Re: If ever...
That's incorrect. Paying for a tax preparation service *IS* tax-deductible, whether you're a corporation or an individual.
33 posts • joined 5 Aug 2009
Modern designers make the assumption that everyone WANTS their data to be shared "for their own convenience", and so slurps it up without so much as a "by your leave".
I was chaperoning a group of 15-17-year old girls on a drive down to Los Angeles. One of them wanted to play music for the rest, so she connected her iPhone to the car's audio system. BOOM! It downloaded all of her contact information into the in-car system, without so much as a "by your leave". (I found out because when I tried to use the hands-free system it had contacts such as "Mom" and "Jenna" and I asked the girls, "OK, whose mom's # is xxx?")
Yes, of course I deleted all of her information. But the idea that, "If you connect your phone to this rental vehicle, it will automatically and WITHOUT YOUR EXPRESS PERMISSION extract all of your contacts into its own system" is appalling, to say the least...
Or, you could just teach people to, y'know, MUTE their lines when they're not speaking.
Sorry. Pet peeve of mine. In our immediate group we have two dogs, a cat, and a clutch of chickens, and typically at least one person who has construction going on in their area, NONE of which interfere with our meeting because we have the brains to hit mute when we're not talking.
Then we get into our larger group meetings with 20-30 people, and you get to listen to other people's phone conversations, typing, sirens, etc., in spite of repeated requests, "If you're not speaking, please mute your line."
And I ask my manager, "Why can't we just fire them all?"
After all, you can't fix stupid.
Yep. When my son's Windows 8 machine just couldn't wheeze its way through all the crapware that had accumulated, my son didn't even consider Windows 10; he had me give him a clean Linux install. And he's all of 11 years old.
"I don't want Windows 10. It spies on you!" was his reasoning.
He can only run around 70% of his games, but I've paid him back for the ones he lost, and he says it's a much, much better experience.
When Windows has managed to destroy its UI and its reputation so badly that even kids prefer Linux, Redmond has a serious problem...
I thought it was S.O.P. that employees of companies that offered sweepstakes, prizes, and so forth were ineligible to win such prizes, precisely to avoid such corruption.
What? The government forgot that clause?
Oh, WHAT a surprise! Color me astonished.
My friend dragged me to see this film, as he's an avid aficionado of terrible films. By about an hour in, my wife leaned over to me and said, in a slightly awed voice, "I think this may be the worst movie I've ever seen."
At the end, a group of teenagers in the back of the theater applauded. They were laughed down. (My wife thinks they were applauding because the movie was over.)
I even coined a new phrase for it. It was SOOO stupid and SOOO predictable I declared it, "Stupidictable".
Yeah, little more to add. Wooden acting. Unbelievably stupid and predictable plot. Characters so utterly stupid they can't predict the plot, which just makes you dislike them all the more.
But it's pretty, if you're not epileptic...
While I applaud Google for trying to do *something*, I find it depressing that they STILL don't comprehend the sheer apathy/willful ignorance of the average end user.
I had some friends whose computers were constantly being ravaged to the point of uselessness by viruses. I did the best I could to lock them down: G-Data antivirus, Firefox with NoScript and Flashblock, no IE, no Outlook, and instructions that I'd whitelisted every site they used, and they should NEVER click on e-mail links or open attachments.
Of course, they INSISTED that they HAD to be able to open EVERY attachment they received, because "It might be important", allow EVERY script NoScript tried to block, and run EVERY Flash animation that appeared on every page. No matter what the warning, they just clicked, "Allow" because they didn't want their internet to be "limited".
And then they got mad at me because their computer STILL got infected, in spite of all the protections.
If you allow users to bypass security, they will. Every. Single. Time. No matter how stupid the come-on.
Users are idiots.
You have to build a system that can stop THEM. Otherwise, there is no such thing as security. No matter what Google tries to do.
You want REAL security? Disallow the "Allow" button.
I have to disagree with, "but with half the users (largely the female half) involuntarily involved."
(a) Signed up for Facebook so everyone could see who they are
(b) Signed up for Foursquare so everyone could know where they are
(c) Updated their status when they went out
I am probably getting old and crotchety, but when someone whines, "I posted my name, picture, and location publicly on the web, and someone used that information to find me and talk to me. Waaaah!" I am a wee bit unsympathetic.
I have light blue eyes and, as a result, had the wonderful experience of going snowblind at 18, and being photophobic for the rest of my life. I can't go outside without sunglasses, even on cloudy days. I can't drive during sunlight hours unless I have sunglasses on, because my eyes tear up too much. Even walking down a street with light-colored sidewalks is painfully bright.
The notion of willingly giving up your melanin for cosmetic reasons baffles me.
Get some colored contacts and keep your eyes protected, for gosh' sakes! Being blue-eyed may look cute, but it sucks in the sun.
(Closest icon to being blind).
If you're patient, the "Land of the Free" is also the "Land of the Freeways". Since the searches, scanners, and no liquids restrictions were instigated, flying has become so painful that we've started driving the 1000 miles to visit my brothers every other year.
Pain in the rear? Yes!
But with the ridiculously cheap gas in the U.S. (that's 'petrol' to you furriners), even with a night in a hotel we just about break even monetarily with driving vs. flying, and we don't have to deal with the TSA, the airports, the lines, the security guards threatening our kids for having the audacity to be kids at an airport, etc.
But the notion that I'd rather drive 2000 miles round trip with kids in the car than fly says something about how painful flying has become.
There are additional interviews with passengers who were around him, plus a video taken by the passenger who was seated next to him.
- Yes, his pants were so low you could see his skin-tight black undies doing "show and tell" of his kibbles & bits. (Tighty blackies?)
- Yes, the first request for him to pull up his pants was made politely.
- However, his refusals were equally polite. First, he claimed that he couldn't pull up his pants because he had bags in both hands. Then, he said he'd do it once he sat down. They kept asking him to pull them up, and he kept *politely* refusing. The flight crew were the ones who got angrier and more strident because of his continued refusals.
So while I agree with most of the charges -- refusing to obey orders from flight staff, trespassing, etc., I'm dismayed that everyone's describing his reaction as "violent". Apparently, nothing in the video shows him doing anything violent, though he may have become more violent once they had him off the plane (and out of sight of the other passenger's video).
Finally, since it seems to be "Pick on John Dee" day, I'll simply point out: I was an 80's punker with a mohawk, leather jacket, steel-toed boots; the whole 9 yards. I was refused service at several restaurants. I did not make some huge squawk about how my rights were being violated and my fashion choices were no one else's business. I chose to dress outside the norm, and I accepted the consequences. If I wanted to dine out at a good restaurant, they accepted a simple black wool cap to cover up the mohawk. To dress outside the norm and then demand that all others bow down to your infinite wisdom is the height of selfishness and self-aggrandizement. Especially when all that they required was to pull up your pants. It's a heck of a lot harder to remove 20 pounds of leather and steel.
We recently got skimmed to the tune of $1300 from our bank card, and we assumed a similar scam; we figured my wife must have used a compromised ATM machine.
But no, the officer assured us, this guy (he got caught within a week of skimming us) had friends working at restaurants. In the U.S., when you're done eating, you hand your card to your server and they take it off to a centrally-located machine, so your card is out of your possession (and your sight) for several minutes. Apparently this guy had multiple accomplices who scanned the card twice: Once into his reader, and once into the real machine. He then created duplicate cards, and ran off and bought high-resale items (Kindles, smart phones, etc.). The only reason he didn't drain our bank account entirely was that he and my wife used the "same" card at the same time in stores that were over 60 miles apart. The only reason he got caught was because we reported it to the police the same day he was using the card, and they were able to use security footage from one of the stores to I.D. him. (Apparently he's been jailed in the past for the same crime. And yet he still gets caught...)
The point being, as long as it is dirt simple for people in the general public to create duplicate cards, getting skimmed at the ATM is the least of our worries. Why not go the way of Treasury departments and create cards that are truly difficult to make realistic copies of?
That's about the size of it.
I was an 80's punker in a small town, and couldn't walk 2 blocks at night without the local police pulling over to "have a chat": "Where are you going? What are you doing? What has its gots in its pocketses? Where are you going?" etc. (Yeah, "Where are you going?" always popped up at least 3-4 times during each conversation, just to see whether I'd slip up). One night I took my girlfriend to a nice restaurant, and as soon as I went to the bathroom, the owner rushed out to offer to call my girlfriend a cab so she could get away from me.
But occasionally I'd get dressed up for my girlfriend -- no leather, steel-toed boots, or metal where it didn't belong, and my hair down in a reasonable facsimile of "normal". And gee, not once, EVER, did I get questioned while dressed like a fine upstanding citizen. We went to the same restaurant, and the owner gushed over me and talked about how happy he was that my girlfriend had found such a nice, upstanding young man. (We got to know him over the years, and had a good laugh with him over that one).
Like it or not, the world over, people judge you on the way you dress and act. I was a punk because I wanted to raise hackles. But I knew I was bringing all the reactions on myself. It's simple: Don't want to be harassed, don't look like a thug.
Unfortunately, every time you post on the relative merits of various OSes, it turns into a flame war instead of a discussion.
Yes, Windows installs much faster, is much easier to configure, and is better for end users, virtually all of whom are used to at least some flavor of Windows.
But just yesterday afternoon, I had to spend two hours not at the beach, but uninstalling over a dozen toolbars, search tools, and desktop applications that were choking off my user's machine, all because he can't figure out that nowadays every updater (Adobe, Java, etc.) installs extra software to make a quick buck, and he can't be bothered to uncheck those little checkboxes.
Is it Microsoft's fault? No; it's the fault of the third-party vendors who are willing to throw their users to the wolves for an extra buck. Is it my end user's fault? Absolutely. But trying to change end user behavior has been proven to be a fool's errand, which is why we all love reading BoFH.
Does it cost me extra support time? Absolutely. The one guy who's still on Windows costs me more time than all 8 Linux machines combined. The 2-3 questions a month I get from Linux users can usually be answered with a quick 2-minute e-mail: "You need this package. Here are the instructions on how to install it." The Windows user always has to bring his machine to me, because his description of the problem is so nebulous I have to see it for myself to know what's going on.
So my original point was that, in my personal experience, Linux takes a lot longer to set up and configure, but if you're supporting someone else's machine, it'll save you support time in the long run.
And in relation to the original article, I should have known better than to flame bait, but I, like many readers of El Reg, get really tired of reading, "Security hole in Windows caused by unnecessarily lax default setting." All I'd like to see is Microsoft lock down its OS a bit better.
"It works only against machines that have the Local Intranet Zone enabled, as is the default for domain-joined workstations."
I do IT as a hobby, not a job, so I only support 9 machines and roughly a dozen users, but the constant mantra of, "This is what Windows does by default. It compromises your security," has made me start installing Ubuntu or Kubuntu on any machine where someone expects my help. To my utter amazement, requests for my help have gone down. (Linux is great once you've configured it. But every time you want something new, you pretty much have to know your way around the command line). Either a fully-configured Linux box is more stable than Windows, or all my users have decided I'm a jerk and are going elsewhere for help. Either way, my life is easier!
I always give people the following comparison:
"Windows tries to do everything for you, usually does it wrong, and makes it hard to change the default settings."
"MacOS tries to do everything for you, usually does it right, but makes it near-impossible to change the default settings."
"Linux will do everything for you, and do it correctly, as long as you're willing to spend the 6-8 hours on the command line it takes to get the configuration settings and startup code done correctly."
I hope you're British to ask such a question. Americans are obsessed with, and dreadfully afraid of, sex or anything that can be remotely related to it. To the point of absolute, appalling, irrationality. If it can be interpreted in a sexual way, it will be. We are all Beavis and Butt-Head:
- People are objecting to the scanners not because they're being exposed to low levels of ionizing radiation on a regular basis, but because they might be seen in naked blurry unidentifiable pictures.
- People cannot conceive of a person of the opposite sex patting them down in a non-sexual manner.
- People worry about pat-downs of children because pedophiles might enjoy it, not because the children might be frightened and confused by such treatment.
My father had a great quote:
"Turn on the TV at any time of the day or night, switch through the channels, and you're guaranteed to find a man with a gun in his hand. Do the same thing, and you're guaranteed never to find a man with his dick in his hand. Now, consider, which is the healthier behavior?"
I am always amused by American horror movies: You can show a woman having a spike shoved through her eye or having her heart cut out and get just a "Restricted" rating (under 17 admitted with parent or guardian), but if you show an erect penis it's an immediate X/NC-17/whatever-they're-using-now.
Americans and sex. It's a wonder we manage to reproduce.
Er... San Quentin is in Marin county, just north of San Francisco. That's roughly 400 miles (640 km) north of Los Angeles.
I know, because I have to drive my kids past it every time they want to go to the Discovery Museum.
There's gotta be a joke in there somewhere, but I don't see it...
I've lived through an abundance of environmental "disasters":
- In the 1970's, we were going to run out of oil by the year 2000.
- In the 1980's, nuclear war was going to cause global winter, freezing us all to death.
- In the 1990's, a superbug (probably genetically modified) was going to cause a global pandemic, plus our growing population was going to starve us all to death by 2030.
- In the 2000's, we have global warming.
I'm really, really tired of environmentalists playing chicken little and trying to terrify the general public into doing what they say, whether or not what they say is accurate. (I happen to be an environmentalist, making it doubly embarrassing).
Why not a simple, "You know, the world would be a much nicer place if, over the next 20 years, we could try to drop the human population down to around 6 billion, and we could reduce all emissions by 10%"?
Yeah, I know the answer -- no one listens to reason. Everyone listens to panic. And capitalists hate anything that stifles growth ("It costs MONEY to reduce emissions!!!!"), while a wide assortment of folk (not just Catholics) oppose any notion of birth control.
But wouldn't it be nice to see someone propose an easily-achievable solution over a reasonable time frame, instead of idiotic "turn yourself carbon-neutral" kits?
Q: Why do I hate using Microsoft products?
(1) They try to do everything for me. From auto-running CDs to auto-launching applications to auto-formatting as I type, the default settings are, "You, the user, are an idiot. Let me do that for you." The OS seems bogged down and slow because every time I try to do anything, the OS tries to anticipate what I want and do it for me.
(2) The default actions are almost invariably wrong. On long drives, I let the kids watch DVDs in the back. I have nice DVD playing software with a simple interface my 6-year-old can use. Unfortunately, Microsoft decided that all DVDs must be launched by Windows Media Player, that the kids have all kinds of trouble running. Word autocorrects everything I type, and the corrections are invariably wrong -- I've been typing for 30+ years now, I know what I want to say, thanks. The list goes on and on and on, but I provide IT and hardware support for many friends, and much of my "support time" is taken up telling them that, "That's the default Windows behavior. You're going to have to change it. Here's how..."
(1) and (2) in and of themselves make many people dislike Windows. However, the list goes on:
(3) Changing the default behavior can be an extremely technical endeavor. How many users do you know who would be comfortable going into the Windows registry to disable autorun, or to turn off auto-launching of applications they don't use? One of my friends was considering buying a new laptop because his 2-year-old one was already extremely slow. I went into the registry and killed off a dozen autorun apps. Now his machine is "flying again" (his words). Virtually every single application you install puts startup code in the registry so that it'll look faster when the user runs it. This bogs down bootup time so seconds become minutes. And the average user on the street can't do anything about it, because Microsoft chose to make changing default settings and behavior extremely difficult.
(4) Microsoft Update re-applies the default settings. I disabled autorun, set my DVD software to be the default player, and made many, many other changes to the registry and configuration settings. A few months later, I ran Microsoft Update. Autorun is there again, Windows Media Player is the default DVD player, etc., etc., etc. How dare you overwrite my preferences and settings? Even Kubuntu (that assumes a much more tech-savvy audience) asks me before overwriting any configuration changes I've made. Microsoft just assumes the user is wrong, Microsoft knows best, and obliterates my settings.
(5) Windows is a resource hog. I can run the most recent Kubuntu on all of my machines. I can run the last MacOS that runs on PPC platforms (10.5.x) on my (approximately) 6-year-old mini-Mac. The latest XP security patch rendered Windows no longer viable on my oldest laptop (a Dell D600). Just this morning, I'm downloading Kubuntu 10.04 to put on my laptop so that it will run decently. I am not rich enough to replace all my hardware every time Microsoft puts out an update, yet that is exactly what Bill Gates suggested we do back when people were howling about how rapidly both Windows OSes and Office releases were growing (in both size and resource use).
I agree completely -- my nine-year-old comes out with better insults on a daily basis, and I think my six-year-old could come up with a longer, more incoherent rant.
The solution is obvious. Get a monkey. Get it drunk. Allow it to bang its head against the keyboard.
If the monkey's keyboard-headbanging ramblings are more abusive than any comments for the week, the monkey wins FoTW and gets a banana. If the monkey loses, electroshock it is.
I predict that within 6 weeks, the monkey would be winning FoTW every week...
Darn it! Where's the drunken monkey icon! C'mon, El Reg! We need icons that are pertinent to our real work!
Does anyone else find it fishy that the U.S. government has hired over half a million people to count less than half a billion?
So each census employee is responsible for counting under 1000 people. Gee, even going door-to-door, entering everything by hand and then typing it in, cross-referencing against a database, doing manual data cleansing, and performing re-checks, I figure I could do that at half an hour a head. 500 hours = 62.5 work days = 12.5 work weeks. And that's not considering that over half the population already sent in scannable responses, so it's more like 500 people I might need to count.
Being as generous as possible, I can't see hiring these people for more than 3 months. HOW long have they been employed already?
At my house in the "boonies", my DSL never exceeded half its advertised limits. I was also very suspicious of the quality of the drop. I moved to within a mile of a station, ran all my own CAT 6 from the street throughout the house, and suddenly get the full advertised speed.
The kicker? The two houses are only five miles (eight kilometres for you Easterners) apart.
So I have a great deal of sympathy for the DSL providers here -- it depends so heavily on location and line quality that it would be impossible for them to tell you what specific speed you'd get. Of course, in the U.S. we do get the 'your speed will vary' at the bottom of every advert.
As for cable, I have no sympathy. "You'll get 10 Mbps, as long as no one else on your block also uses it." I've never heard our cable company mention that little gem...
To be blunt:
- I run Firefox with FlashBlock and NoScript (on a Mac. Safari is crap. Sorry if that offends), and don't allow Flash to run, period
- I use Apple Preview instead of Adobe Reader to read my PDFs
- If I encounter a Web site that requires me to have Flash enabled (a refreshing few, fortunately), I send a polite e-mail to the vendor explaining that I will not be purchasing from them because I will not run Flash on the machine on which I do all my financial work
So not only is Adobe not gaining any money from me, they're putatively losing money as I refuse to use vendors that require their software. As time goes on and these security holes become more (in)famous, I suspect more and more users will refuse to install Flash, and Adobe will face serious competition.
So right now, only a few psychotic geeks like me refuse to run Flash. (Yeah, I ran 1000' of CAT 6 through the house instead of using wireless, too). As Adobe continues to ignore security, our numbers can only increase. At some point, Adobe will start losing serious money because of it.
Sorry, but if you use a word that's in the dictionary as your password, you deserve to have your phone cracked.
My password mechanism for secure sites:
- Open a text editor
- Drop a calculus book on the keyboard
- Change at least two of the characters to uppercase/alternate
I'd like to see a dictionary check break that!
My son weighs 45 pounds (20 kilos to you Easterners). An enraged SUV driver weighs in at around 230 (male or female). Not a conflict I'd like to bet on...
...on the other hand, my son's a darned fast runner, and my wife's getting her black belt this year, so maybe it would add to my entertainment. How many blokes are going to admit getting whooped by an enraged mom after almost running over her kid?
...and of course, how many SUV drivers could run the entire block to chase my son back to my house?
Before accusing video games, I'd focus more on, "How many kids are allowed to go out and play without adult supervision any more?"
Modern drivers are so intent on being distracted that sending out your child alone is like a death wish. I let my 8-year-old (yes, 8!) cross the street to the park for the first time a few weeks ago. He looked both ways, started across, and then was nearly clipped by a white SUV that ran a stop sign, apparently with the intent of teaching my son not to try to cross the street alone. Fortunately, my son was alert and jogged backwards out of its path, but after literally dozens of incidents where drivers have ignored the fact that there are kids in the crosswalk while I've been walking them to school, there's no way I'm going to let them cross any major streets on their own. (Lights and crosswalks don't help -- in California drivers can and do turn on red right into pedestrians).
Virtually all parents around here are like me: You can't let your kids go anywhere on their own, because the drivers just don't care. So you go with them. Unfortunately, most parents (unlike me) won't let their kids take risks. (I figure if it isn't going to kill them, then it's a valuable learning experience. Bizarrely, my kids are the best tree- and structure-climbers in the neighborhood. Go figure). Thus, fewer injuries.
Very simple. And nothing to do with video games. (Unless you count the ones that the drivers are playing while behind the wheel).
Fascism = A form of government characterized by:
- A strong, centralized government, with strong police powers limiting the freedom of individual citizens. In particular, opposition to the current government is considered treasonous.
- A 'corporatist' economic system. (From Wikipedia. Sorry. I guess that gives me a "Fail" too).
- A powerful sense of nationalism, as in, "What is good for the country is good for the citizen".
- The idea that citizens are unfit to govern themselves.
Typically, fascism is enabled through a sense that such a government is required because of fear of a specific targeted group.
It's not verbatim, but I recall seeing this definition and thinking, "Wow! That's the U.S. Government after the Patriot Act!"
But in terms of the Aussie government ignoring the will of the people and imposing the law, it is a very "fascist" thing to do. "We the government know better than you, so we're going to impose our will on you, and if you object, it's because you're a criminal."
Unfortunately, the Nazis took the word "fascism" and twisted it so much that now anyone who uses the term correctly is considered a loony.
Where I live, Dr. Dean Edell has an hour-long radio show every day where he spends a great deal of time debunking medical myths. Unfortunately, the advertisements during the show are all for penile enhancement pills, cancer cures, and other quackery. In the U.S., as long as it's a "dietary supplement" instead of a "drug", you can say anything and everything and get away with it. The shysters advertise on Dean Edell's program because it gives them an air of legitimacy. The radio station sells the ads to the shysters because they get top dollar from them. And, according to U.S. law, it's all perfectly legal. (Though the shysters tend to get in trouble when they fail to provide the 'guaranteed results or your money back!')
So Microsoft is doing the same thing. They have no legal duty to verify the claims of their advertisers. The usual, "We're just the hosts, we're not providing the content," argument.
The researchers should really be asked, "So, is it your belief that a company should be responsible for verifying any claims made by advertisers before airing their ads?"
Good question. Glad I don't have to answer it.
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