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Comment Re:And how much will the EU (Score 1) 866

It depends on the kind of benefits you receive. Survivor's benefits for disabled dependents of disabled, then deceased parents, (or of people with a deceased spouse collecting disability at the time) can be much lower. Mine are $800 per month, plus Medicare premiums.

As a condition, I am allowed to earn $900 per month for (I believe) 9 (or 12?) of any 18 (or 24?) month period within a sliding window, but if I earn any more than that for 10/13 months months, I lose everything. No medical, no insurance.

My benefits are under my deceased father's Social Security number, which means they're what he earned during his lifetime and have just been passed on to me. Re-applying if I lose my job after giving up my benefits means qualifying on my own disability from a starting point of zero, and could take several years if successful at all.

As the system works today, I can do a little consulting and pull in just enough to have to file taxes every year, owing a few hundred dollars on tax day due to being paid via 1099. This would be utterly unsustainable, if I were single and living alone. Under a Universal Basic Income system, or at the very least, a reformed/streamlined and more forgiving model that allowed me to keep my medical insurance through Medicare no matter what, I would feel the freedom to try and work more, work harder, and start my own full-scale consulting business. But I can't take that risk now, because it's just too damn high.

Data Storage

Samsung Unveils V-NAND High Performance SSDs, Fast NVMe Card At 5.5GB Per Second 61

MojoKid writes: Sometimes it's the enterprise sector that gets dibs on the coolest technology, and so it goes with a trio of TCO-optimized, high-performance solid state drives from Samsung that were just announced, all three of which are based on three-dimensional (3D) Vertical NAND (V-NAND) flash memory technology. The fastest of bunch can read data at up to 5,500 megabytes per second. That's the rated sequential read speed of Samsung's PM1725, a half-height, half-length (HHHL) PCIe card-type NVMe SSD. Other rated specs include a random read speed of up to 1,000,000 IOPS, random write performance of up to 120,000 IOPS, and sequential writes topping out at 1,800MB/s. The PM1725 comes in just two beastly storage capacities, 3.2TB and 6.4TB, the latter of which is rated to handle five drive writes per day (32TB) for five years. Samsung also introduced two other 3D V-NAND products, the PM1633 and PM953. The PM1633 is a 2.5-inch 12Gb/s SAS SSD that will be offered in 480GB, 960GB, 1.92TB, and 3.84TB capacities. As for the PM953, it's an update to the SM951 and is available in M.2 and 2.5-inch form factors at capacities up to 1.92TB.

Comment Re: Just (Score 1) 163

I'm not a kid by any stretch, but Rock Band did let me live the rock star lifestyle in a small way. Toward the end of the craze, a local radio station had a contest up at Lake Tahoe where the brand prize was $400 worth of bottle service at one of the fancier nightclubs at Harveys casino. My boyfriend and I went up on stage with two random guys we met that night to fill out the band and won with a rendition of Aqualung. A couple weeks later the four of us went up there and got absolutely blasted. Just like rock stars!

Comment Re: Now they just need intensity from the actors. (Score 3, Interesting) 165

Destroyed. At the end of every season, the CG models for Babylon 5 assets were deleted according to contract requirements with the Prime Time Entertainment Network who distributed the show. Probably as an asset reduction thing for financial BS in the era of protoCG-era production.

Comment Re:A smart phone is rarely convenient (Score 4, Informative) 248

I think the missing key in current smart home options that most people can actually afford to purchase, is reliable voice control. I know Google's acquisition of Nest (and whatever Apple gets around to doing) will make a big difference here, but I can already say that I'd be a lot happier with my "smart" lighting if I had:

A: More money for more components such as light switches and socket replacements.
B: Voice controls that were as responsive and reasonably reliable as the Amazon Echo, which gets it right a surprisingly large amount of the time.

Comment Do they work? Usually, but the writer got it right (Score 2) 248

Last year, I picked up a Wink Hub and four "TCP Connected" brand (which is a horrible name for obvious reasons) daylight LED bulbs to see how dipping my toes into home automation would work out, and it really has been a seriously mixed result just like the author of the the original article says. I'm using a very simple setup, two lights in my home office, and one light in the rear of the living room. The only "smart" part I have set up, is a group to let me control the office lights all at once.

And it's really not all that stable. The TCP Connected bulbs actually require the use of a home gateway and online service to control, and Wink ties into that. When that service is glitchy, things will either work or not work. There's no apparent reliable activity confirmation set up in the protocols from what I can tell, so the software never knows if a device is on or off. A fairly simple schedule I have set up dims my lights for a period before bed, and then turns them off later. This usually works, but not always. It's also supposed to turn them back on, and it doesn't appear to do that about half the time.

Is the problem the TCP bulb integration? Is it Wink? Is it the signal in my house? Is it a bug? There's no way to tell for sure, and systems just aren't bulletproof enough to rely on just yet. But is it a nice step? Absolutely.

The big thing I feel that I should do in my personal case though, is replace the light switches so I don't always have to pull out a smartphone or tablet. Is it a pain to do that? Yes and no. It's more of a pain than it should be for something advertised as super simple, because of the article's mentioned process of unlocking a device, loading app, swiping to control you need, and then hitting said control.

The prices can definitely be appealing, but once you realize that a light switch is going to be $50, it adds up.

Comment Re:The culture of responsibility switches. (Score 5, Insightful) 262

This isn't a testing fault. I'm sure they tested the hell out of it. Dozens if not hundreds of QA people sat in cubes for months, maybe years, testing bits of this game as it got produced. And I'm sure that many of them wrote up really detailed, well reasoned explanations of just how broken it was in every single way that people are counting today.

And nobody cared because the game had to launch before the holiday season of 2014, Thousands of jobs and millions upon millions of dollars were at stake.

It isn't that nobody tested, it's that nobody really cared.

Comment Re:If at first you don't succeed... (Score 1) 262

That is pretty much the only resource people have. And it won't work until lots of people try and do it, loudly, repeatedly, but politely. The fact that Ubisoft is already making excuses actually makes it seem like people might have a better case this time than in most, because it's not just going into a cone of silence.

Comment Re:that's funny (Score 2) 262

It's a case where the developers looked at the raw numbers for the system that was coming, and said "Wow! We're going to have almost three times the cores, sixteen times the RAM and so much GPU!" and then went on ahead and jacked the engine demands up to a level that probably shouldn't have been reached until a few more years into the life cycle for the platform. It took years and years for the Xbox 360 and PS3 to be understood well enough to be able to create things like the GTAV engine, and possibly in part because of the switch to essentially PC hardware they now find themselves having to work with the hardware that was until recently considered second-tier to console hardware in general, but then in addition, they used AMD parts that have always been second-tier in the PC market.

This really should not have been that bad. They're overreaching, and that's basically the fundamental problem. Wait a few years, and games that try and pull off what Unity does will be successful and well optimized, but right now they're still working out just what's capable. It's just too bad for the customers that get screwed while inadvertently helping Ubisoft and other developers learn just how this hardware can be put to use.

Comment Re:If at first you don't succeed... (Score 5, Interesting) 262

This is a side effect of what happens when game franchises become more profitable than movie franchises. Once the flow of money starts on a game with a budget in the tens of millions like the Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed, or Grand Theft Auto franchises to name just a few - there comes a point of no return where you finish what you started, because you've sunk millions upon millions into something that just turned out *wrong*, like this. Just like Warner Brothers couldn't put the Green Lantern movie on hold and rewrite it to not suck, Ubisoft backed themselves into a corner.

Nobody had the balls or the power to say "Wait a minute, we're overreaching. Let's scale this back to something that will actually run." Instead, they launch a buggy, bad game because they're into just the marketing campaign for tens of millions of dollars. It's so much worse for consumers than a flop of a movie, because you're spending $60+ on the cost of entry, and when the reviewers are embargoed there's just no way to tell if you're going to get screwed. Thank the big budget productions and stock market demands for this kind of disaster.

Every time I see something like this, or a botched Call of Duty release, I get a *little* less annoyed with Valve for not saying a word about Half-Life 3/Ep. 3. They're private. They can take the time without investors freaking out.

Comment Re:Ok, even giving them the benefit of the doubt (Score 5, Insightful) 262

Let's also take into account that Ubisoft had to know something was up, because the pre-release copies they gave game reviewers came with an embargo that lasted 17 hours into the release date. I'm not surprised at all to see this, though I'm admittedly surprised it's quite as large a problem as it is. When they announced the system requirements, I winced. I know that the horsepower demand for a game engine designed for a modern console is finally going to be a lot more demanding than last year's titles, but a GTX 680 as minimum specification? Someone screwed up engine design, plain and simple.

Comment Re:That ship has already sailed. (Score 4, Interesting) 113

As of last night, I actually have a license from IBM to run V5R2 on an older AS/400 system I purchased through Craigslist. I prodded the giant, it woke up just a little tiny bit and managed to decide that giving a hobbyist a license for an obsolete version of the OS/400 platform wasn't going to kill anyone.

It's my hope that I'll be able to help prove that there are more people like me, and indeed, far more talented and curious than me, to show IBM that there's some value to be had for them in opening up access to at least older platforms to enthusiastic hobbyists. The AS/400 platform is an incredibly neat system, and it shows that IBM really does have a niche that nobody else can touch. I've never used AIX, but would love to check that out as well. I hope that some time in the future, I'm not a one-off case when it comes to hobbyists getting an actual license.

But your comment was well timed for me, because I wonder if IBM might be coming around as an institution and realizing that the mindshare gap they have is a problem that it's worth investing a little bit of time and effort in fixing.

Gah, I really wish this article had come up after I had been awake for a while at least. Time for coffee and letting the page refresh in case I can organize my thoughts just a little tiny bit more coherently.

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