting or decent writing? If so, I have some waterfront land in Florida to sell you...

more than 5 years ago

Supreme Court Nominee Sotomayor's Cyberlaw Record

richmaine Re:Don't like her - bitch hates guns. (384 comments)

It is a bit difficult to take you seriously when you ask about fairly objective and impartial things like qualifications, but you use multiple flagrantly crude insulting terms in the process of doing so, and you say that your opinion is based on an issue rather than on qualifications.

I see no point in arguing about gun control here. Heck, it might even be that I agree with you on it, but that is an issue - not a qualification.

The simple answer to your question about whether she has qualifications is yes. In fact, she appears to be pretty strong in terms of objective qualifications. I won't go try to dig them out here. If you actually cared about qualifications, then it would have been pretty hard for you to miss the prominent mention of them in most of the news media reports.

If by "qualifications", you really mean "agrees with you on a particular issue", then that's a different question, and I'd have to say, that based on the limited sample of your rhetoric posted here, I'd probably not consider you qualified to judge qualifications, or probably for much of anything else requiring a modicum of judgment or decorum. I suppose posting as an anonymous coward shows at least some judgment; I sure wouldn't want a post like tied to me. But then I don't post things that I wouldn't want tied to me.

As issues go, at least on the tech-related ones noted by the OP, her decisions sound pretty sensible to me. They seem to show a lot more understanding of the issues than a fair fraction of the slashdot posts in this thread... but I guess that's not a very high standard. It almost sounds like she actually read the relevant material before writing her decisions, which pretty much puts her ahead of the traditional slashdot commenter.

more than 5 years ago

Is Playing a DVD Harder Than Rocket Science?

richmaine Re:Likely cause... (464 comments)

Or even more likely, 'remove unapproved modules' might well have been part of the preparation. I used to work for NASA before I retired, and doing things like removing the games from standard software installations would have been quite typical. That was for ordinary old office or laptop computers - not ones sent into space - but it wouldn't be surprising at all for the same kinds of policies to apply.

more than 5 years ago

Circuit City Returns Under Systemax

richmaine Re:what's the point? (134 comments)

Yep. I have long had a personal policy to never do business with Tiger Direct. It's such a long-standing policy that I've forgotten the details. Perhaps it is just my mind blocking out old unpleasant experiences. I recall establishing the policy, which is all I really need to remember. And now that I know, I know to extend that policy to Circuit City.

more than 5 years ago

Russia To Save Its ISS Modules

richmaine Re:No. (280 comments)

You really need a citation for the fact that NASA contracts most of its work out. I thought that was such common knowledge (including among people who worked there and knew - such as myself) as to not need citation. Not worth my time to ferret out more detailed citations, but two readily available numbers tell the story pretty well.

Total NASA workforce - about 18,000 (google "NASA workforce" size if you care to verify that; I did).

NASA annual budget - about $18 billion (google NASA budget will do).

If you can't do the arithmetic, let me do so for you. That's a million dollars per NASA employee. No, we aren't paid that well; pretty well, but not that well, :-) Pretty much all that money goes to contracts.

more than 5 years ago



richmaine richmaine writes  |  about 8 years ago

richmaine (128733) writes "We all know about how pretty much all the phone companies lie about rates by adding on a lot of extra charges in addition to the quoted rate. But those lies usually amount to "only" a factor of two or so. Apparently Verizon has a new way to lie by a factor of 100 by confusing cents and dollars. A recording that hilariously reveals a phone tech and supervisor who apparently don't know the difference either is here."


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