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1GB of Google Drive Storage Now Costs Only $0.02 Per Month

torkus Re:Now we have an answer to the 20TB backup questi (335 comments)

Yep...and how much does it cost if you add a backup solution and off-site replication?

Another $1200 NAS
Somewhere to put it
Maintenance and/or monitoring

Cheaper? Probably (for now). Cheaper enough to be worth if if you value your data? Not for me.

about a month ago

Bitcoin Exchange CEO Charlie Shrem Arrested On Money Laundering Charge

torkus Re:HSBC (330 comments)

No no no...as long as they strictly follow the "rules" they can do anything else that isn't specified without fear of recourse. There are some benefits to having a laundry list of stupid rules and regulations...you can easily play dumb about anything else. /sarcasm

about 3 months ago

Court Says Craigslist Sperm Donor Must Pay Child Support

torkus Re:Dont do anyone any favors (644 comments)

Who says that's a valid contract? The state (i.e. gov't aid) becomes a party to the contract once that woman goes to get aid for her/their child. They weren't involved in nor agreed to it. Granted if the mother(s) had lived up to their end and actually been able to support the child then none of this would have come up.

I don't agree with the outcome though and think this should be treated exactly like adoption.

about 3 months ago

MIT Develops Inexpensive Transparent Display Using Nanoparticles

torkus How it actually works... (87 comments)

...is as a projector screen that is only reflective at one very specific wavelength. It doesn't emit any light...there are no pixels...nothing about it changes what parts light up.

It's still quite novel...i'm not sure why they couldn't be more specific (or less misleading?) in describing it.

Keep in mind it's not totally transparent - see how the table looks yellow behind it? Add red and greed and you're going to reduce the incoming light further. They said it can be tuned...so could be changed to avoid any of the peaks in LED, CFL, and daylight. Will be interesting to see where this goes...but if they start painting cars and buildings with this it's going to do odd things to the incoming light.

about 3 months ago

T-Mobile Jumping Into the Check-Cashing Industry

torkus Re:Why do these exist (211 comments)

Check out some credit unions. I think mine required a $5 buy-in/minimum deposit or something silly like that. The only fee I've ever paid (10+ years) was for my mortgage application. The catch is they don't have 3 branches in every single town throughout the US...which doesn't matter if you're poor and don't travel or rarely need a teller (like me).

The banking industry of the 80's was a mess. The prime rate hit the highest ever of 21.5% and averaged around 15% for the decade (currently 3.25% for reference). It's no wonder they could pay a few % interest on accounts and still make plenty of money of loans without fees. Even at the lowest, the prime rate was 3x what it is today. Plus the deregulation of banking led to all kinds of nasty things. Most people forget how many banks failed in the early 80's and how many new ones popped up. The FDIC spent a ton of money (especially for the time) refunding deposits from failed banks.

Personally I'd rather a $8 fee than a 15% prime rate. Granted the poor are still taken advantage of and also wind up paying much higher interest rates...but that's a more complex socioeconomic issue. It's not just greedy banks.

A different issue though - the amount of background checking a bank does to open a simple check account. I declined and walked out a few years back when I realized what they were asking of me and asking me to sign - especially when they refused to let me have a copy of some of the paperwork I was told I had to sign.

about 3 months ago

HP Brings Back Windows 7 'By Popular Demand' As Buyers Shun Windows 8

torkus Re:not consumer OS's (513 comments)

NT 3.51 wasn't really meant to be a desktop OS. It was aligned with NT 3.51 server and skipped all bells and whistles from the desktop side. They also were competing with OS/2 Warp

NT 4 was a step forward - usable as a stable desktop with drivers to support peripherals but still aimed at administrators and developers who would eschew the bells and whistles for a more stable computer. Remember this was the time when a daily reboot was required for Win 9x

Win 2000 was the first real attempt at bringing PnP and other consumer-oriented technologies to the business OS. It had it's faults but overall definitely worked.

XP took that a step further and fully combined personal and consumer OS's.

Back in the NT and 2k days...I don't think many consumers paid retail prices for their OS. MS basically allowed piracy to get market penetration and made plenty of money from businesses and PC resellers since they had the default (essentially only) OS.

about 3 months ago

HP Brings Back Windows 7 'By Popular Demand' As Buyers Shun Windows 8

torkus Re:New MS business plan (513 comments)

Win 8 is totally fine once you make it into Win 7 either by uninstalling 8 or installing enough add-ons to hide it.

Seriously...MS screwed up by making such a drastic change to the UI that's been around for the better part of forever. While the under-the-hood changes did add quite a bit they could have left them under the hood and left the UI mostly intact. Tweak a few things to make them easier but...why start with a clean slate and recreate everything? Some things are so buried or just missing ... it's ridiculous. For home users it's not as drastic but business/enterprise? Do you know how difficult it is get get a secretary to click a different colored icon during an upgrade? Now you want one to learn Metro...I've watched people quit because of changes like that totally disrupting their work environment. Sad but true.

about 3 months ago

Building an Open Source Nest

torkus Re:So why didn't you do it first? (195 comments)

It's worth it for a few reasons...

- home automation has been struggling along...quirky, expensive, not quite there. Yet. Nest is one of the few that's made it without turning into x11 crap from china. People are far more likely to allow home.google.com to automate their house than xyzautomagic5567.ru

- metadata is valuable. Even if it's not perfect it's still far better than none for ... so many people. Look at google's cross-platform information usage. Google knows you're married, you google christian dating and 3 weeks later herpes medicine...the following week you get adds for divorce lawyers :) I'm exaggerating a bit but if google knows your home why not display adds for seamless around dinner time? If you set an away for 2 weeks...how about house monitoring / security services?

- The reputation of the company and the inventiveness of the execs has value too. Who else could make a THERMOSTAT cool? Seriously.

- one more way google (and everyone else) can laugh at scada exploits ... or /TinHatOn/ allow the gov't to take over our houses

- on a larger scale contracting with power companies for things like optional temp adjustment on high demand days in return for reduced charges (i.e. raise AC by 2 degrees when it's 105 out and in return your days power costs 20% less...and the power co avoids having to buy expensive power from out of state or go to brown-out conditions)

etc. etc. etc.

There are many reasons if you take a long term view. Looking at just the thing on the wall? Well they still managed to sell an audrino and temp sensor for $250. That's worth something :)

about 3 months ago

Incandescent Bulbs Get a Reprieve

torkus Re:Freakin' Riders. (767 comments)

Unless we can get perfect blackbody radiation in a ~25 sq inch package everything will be about sucking less.

Incandescent bulbs have their uses. They're dirt cheap. They're dirt cheap. They're 100% efficient if it's cold (wasted heat isn't wasted anymore) and negative efficient when it's hot. Also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easy-Bake_Oven

CFLs annoy the crap out of me. They frequently fail FAR ahead of their 'lifetime' due to the cheap e-ballast overheating. Got forbid you install them upside down. Still, they use much less power and probably are ahead on overall cost even with the early deaths I've seen time and time again. You can pick your color to some degree but the light is typically only a few specific frequencies.

LEDs have potential but the cheap ones hurt the market for the good ones. I've tried and tossed several cheap LED bulbs...then stayed in a hotel where I wanted to steal the ones they used because they were so good. Heat is still an issue as is spectrum depending on the bulb. Oddly enough many LED bulbs function like a CFL - a phosphor is stimulated which emits the light you see. Granted it's still an LED stimulating that phosphor :)

I think each bulb has certain uses and the market should have the deciding vote. Stop forcing decisions down everyone's throat...if it's a better choice then a bit of education will suffice.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How Can I Improve My Memory For Study?

torkus Re:Question (384 comments)

But there's a limit to the coddling ... or there should be.

If you were hiring an engineer and they told you...well I can only work on projects alone, in a darkened office, with a private fridge of xyz drink, during evenings...and if there's thunder and lightning I won't be able to come to work...you'd laugh and take the next candidate.

I'm tired of hearing about kids who "can't possible do XYZ and don't deserve to fail because of it" ... when thousands (or millions) of others did the same thing and got by. Sure, some struggled...but that's what builds character and develops a personality.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How Can I Improve My Memory For Study?

torkus Re:I know of four means (384 comments)

Don't improve the targeting of your focus.

Very much this. Adderall can be very useful or very distracting. It's only one piece of the puzzle though. Memory, focus, and target (or goal) are three very different things and depending on the situation one may be far more important than another.

Personally I think testing focuses FAR too much on outright memorization and far too little on conceptual knowledge/critical thinking. If I forget an obscure formula or definition...I look it up in 5 seconds. Being able to understand what you're doing with the formula is another level entirely.

about 3 months ago

US Customs Destroys Virtuoso's Flutes Because They Were "Agricultural Items"

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

I can't comment about your specific state but, tin hats aside, the police ARE expected to use some intelligence and make judgment calls.

Looking at NYPD who are notorious and noteworthy all the same. Part of the police test/interview they will ask something like "if you pulled your mother over for speeding what would you do/would you give her a ticket".

Yes is the wrong answer. You're *expected* to use your judgment and enforce laws to the best effect, not the strict letter. If giving mom a dirty look and asking her why she'd do something so silly while you're on duty would make her drive safer...that's far more useful than writing a ticket. Same reason cops look the other way over lots of stupid chickenshit stuff.

With that said I fully understand no one would write their mother a ticket because cops wink wink nudge nudge...but the underlying point stands.

about 4 months ago

What Would It Cost To Build a Windows Version of the Pricey New Mac Pro?

torkus Re:Support costs (804 comments)

Well that's the opposite of my anecdotal evidence. It likely has a lot to do with the environment you're supporting. Perhaps a comprehensive look at why you're getting so many BSODs?

The ~5000 computers my team is responsible for do need attention ... but a BSOD is extremely rare and typically the result of hardware failure. This despite having multiple agents for patching, security, monitoring, inventory, remote access, encryption, etc. installed on all the computer and a large portion of users having local admin.

Now...if we were still on XP and 5+ year old hardware I'm sure it would be a different story.

about 4 months ago

What Would It Cost To Build a Windows Version of the Pricey New Mac Pro?

torkus Re:Support costs (804 comments)

Presumptive, tangential conclusions...

Perhaps you're taking about consumer level support?

I've worked with MS Enterprise Support many times in my career...and they're nothing like Apple support. They aren't perfect but they WILL troubleshoot an issue until they can provide a resolution. I've gotten beta or custom-modified patches from them before. I've gotten engineers who will dig into multi-platform systems without the immediate finger-pointing or "stop using xyz product." Oh, and everything they're troubleshooting is on someone else's hardware. Let me know when Apple will do that.

On the consumer level, Apple's typical advice is 'you're doing it wrong' (yes, this meant to be funny, not trolling)


about 4 months ago

Surge In Online Orders Overwhelms UPS Christmas Deliveries

torkus Re:Understandable, but... (378 comments)

There are always going to be exception cases. So yes, there are *TWO* people with badly delayed packages. This out of how many millions of packages delivered in the 4 weeks leading up to christmas? Unfortunately the more extreme the example the more it's referred to...even when it's basically irrelevant.

Yes, UPS and FedEx messed up some deliveries. They're not some magic perfect wizard den ... but neither is any large scale enterprise. It sucks for those who missed packages but a large portion of those were shipped by vendors who knew there were delivery delays.

about 4 months ago

What Would It Cost To Build a Windows Version of the Pricey New Mac Pro?

torkus Re:Nuff said (804 comments)

Maybe not in a large business but in smaller ones? Sure to some degree.

But beyond that...you need a cutting edge workstation like this? Ok. In 12-18 months it's no longer cutting edge and your upgrade path is ... replacement. If your business is that profitable and hardware dependent you don't care...then you'd probably do much better getting some datacenter space and loading up a server or blade farm.

Having no upgrade path is less of a concern when you're talking about a 500-1000$ computer.

Still a nifty but this is definitely aimed at a small niche market.

about 4 months ago

What Would It Cost To Build a Windows Version of the Pricey New Mac Pro?

torkus Re:Support costs (804 comments)

Apple most certainly does NOT have leading support on the enterprise level. I know this from direct, personal experience. "That's how it's meant to work" and "We will probably fix that in the next release (date unknown)" are both considered perfectly acceptable answers by Apple Enterprise Support.

Oh...unless you're a 100% Apple shop and already have in-house Linux/Unix guru's who can do an end-run around the limitations in OSX.

Every other enterprise vendor has a roadmap and beta products/releases they share (at least under NDA) so related vendors can prepare their software/hardware. Apple releases the next OSX and major software vendors (PGP, Symantec, etc.) take months to release compatible software.

This isn't Apple bashing, just the state of things and it sucks. I actually like most of their hardware and OS implementation but some parts make want to pull my hair out...which is awkward since I have none.

about 4 months ago

Surge In Online Orders Overwhelms UPS Christmas Deliveries

torkus Re:oh fucking cry about it. (378 comments)

The problem is the vast majority of people sending things aren't interacting with UPS or FedEx other than selecting shipping speed through xyzshopping.com

They were told 'last day to order for xmas eve delivery is 11:59PM on Dec 23rd (or whatever) by the retailer.

Last second shopping? Go to a freaking store people. :)

about 4 months ago

Surge In Online Orders Overwhelms UPS Christmas Deliveries

torkus Re:Understandable, but... (378 comments)

So just to use your own point...if emergency rooms (i.e. critically necessary medical services largely funded by the gov't) can't provide capacity necessary for the exception-circumstance...how is it reasonable to expect FedEx or UPS to do even more? Getting a beanie boo before xmas isn't quite as important as pushing saline for a trauma victim with low BP. (though if you read the FB page for FedEx or UPS you might get the impression otherwise)

I think the vendors deserve much of the blame here if the delivery companies were communicating with them. Heck, if Amazon posted that orders are surging this year and deliveries may be delayed for last second orders...so order RIGHT NOW. just like they do with the silly (but effective) timer for when you can last order something to get it by X day.

What I find truly ironic - people are blaming FedEx and UPS for 'failing to plan ahead properly' when *they're* the ones ordering things at the very last second. UPS should include a small, complimentary mirror with each of these delayed packages when they're delivered.

about 4 months ago

Target Has Major Credit Card Breach

torkus Re:don't connect everything to the internet! (191 comments)

Retail and almost any large scale enterprise are going to have many things in common. At the end of the day it's large-scale, lowest-cost that affords security. Add in senior management having 'great ideas' or a vendor selling some 'amazing product' ... you get the idea. The store manager insists on using an XYZ tablet instead of his company issues 'portable desktop' so he gets an exclusion from half the security measures. And of course forgets the tablet almost every time he walks through the store...etc. etc. etc.

I've yet to work on a network that I couldn't bypass security or had an available means to do so. In some cases it's utterly trivial, others it takes some limited insider knowledge and a techie background.

Most managers and 'important people' assume security doesn't apply to them and that getting their job done is WAY more important. IT and InfoSec people can be the worst in that group from personal experience.

about 4 months ago


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