* Posts by benzaholic

37 publicly visible posts • joined 15 Dec 2008

Cybercrim who fleeced students faces scramble to repay stolen cash


Re: Punctuation!

My opinion is that the headline makes perfect sense with no punctuation, and I'm a bit of a comma fan.

If it included an apostrophe after students, THEN we would be discussing the students' faces. Without that apostrophe, the word students is used simply as a plural, not as a singular or plural possessive.

Rand Paul is trying to murder net neutrality. Is there a US presidential election, or something?


"Mean old government won't let us screw the system"

The internet needed fewer regulations until some folks came up with ways to abuse the system. Now they have ruined it for everybody, and we have to put more rules in place to make sure they play fair.

That's how I see it.

Microsoft advertises Surface, Excel with maths mistake


Re: Calculators?

No, no, no. You're doing it all wrong.

When doing subtraction without calculator or notes, you work up from the bottom, but for addition, you should work down from the top.

It makes a substantial difference in the outcome, dontchaknow.

Google burns promise of 'no big banner ads'. Don't Be Evil next?


Where to turn next?

So who are the current crop of folks that let you search but obscure that kind of carp? Sounds like it is fast approaching time to use a different search provider, even if it's one who just scrapes Google results but leaves out ads and identifying info.

Adobe buckles, cuts prices ahead of Australian inquiry

Paris Hilton

No VAT or GST in the Land of the Free

<quote>To be fair, Vulture South is not aware of what taxes are included in the US price, while the Australian price includes $197.46 in goods and services tax (GST). However, the US bundle (including Web Premium) is slightly different to the Australian offering.</quote>

Advertised prices in the US generally do not include any taxes.

If the seller has a (vaguely defined) retail presence in the US state of the buyer, then the seller must collect sales tax at the buyer's local rate. Here in my part of central Texas, that is 8.25 per cent. (No state income tax here, just the Federal one, so Texas government entities raise much of their funding through sales taxes.)

Paris cuz she'd probably like a free VAT of GST.

First eyes EVER SEEN (by definition) appeared 700 million years ago


Re: This Study Is Biased

Uh Oh. Now you've gone and done it.

You have presented a plausible development path over millions of years.

It's even testable, at least as simply as we would expect to see increasing complexity over time if this were correct, while finding dramatically decreasing complexity across the fossil record would strongly suggest that this theory is incorrect. Gee. Science.

It all starts from that ability to feel the difference between sunshine and shadow. Given how much more visible a creature in sunshine is likely to be than a creature in the shadow, it would make sense that those creatures who were less effective at distinguishing between the two WOULD GET EATEN AND NOT REPRODUCE.


Re: But but...


The scientists "guesses" get promoted when they become useful tools to describe and predict things. If those guesses are unsuccessful at describing and predicting, they get thrown out or overthrown by "guesses" that do a better job. That is the scientific method. Why does it scare people?

Kids wouldn't have bias, but kids also would not have enough information and context to accurately weigh the position of each side of the argument.

Still, are you suggesting that we present two options to otherwise uninformed kids:

1 - over billions of years, ruled by these forces between particles and energies, we have all this.

2 - A few thousand years ago, some untestable omnipotent thing got bored and Poofed everything into existence, including elaborate fossil histories. Just trust us. Don't question it. Want some candy?

Did you ever see your great great great grandparents? If not, do you therefore think that they did not exist?

Why are so many people afraid or unable to think?

Russian rocket fails to orbit 2 satellites after booster bungle



Less than 24 hours after NASA's successful landing of Curiosity.

That's just all kinds of Ouch for the Russian space industry. At least for the unmanned side.

We'll ignore the manned side for just now.

Mine's the one with the old touristy Johnson Space Center stuff in the pocket.

Russian cargoship fluffs Space Station docking test


So much traffic

Dragon capsule, Progress that wants to come back for more, Japanese unit,...

Sounds like it's getting busy up there.

And Dragon was not even capable of attempting an automated docking yet. It had to be grabbed by the Canadarm. Russia had automated docking years and years ago. I don't think NASA ever had automated docking capabilities.

They may be doing it with old parts and old technology, but the Russians do have some spacefaring tricks of their own.

Beer because it's National Tequila Day in the USA, and that's the closest available icon. Salud!

RIM boss denies cratering Canucks are in 'a death spiral'


Tough spot

It's not like we really expected him to be quoted saying something like

Holy Frijoles! We sat on our arses while the market moved beyond crackberries, and we didn't really seem to plan for this. What was that minimum bonus level in my contract?

But it would be more convincing if he could add something other than

The next version of our OS will fix everything and make everybody love us again and buy our kit.

Powering your iPad costs $1.36 per year


comparing to a 60W CFL?

I'm not sure I've even seen a 60 Watt compact fluorescent light.

The ones I use that put out about as much light as 60W incandescents are rated at something like 13 or 17 Watts.

Human 4G masts assemble roaming hobonet for pennies


Short term job opportunities?

How much of the money is going to those who so bravely risk their organs to host the 4G stuff?

If those who participate are making extra money, could this be considered simply putting up the capital to empower the homeless to make opportunistic income? (We won't need all those extra hotspots once these crazy SXSWers leave our lovely town.)

Why I'd pay Apple more to give iPad factory workers a break


Apple is so sweet and kind.

Companies outsource in part so they can ignore how costs are reduced through working conditions. The very same mentality that allowed for prison labor. "I don't care how you do it, just meet the target output numbers."

Apple may be doing more than they are legally obliged to do, but that doesn't avoid moral obligations and avoiding responsibility by outsourcing or subcontracting.

Unfortunately, the dominant world financial systems don't quantify these extra costs, and the dominant legal systems allow responsibility to be passed off to someone else, anyone else.

Big Brother

How much more?

This topic has been in the news lately, but I don't recall seeing any kind of informed opinion or well educated estimate of how much the price of an iDevice would increase if assembly were moved to the US.

That still leaves the component manufacturing happening overseas for Apple to address later, but would assembling iPads in the US add twenty dollars or two hundred dollars?

US 'space warplane' may be spying on Chinese spacelab


"something else," huh?

I like that "something else" theory.

It also provides for the least animosity between China and the US. We're simply both curious about a shared experience.

Then again, with FatsBrannigan's comment, maybe we're trying to see if the aliens prefer Sweet and Sour Chicken or a Big Mac.

Japan launches, orbits radar spy satellite


The booster is similar to ones used to service the ISS?

Did Japan license the design from the US or Russia, or perhaps ESA? Because those are the only ones I know of that have serviced the ISS. Weren't the Japanese modules carried up in the US Shuttle?

Oh, and congrats to JAXA for adding one in the Win column. They could use a few more.

Neutrinos still FASTER THAN LIGHT in second test


Let me explain the concept of Science to you...

Like most serious science, Einstein's theories and formulae have earned great respect because they have proven to be tremendously useful and accurate in modeling a great number of experiments and observations. That's real science, kids. It attempts to describe how things happen and allows you to predict the outcome of experiments. As more and more experiments and measurements turn out to give exactly the results predicted by the theory, the theory gains credibility. Consider as an example the theories and formulas that allow boffins to predict when the moon will be full, or when So-and-So's comet will pass the earth.

If this neutrino mess proves that some part of relativity theory is incorrect by producing verified results that are inconsistent with the predicted or expected results, then somebody needs to come up with new theories or formulas that match the success of all other aspects of relativity, but also accurately describe this neutrino observation. That will be tricky, but it will be exciting for fans of real science.

Microsoft gives Phone 7 Mango jailbreak its blessing

Black Helicopters

Like DOS and early Windows versions

Microsoft will soften their stance to court developers, since it is now pretty well recognized that without the apps, you won't succeed. (No guarantee that having the apps ensures success, but not having them pretty well ensures failure.)

Once they have gained enough attention from developers, how might they change their position?

Reminds me of how Microsoft seemed unconcerned with piracy of DOS and of early Windows and Office versions, which allowed them to gain commanding market share, which allowed them to play monopoly games with things like browsers and media players.

Acer to murder Gateway brand


Farewell Gateway

I remember Gateway from their old multipage spreads in Computer Shopper in the early 486 days.

I can't understand the attempt to position the brand as infrastructure, but I'm sad to see it go away.

Americans to get five-year wireless tax freeze

Black Helicopters

On behalf of the customers? Yeah, right.

"On behalf of the 300 million wireless customers in the US, CTIA applauds the Wireless Tax Fairness Act’s lead sponsors"


"Now we can add a million more nickel and dime fees without the 300 million customers noticing and complaining as quickly."

Post-pub nosh deathmatch: Kapsalon v quesadillas


You want powerful late night quesadillas, you need TexMex

Our bastardized Texas versions of Mexican food include lots of quesadillas.

Mozzarella is the wrong cheese. Cheddar and Monterrey Jack, please.

MEAT, MEAT, MEAT. Chicken, steak, grilled shrimp, crawdads, roasted pork, chorizo, anything will do. For the vegetarians (as we say, a Native American word for Bad Hunter), use good mushrooms maybe. Add some kind of mild-to-moderately spicy peppers like poblanos or just green chiles.

Use flour tortillas instead of those silly little corn ones.

And as others have mentioned, serve with sides of sour cream, pico de gallo/salsa, and guacamole.

The one thing your crew got right was slicing it like a pizza. That gives you points to use when dipping into the sides, which should obviously be served in little plastic containers that are otherwise too small to dip large things into.

But that kapsalon stuff sounds worth a try. You kids do some crazy things with chips.

Russian Progress space truck crashes in Siberia

Black Helicopters

exactly as someone planned

Is it a coincidence that this happens so close to press articles about US-based third party space transport companies testing their wares?

I think not.

UK Cops 'duped' into arresting wrong LulzSec suspect


raising enough questions to block any conviction?

Don't know the standards and practices of law on your side of the pond, but could they create enough reasonable doubt around the identification that nobody can be convicted?

Ex-Google engineer dubs Goofrastructure 'truly obsolete'


they wouldn't let me do what I wanted

God, what a whiner (whinger for you Brits?).

Imagine. Extremely large installations of software, currently in a state where behavior is very well known, and he moans about them not updating quickly enough or often enough to entirely new architectures and technologies?

Oh. Horror of horrors.

RAF Eurofighter Typhoons 'beaten by Pakistani F-16s'


American F-16 kicks butt!

That's my completely unbiased take on this article.

The stodgy old F-16, designed in the good old US of A, is still Barney Super Bad A$$ of the skies.

America! F*** Yeah!

Texas cinema texter becomes foul-mouthed movie star


Alamo Drafthouse is one of Austin's charms

The people that run the Alamo Drafthouse, at least here in Austin, really, really love movies.

They serve decent food, sometimes excellent, have a strong selection of beers, don't show you 20 minutes of oversized TV commercials before each movie, instead digging up things like Japanese pseudo-BatMan TV shows to show before a BatMan movie, for example.

They always show fairly aggressive PSAs about leaving your phone alone, and obviously, they mean it. Nice to see them getting international acclaim for this one.

Microsoft: IE9 not yet 'broadly' available


FF users actively choose to update

This is where MS gets to play stupid numbers games.

Sure, they may have more installed copies of IE9 than of FF4 after Windows update, but how many of those IE9 installs will have been consciously chosen, and how many of _those_ will have taken it just to shut Windows Update up, but not intend to actually use IE9?

Granted, FF will certainly have some popups to try to get existing users to upgrade, but that's probably not as compelling as how MS sli-i-ides things like this into "critical" automatic updates.

Fukushima situation as of Wednesday


Fair and Balanced?

Lewis has a clear slant toward a particular side of the issue, but when read with reasonable intelligence and skepticism it provides some balance. I haven't heard or read any other descriptions of the types of radioactive elements emitted at certain points or their half lives.

At least he provides a fairly current summary of the conditions at the facilities, which TEPCO seems less willing to provide in a timely manner. Separating that information from his Don't Panic opinions isn't that hard to do.

NASA's Glory climate-data sat crashes into Pacific on launch

Black Helicopters

"They" don't want us to know

Loss of a second attempt to "accurately measure and assess" global warming contributors?

Well played. Launch a couple of stacks of bricks, claim technical failures, and you get to say you were trying to do something positive.

Absolutely black helicopter territory.

LOST Vulture One PARIS spaceplane FOUND!!!



Maybe you Brits ain't so bad after all.

Nice bit of work, y'all.

Iran unveils 'robot bomber'


If Iran really wants nuclear weapons...

Some days, some nasty part in the deep recesses of my mind thinks maybe we should give Iran nuclear weapons. Lots of them. Shot from our planes and ships. Show them that whole, "Be careful what you wish for" thing.

Hey, Iraq 1 gave us a way to clear out a bunch of old conventional weapons and dust off the B-52s.

We probably have a bunch of old nukes that are approaching their expiry date...

And No, of course I'm not serious. Nasty little deep recesses of my mind and all that.

IBM closer to chips with frickin' laser beams


I just love..

any article that appropriately includes "frickin laser beams"!

Superconductor forcefield to shield re-entering spacecraft?


The REAL fun arrives...

... when they start manipulating the generated magnetic fields as a means of controlling the direction of the reentry craft.

Flames cuz that's obviously what the plasma looks like to outside observers.

DARPA seeks orbital wheely-bin plan


Well, we THOUGHT it was just debris

Who knew it was a freshly-launched Chinese spy satellite?

It looked like debris to our autonomous sweeper.


Microsoft takes hard line on Win 7 hardware

Gates Horns

Ahh, the Good Old Days

Windows ain't done 'till Lotus won't run!

How do we update that little ditty without losing the compact charm?

Gmail offers 'undo' email option


Should have been 13 seconds

see: Omega 13 device from Galaxy Quest

Apologies after teacher's 'Linux holding back kids' claim


This is Texas, after all

We are one of the states in which the elected State Board of Education continues to argue over inclusion of Intelligent Design in the Science curriculum.

I love it here (as they say, I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could), but we do still have the occasional intelligence problem.

Mine's the one with the wear marks in front from the satellite-dish belt buckle.