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Rooftop Solar Could Reach Price Parity In the US By 2016

zarthrag Re:don't tax alternative energy and transportation (492 comments)

There is a monumental, staggering level of myopia in those who propose and enact measures like these.

Welcome to Oklahoma. We just got one of those laws passed, quite easily.

A net-zero bill just isn't going to sit well here - can't have the rabble hurting profits with their "green" technology. To really take advantage of solar here, you have to change your stated goal to independence from the grid. That's going to mean having smarter appliances that can be told "do this load of laundry during the middle of the day, crank up the electric water-heater to 11, and, if there's any extra power - turn on the stereo just to make a point. Just don't give PSO/AEP free power.

2 days ago
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Ubisoft Points Finger At AMD For Assassin's Creed Unity Poor Performance

zarthrag Re:If at first you don't succeed... (262 comments)

If you buy with a credit card (which you are if you're using steam), you can call your credit card company and get them to issue a charge back.

If you try this, there's a 99% chance that you'll lose your steam/origin/ubi account, and everything in it. Companies are vindictive like that.

about a week ago
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Black IT Pros On (Lack Of) Racial Diversity In Tech

zarthrag Re:Same here (458 comments)

(Kinda wish you weren't AC, but I'll answer anyway.)

I think there's a little truth in both views. There were a lot of [black] people and businesses in Tulsa that used to be quite well-off prior to The Tulsa Race Riot which did more damage in two days than Jim Crow ever could. Those areas are pretty much welfare neighborhoods now, rife with payday-loans and people dependent upon the government (Which I consider to be the final nail in the coffin.) What was lost (or stolen, depending on whom you ask) cannot be valued, and the effects on later generations isn't limited to that community - it takes away from everyone. Education is nil, as one more likely to end up with a criminal record than a degree (Oklahoma blacks and hispanics have a 64% graduation rate.) And state policy ensures those effects are still heading in the wrong direction.

As for families, yes - [modern] black culture glorifies all of the wrong things which tends to lead to lots of children without [responsible] fathers. But it's inaccurate to say that's the norm everywhere. IMO, poverty and marriage simply don't mix. Two working parents can break the poverty-line, but then (in today's economic/political climate) you'll have staganation. Making too much money to qualify for (genuinely needed) help, while not making enough to make ends meet can easily destroy any family. Of the ones that stay together - Many of their children do quite well in school, and do graduate. But cannot possibly afford college. And, without stable households capable of acquiring even modest wealth, even student loans for some *really*good*kids* are totally out-of-the-question. Ensuring yet another generation of lightly-educated people, with no access to education, mentorship, or even a trade. ...and all of the limitations thereof. (For that reason, I'm actually against the idea that "college is the solution to all problems" that has been ingrained into the minds of all black parents. You can work in many fields, including IT, without a degree. It's debt-free, and if you work hard at what you do, it's upwardly mobile. More-so if you have the aptitude.)

I don't buy into the "victim mentality" at all. I determine my own future. But I'm not alone or ashamed in the fact that I, my parents, grandparents, have to overcome significant obstacles to establish *somewhat* equal footing *starting* with my generation. Most Americans [black, white, whatever] don't seem to understand that the real damage from overt racism isn't "he's [not us], so I won't hire him or serve him food", it was "those [not us] people should never acquire education & wealth, lest they become a threat" which resulted in many calculated (and often violent) actions taken with the intent to deny wealth. Combine that history with welfare and you have a never ending cycle of: ...Poverty - the gift that keeps on giving.

about two weeks ago
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Black IT Pros On (Lack Of) Racial Diversity In Tech

zarthrag Re:West Coast demographics (458 comments)

No, the midwest. Oklahoma - to be specific. I think, with the exception of the south, the population in most cities are similar - though my own neighborhood is about as far as it gets from being segregated in any way.

about two weeks ago
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Black IT Pros On (Lack Of) Racial Diversity In Tech

zarthrag Re:Same here (458 comments)

This.

about two weeks ago
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Black IT Pros On (Lack Of) Racial Diversity In Tech

zarthrag Same here (458 comments)

It's sad, but we're rare birds. It's not the fault of any one thing. Culturally, families DO encourage it, however, there are few mentors. I just lucked out and had a dad who was a real dad worthy of mentorship, in engineering. It's rare because of.... I'll leave it at "forces of history" (internal, and external, both).

The stereotypes can be hard to shake, though. Being taken seriously can be an obstacle. It's a different experience, I'm sure. The only way to break the cycle (IMO) is to get out there and try to teach/mentor/train (which is an entirely different can of worms.)

about two weeks ago
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Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

zarthrag Re:This is silly (720 comments)

I cannot agree more. States should be going after companies like Walmart to make them pay for any public-assistance their employees qualify for, plus a premium. (They do similar things to individuals, "corporations are people, too" ...remember?) The problem would fix itself.

If your wages from a full-time job don't allow someone who works for you to earn enough of a living to not have to work, you had better not be turning a "profit", much less paying it out to investors...

The whole "flipping burgers isn't supposed to support a family" isn't a valid argument. McDonald's posted 5.5 BILLION in profit for 2012. They can pay their workers (well) above minimum wage.

about a month ago
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FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

zarthrag Re:Yes we're going to keep using FTDI chips (572 comments)

THIS.

Supply chains and procurement is already wild enough. Checking every part is not part of the deal. (Though, using authorized distributors is the first/best step. Stay away from Shenzhen if you can.) I've never been a huge FTDI fan, but this debacle has all but ensured that I never use their parts in a design. Accidentally acquiring clones could result in a support nightmare that really didn't have to happen.

Besides, this move doesn't punish the clone makers at all. Just end-users. They could have put up a pop-up window or notice. But bricking... that would have me calling up the lawyers. If they feel it's okay to destroy product (especially if those clone chips weren't purchased knowingly). That's more than ill-will:

That's liability.

about a month ago
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Simple Hack Enables VR Mode For Oculus Rift In Alien: Isolation

zarthrag Re:The point? (57 comments)

Tried it, had to down a nice tall glass of ginger-ale afterwards and go back to 2D - I consider myself exceptionally "VR hardned". But this game is the closest I've come to surrendering my stomach contents. (No real spoilers, here)

* I think it's a problem with the calibration routine, which doesn't cancel out any rotation in your head (if you're looking slightly up/down, to tilting your head to the side, even slightly. ...it becomes the new "level". Euurgh...
* Walk speed while on the first ship, walk speed is entirely too high. Your brain is damn-near expecting to feel whiplash. Double Euurgh...
* Framerate and controls are superb, but it's **straaaange** to from from a IRL 6'0" 210lb man to being a 5'4"ish scrawny woman who probably weighs a buck, soaking-wet.

Nevermind that this game is already hard/scary. Probably too much for a first "AAA" VR experience. The interface is an excellent implementation, though. But that calibration...

I thought the part where you're wearing the spacesuit on EVA was amazing, too. Was more comfortable than the game.

about a month and a half ago
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Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

zarthrag Re:Oh good (907 comments)

If you drive off the lot with a loan for a car that is fully depreciated already, and you paid an appropriate amount for the car, even without a down payment, the lender has a relatively small amount of risk.

That's the kicker, right there. These customers do not, nor will they ever, have $2500 for a down payment (If they did, they could buy a "real" car.) These places take vehicles with a bluebook value of $2000-$5000 and sell them for $10,000 or more with little to nothing "down", at the maximum interest rate the law will allow, and with an "as-is" warranty term.

It's usury, plain and simple. These snakes are just waiting for you to slip-up on a payment. Fees for being late are fair. But their goal is to simply repo the very moment you're late with a payment. Because, then, they can repo the car - sell it again (and again, until it can't be sold). Auction it. Then still leave you with a credit-report item for the difference.

A remote kill-switch (and probably GPS for recovery) only increases profits, I'm sure.

Believe it or not, but 95% of 'Merica isn't New York/Chicago/LA/Big-City. Here in Tulsa, there is no public transit to speak of. Unless you plan carefully where you live/work, it's quite difficult - maybe impossible - to live/work/eat without constant access to a car.

Profits over people. It's the American way.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is iOS 8 a Pig?

zarthrag Re:Alright smart guy (504 comments)

I've been tempted by the Lumia phones, I must say. I just haven't *seen* one out in the wild. My current android is a Sony Xperia M, which I *really* like - but isn't without issues. (I think the only thing holding me back is google voice, tbh)

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is iOS 8 a Pig?

zarthrag Re:Alright smart guy (504 comments)

Not picking a side. But it's kinda funny when you think about it:

* With an Apple device, you get regular updates to iOS, but your phone will continually become slower (planned obsolescence)

* With an Android device, the manufacturer outright abandons updating the phone the moment their next handset is on sale. (Samsung seems to be the worst about this, but, even Google has done it to stock Nexus phones.)

Pick your poison. Slow, or quick. ....then get ready for your next pill.

about 2 months ago
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Facebook's Auto-Play Videos Chew Up Expensive Data Plans

zarthrag Re:cnn is worse (108 comments)

Your solution is....extreme. Sometimes, I want to watch the video. Chome lets you set plug-in exceptions on a per-site basis, but it is buried away. (chrome://settings->Show advanced settings->Privacy->Content-settings->plugins->Manage Exceptions...)

just add [*.]cnn.com as an exception with "ask" as the new default. I imagine you could do the same to facebook. Now, instead of an autoplay video, you get a nice grey box that you can click, if YOU decide you want to watch the video.

about 2 months ago
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Ask David Saltzberg About Being The Big Bang Theory's Science Advisor

zarthrag Mod Parent Up (226 comments)

As a black "nerd", I'm only offended that you were marked as a troll - as I share your opinion of the show.

about 3 months ago
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Enthusiast Opts For $2200 Laser Eye Surgery To Enhance Oculus Rift Experience

zarthrag Re:Seriously? (109 comments)

I keep a few packs of disposable contacts around just for use with the Rift. Lasik is not a (practical/suggested) option for me - though I did get some (more) motivation to get evaluated because of VR.

I'm thinking there will soon be a cottage industry of corrective prescription eye-cups for VR, until you can simply enter your prescription into your avatar details :-D

about 3 months ago
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Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

zarthrag Re:Welders make 150k??? (367 comments)

There's probably some consideration to the *type* of welding and the conditions you must do it in. Tig Welding requires *considerably* more skill/experience/mastery than simple brazing and stick welding. There's the added bonus that if you do it wrong, you DIE. In which case, such welders can command a premium for their skills - as they should.

about 7 months ago
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Microsoft Confirms It Is Dropping Windows 8.1 Support

zarthrag Re:u wot m8 (575 comments)

Yo Dawg! I heard you like Windows 8.1...

...so I stopped updating Windows 8.1 so you'd update to Windows 8.1 so you can update Windows 8.1!

about 7 months ago
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Comcast PAC Gave Money To Every Senator Examining Time Warner Cable Merger

zarthrag Re:News? (133 comments)

Sigh....outlawing lobbying is like getting a 4yo to agree to abolishing cookie jars ... while his/her hand is in it. I don't see a solution to the problem at all. The USA is run by money to the point where it isn't proper to call it anything but an oligarchy.

about 7 months ago
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A Bid To Take 3D Printing Mainstream

zarthrag Re:clunky software? (143 comments)

And please don't respond "Oh, just use blender!" It's not a CAD tool if it doesn't have parametrics.

about 7 months ago

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