* Posts by MonkeyCee

845 posts • joined 16 Apr 2013

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Your pointy-haired boss 'bought a cloud' with his credit card. Now what?

MonkeyCee
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Re: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it

So the BYOD strategy is working out fine :)

Other than the RAM being a bit skimpy, and a poorly configured AV, I'd have thought that not much was wrong with the 5 year old laptops. Well, new batteries if they've been used.

Having McAfee as the standard AV doesn't bode well tho for sensible IT purchases :)

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Missing the real point

"Well external IT suppliers need to be regulated, whereas your own IT department answers only to the needs of your business."

Isn't it more the case that external providers have a contract, and you get everything in that contract and nothing else, whereas internal IT has to respond to any and all requests at all levels of approval and sanity. Plus if IT says "x is possible" they'll be held to it, whereas if external group says "x is possible, it'll cost y"

For a comparable case, if I'm consulting for a company, and some PHB wants me to do a task he should really give to his own minions, as long as I get paid (and it's legal) I'll do it. Data entry at $200 per hour? Sure thing. Fix your shitty formatting? Why sure, just sign off here. Sure, there's a bit of a stink when they realise their management by dumping shit elsewhere doesn't work so well when they have to pay for it, but the PHB has to own up to it at some point.

If I'm working as an employee, I'd tell them to fark off and have their staff do it, as there is not a simple way to "back charge" the PHB. And I'll get in shit for taking on tasks that should be someone else's problem. So then rather than the "fly tipping" PHB being the problem, you are for not saying "no".

So a lot can depend on the decision the IT department is making is going to set a precedent, or is a one off. Or is the start in a long series of one offs...

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Missing the real point

If your start point is "current IT systems are failing to meet requirements" then yes, obviously IT will be part of the problem. Often it's more a manglement issue, with the symptoms visible in IT, but you may find similar bollocks exists in other areas of the business.

Since you're at the stage where you're solving your work issues yourself, and have your own dev team, I'm a little at a loss why this is an issue. You can do your job currently (presumably making trades) and you already have the tools for it. You'd like nicer tools, that do some of the dull but vital parts of your job, and you've employed people to build them for you. But the issue is that IT weren't prepared to build them for you?

My guess would be (assuming decision makers know the issues) is that there is a suitably slow and comprehensive update planned to solve all these issues, but telling the troops about this is a Bad Idea, and since no-ones bothered to get input from them, it's also going to have a bunch of problems, Which is why it's delayed, and other options to address it are given a "no".

My advice would be:

- document all the change requests, detailed plans and suggestions, along with examples of currently produced solutions.

- show the business case for doing things your way (follow the money etc)

- get some feedback, especially from the hostile groups. That's when you'll (hopefully) discover the real reasons why you've been getting denied

If you've really got things the way you say, then take complete ownership of the systems from IT. Including all support, running costs, and risk coverage.

Just a general comment on traders (which I presume you are). Since they are time and results focused, traders often overlook (or deliberately avoid) anything that can slow them down or stop a trade. This almost always ends up with them getting very close to the line of legality or other complete failure risk. It's also why traders usually hate Risk and Compliance, since all we (appear) to do is shit on perfectly good deals, since no trader believes* they are making bad deals. Having traders who can get around certain checks and balances has led to a number of high profile, and many low profile bankruptcys of firms that should have been rock solid.

I'd presume you where one of the good 'uns, that you're not trying anything dodgy, but it's very hard (from the IT/Risk management perspective) to prevent "tactical" IT solutions from circumventing the strategic ones.

I wouldn't downvote you tho. Even the basic details you've given indicate that a cloud based solution would either be so massivly specialised it wouldn't really count as cloud (maybe hybrid cloud), or someone is telling a pile of porkies to get what they want. Well, more porkies than usual

* or they believe they can pull themselves out of the hole before anyone notices

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Microsoft's bigoted teen bot flirts with illegali-Tay in brief comeback

MonkeyCee
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Re: AS is born

That's why I'm studying Ai in Maastricht :)

Dutch ftw :D

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Here's a great idea: Let's make a gun that looks like a mobile phone

MonkeyCee
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Re: "Absolutely no one can make sense of the United States' infatuation with firearms."

Just to be clear, you are advocating handguns as tools for farmers here?

Guns are not illegal in the UK, despite the bollocks issuing from the mouths of certain cretins. Pistols are, with the exceptions of the military, police and veterinarians. Shotguns and rifles are not "freely" available, but I'd be shocked if most farms didn't have a couple of work guns.

Long guns can totally be a useful tool. Even semi/full auto can have some justification, and deciding when something is a rifle versus an assault rifle does get into the range of the silly (does it have a bayonet lug etc). Same as a rifle that can kill a goat could count as a "sniper rifle".

But other than people who are carrying with the intention of shooting another person (this includes the police), what use is a hand gun for dealing with dangerous pests, over and above say a stick?

The issue that you are ignoring is that the US's northern neighbor has many of the same issues for farmers, also has large areas suitable for hunting, and has similar gun ownership rates, has a much lower rate of deaths by gunshot. It's similar in other countries (Finland, Switzerland), but the US and Canada are more similar in various other terms.

Handguns are the big killer, and that will not be dealt with currently.

I generally like Americans. Not so hot on the actions of the federal government, but I gather that is also something many American's agree on too :)

In fact I like American's so much that I think it would be nice if they didn't kill each other as much. At least with guns. Stick with killing each other with cars, and themselves with opiates ;)

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MonkeyCee
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Re: @AC Top Gear

Wiki doesn't think it exists.

I suspect AC has been getting their info from that well known hollywood documentary on William Wallace entitled "Braveheart: Why the English are total cocks".

I'd guess they where going for "manor" but it's probably a phrase picked up from Downton or some other period piece :D

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Top Gear

Yes, and not only is it a law that never existed, it was made up to justify how evil the previous regime was.

And then gets picked up as a hollywood trope, and because American's tend to either wish they had the gravitas of the British ex-empire, or need to hate and belittle them. Much like the Brits did/do to other older imperial groups (Dutch, Spanish, greco-roman). Copy all the bits you like, claim they are your own, and mock the other stuff.

At least it means there are a steady stream of brit actors playing villains in movies.

But this a gun debate, and so myths and false beliefs perpetuate rather than some engaging in rational thought.

Personally, long guns are usually fine. You use them as a tool, and you store them safely and securely, and when you run into other people when you're toting them around you not only ensure their safety (like a sensible person, clearing your shot etc) but make sure they don't feel intimidated or worried. Very much a UK countryside attitude I'd guess, and I had no worries about the local plod checking up that the shotgun etc was stored correctly.

The NZ attitude was far more stupid. Hunters not only shooting on land they had no right to, in the wrong season, but failing to identify targets whilst being close to campsites. Then, when to do shoot a school teacher in the head, the best thing is too drive back to your camp and get your story straight, rather than assist.

Handguns are either a sidearm for people who are going off to kill other people, a "minimum" carry gun for a police officer (if they are actually expecting a shooter then it would be a PDW or a long gun), or penis compensation. Hand guns are for killing people, no real other use. And while some believe the threat will keep people in check, others believe that an escalation of threat (eg pointing a gun at someone) leads to an escalation of violence.

The availability of weapons doesn't help the "weak" either. Male domestic abusers are 5 times more likely to kill their partner (versus "only" beating them) if the abuser owns a gun.

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Met police commissioner: Fraud victims should not be refunded by banks

MonkeyCee
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The Met

Hmm, aren't these the same lot who are wasting ~20% of their IT budget each year, refusing to admit how much they've they've pissed away on failed projects and avoided any accountability?

Maybe if for every pound wasted on such projects a pound got deducted from wages of those who signed off on those projects it might result in better accountability.

As for bitching about fraud victims getting their money back (in 30% of cases...) my experiences of trying to report fraud, ID theft or suspicious withdrawals have been met with a flat refusal to take a crime report unless I can name a specific person.

I could show clear dodgy transactions with identifying features that presumably could be followed up on, such as car insurance being paid for (we don't own a car), payment for an ISP connection 300 miles away, or pizza delivery half way across the globe. Oh, and an ATM withdrawl (failed 9 times, passed on 10th) in Thailand, when the "same" card had been used 90 minutes before in the Netherlands. Cops bent over backwards to avoid taking a report, but the bank refunded us within 24 hours.*

So Sir Bernie, if you want the banks to stop refunding fraud victims, that's going to require you lot doing a huuuge amount more work, when you currently aren't able to process all the "normal" crime, how the fuck are you going to handle ID theft and low end (sub $2000) fraud? That work is currently "outsourced" to the banks because the cops simply do not have the resources for it.

* they did send us a letter where we had to sign off that we had never performed those transactions,

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Apple stuns world with Donald Trump iPhone

MonkeyCee
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Good point

But haven't we been at the "5 year old tech is perfectly adequate" point for YEARS now?

Mainly only seems to be battery tech and drive wear that necessitate replacing kit.

Oh, and using glue over screws.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Miniature big iPad

Last week I swapped a door out for old one from our neighbors.

This involved removing hinges from both doors, and then putting the current ones on the replacement door.

The screws being removed where flatheads, been attached for 10+ years, and so not terribly amenable to being removed.

A third came out with a screwdriver and a lot of swearing. Tools used: screwdriver and molegrip

Next third came out after some persuasion from a simplified impact driver. In other words, a screwdriver being whacked by a hammer. Tools used: screwdriver and hammer.

Then the remaining bastards got drilled out. Tools used: drill on non-hammer settings.

So there you go, utilising screws using a hammer.

I also tend to drive screw+wallplug in with a hammer first, and have been known to utilise it as a brummie/polack screwdriver at times.

Mark "metal basher" Vries.

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It's nuts but 'shared' is still shorthand for 'worthless'

MonkeyCee
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It's very nice that we're all equal, and should all be valued as such.

But you've managed to see what social mobility means, but missed it's point.

It's not about "poor people deserve what they get" but that it's possible for a person born in to a low wealth family to have an options for their lives, rather than a choice between working down pit or in factory.

All rights are a societal construct. And it tuns out, certain groups in society benefit more from them. Tax structures favor the wealthy, legal representation favors the wealthy, expressions of political will favor the wealthy etc. It would be lovely if we where all equal, but this is clearly not the case, and making much noise about it gets one branded a communist/socialist.

As for respecting people in their professions, chosen or not, I thought that was a normal human thing to do. Society functions because all the jobs get done, and lots of people are keen on the "cool" and well paid roles, so there's no shortage of people wanting to be lawyers. But without the basics being done, we'd all be up shit creek. In the case of street cleaners and bin men, a literal one.

Any BOFH who doesn't value their careful relationship with the cleaners and security will have a harder time staying ahead of manglement :)

I'd have used something other than a lawyer as the example too. Can't think of many jokes involving dead street sweepers as the punchline, but a thousand lawyers at the bottom of the ocean is a good start etc.

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Telling your wife why you were fired is the only punishment

MonkeyCee
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Re: I ran into this sort of thing once

That was pretty much my experience of finding CP on a clients machine in for repair.

I'd already cloned the drive, and was running data recovery on the clone when some filenames looked... wrong.

So I checked a couple of images, and it was clearly a case of "Go Directly to Jail, do not pass Go".

I went to the MD, and said that we a) should call the cops and b) get a lawyer post haste. He quibbled for about 30 seconds (could I be sure, valuable client, family man etc) at which point I declared that for protecting myself *I* would call the cops, and the company can make it's own call. We called the cops together.

The cops where very good, and did warn me/us that while in their opinion we where innocent, that the decision to prosecute was up to the CPS, and that we where technically guilty of possession and potentially distribution, depending exactly how cloning a drive would be viewed.

Gave statements, handed over the dodgy laptop, the cloned data and purged everything else. CPS got in contact after a few weeks to tell us we where in the clear as the guilty party had confessed and plead guilty.

It's the story I give when I have to explain why I can be funny about doing even minor illegal activities for an employer. Dodging licence fees and CP are quite different ends of the scale, but both are against the law.

"After all, how can you prove you didn't download it?" is a very good point :) the best way is to behave like a honest and innocent (of that anyway) person and immediately call the authorities, fully co-operate, and be prepared to hire a legal representative to cover your arse. And pray the guilty party confesses.

The guy got 8 years, and should be out now.

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Osbo slaps down Amazon and eBay – who'll be liable for traders evading VAT

MonkeyCee
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Re: May I suggest you take a look at the Laffer curve?

Actual economics is far more about politics than anything else.

Take ten concepts that most economists agree on, and you'll find half are implemented at gunpoint (sometimes literally so) and the other half will never get done outside of some wacky dutch experiment.*

This has nothing to do with which of these ideas is efficient, effective or fair, but entirely to do with if it will appear to benefit those in charge of the levers of power.

It's very much a Pareto efficiency problem, with start conditions of 1% of the population holding 50% of the goods, 24% holding 40% of the goods (unevenly distributed) and 75% holding 10% of the goods (again unevenly distributed). Almost any change in this system is going to piss off the 1%, and probably annoy the 24%. The political class is almost entirely drawn from that top 25%, and thus is unlikely to change the system.

* the fact that the Dutch do these pragmatic but potentially unpopular things is why I live there. And the cheese.

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MonkeyCee
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Laffer

I have. One of my professors wrote his thesis on the difference between the observed Laffer curve for the USA and EU countries for personal income tax rates.

The balance point varies a bit, depending how you factor in various other taxes (especially dividend and capital gains, since you can jank around high levels of income to go these areas instead), but it's ALWAYS above 50% tax rate, and for the US it's ~70%, and the UK ~80%. We are ALMOST always on the left of the curve in any developed country.

This is of course ignored, since any fule noes reducing tax collection will result in more total tax take....

The recent tax cuts resulting in higher takes are usually caused by earnings being held over. Which makes sense, if you'll be paying 5% less tax next year, get half your income this year, 150% next year.

I very much doubt Laffer ever thought about applying it to corporate profit tax, since profit (rather than personal income) are far easier to adjust.

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Storks bin migration for junk food diet

MonkeyCee
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Re: This will cause a problem for the storks

I always separate the punishment of decimation (which was the execution of the NCOs, by their own squad) versus it's usage for "bad shit happening".

Same as "exceptions proving the rule", with both exception and rule having changed meaning since it's adoption.

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Former US anti-terror chief tears into FBI over iPhone unlocking case

MonkeyCee
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! = Theatre

It's about legal precedent rather than pure theatre.

It's just the usual LEO being a fuckwit problem. The "we're the good guys, we need to do this thing that would be illegal otherwise because of bad people" that is the thin end of the wedge to shooting and torturing innocents because they are "probably bad 'uns".

Hence why there's all this FUD about "for this phone and this phone only" and expanding All Writs to include *anything* a company can be made to do. It's entirely for the legal precedent, so that protection of the elites, I mean the people, can be carried on most effectively.

If they *really* needed info from this phone, it would (or has been) already accessed by those agencies that are less worried about chain of evidence or court approval. Maybe something has been found, so that now a chain of evidence that can be publicly revealed must be produced.

Of course, the fact that as soon as one enforcement agency has precedent for this, ALL enforcement agencies, of all governments, have the same rights. If the FBI is allowed a custom image for cracking phones, then so is the FSB.

You can be a stupid petulant arsehole and still be correct. :)

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GNU want (another) free AI package release? Yes. But we should train this puppy

MonkeyCee
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Re: I don't get it

Liberate from us from our fleshy prisons!

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7,800 people's biometric data held on police anti-terrorism database

MonkeyCee
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Re: Yawn.

Of course he is. Matt knows he has nothing to fear from the authorities, so has made sure he's in all bio metric databases. He also voluntarily submits his entire browsing history to the Home Office, and files his weekly thoughtcrime reports.

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Crap IT means stats crew don't really know how UK economy's doing

MonkeyCee
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Re: Goodhart's Law

Well, the super rich will be always be buying prime real estate, often writing off any current building on the property. So emptymansions that no-one lives in make sense in a world where buying bits of London have proved a very good long term investment for all involved. Or buying any property where the long term value is the land and building permits, and not the actual building.

It of course has nothing to do with either dirty money, nor with people finding ways around foreign capital exchange rules, nor with London being a magic portal into legal and taxational ringworlds of great ingenuity and terror. Because no good and honest bank would ever do that. HSBC only launders drug money out of tradition etc.

GDP is of course a fantasy that would be applauded even by Orwell. GDP has increased Free Citizen! Life is Good! Do the Spend! Watch the Strictly! Where is your trans-awareness-and-love day bracelet citizen? Do you not the love the trans and accept them as the wonderful people they are? Are you in fact, a Hater?!? Did you not see that GDP has risen, and We Are Happy! Don't be a Hater!

Where's my coat. I need to buy beer. Raising GDP and the happiness index at the same time.

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What a pair of ace-holes: Crooks bug gambler's car with GPS tracker, follow him and rob him

MonkeyCee
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Re: Which one is it?

Silence is golden, duct tape is silver.

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Ukraine has a Eurovision pop at Russia

MonkeyCee
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Re: As Clausewitz didn't say

"This whole farce of in/out the EU is concerning.... "

It really isn't, much like Scottish independence wasn't going to happen.

It allows politicians the chance to get all shouty about a perceived issue, and usually (assuming they aren't letting a good crisis go to waste) allows them to achieve some other objectives. For Scotland it seemed to be building SNP support at the expense of Labour, which suits a certain blue party just fine.

UK is not leaving the EU/EC/EEC/NATO etc. The idea that something like a plebiscite is going to stop the Euro project is laughable.

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Failed school intranet project spent AU$1.4m on launch party before crashing and burning

MonkeyCee
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Re: *sigh*

"I've also been in a great number of situations in which I was engaged to do work where requirements changed with every deliverable because, well, the client managed the project by committee and couldn't control their own people. I billed those clients mercilessly. A fool and their money...."

Isn't that the crux of most of these massive public sector IT cockups? Terrible requirements engineering, constant changes to spec, and the hope that the rules don't really apply since that's why someone gets a job in public sector IT.

I've had the odd client doing the constant requirements changes. Since I'm usually only brought in because things are fucking up, I get to say that's either causing or exasperating the issues, and if they don't stop, then I quit. It's an even split for those that got some more control over their requirements, and the ones that insisted I needed to be "more agile".

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The gargantuan Gatsby

MonkeyCee
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Re: food hygene people!

When I did city and guilds cooking course (2002) wood boards where not only OK, they where recommended. You've got to care for them a bit differently to plastic, mainly leaving to dry in a fashion that doesn't have a business side soaking wet.

I also never experienced a working eatery where all C+G standards and H+S where actually followed. The industrial kitchen came close (Wishbone) but it seems pretty impossible to follow every single thing.

Knew a few chaps who worked in the meat works, wooden boards there too. They tried plastic ones, but they all ended up turning black and slightly slimey within a week or two. Apparently too hard to clean, and they aren't too gentle with the cuts, so you could get pretty serious gouges out of the plastic.

I didn't even think glass chopping boards where "real", I thought they where for presenting stuff on, like cheese or desserts. I'd rather prep straight onto a steel work surface than glass *shudder*.

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Coding is more important than Shakespeare, says VC living in self-contained universe

MonkeyCee
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Re: George Santayana

"Seems like teaching these kids history has led to us repeating the racial tensions and calls for segregation and racial bias."

You are clearly confusing cause and effect here. I'm also pretty sure no-one (sane) is calling for segregation, but I admit I've stopped watching US political debates so who knows :) But you cannot seriously believe that talking about racism makes it worse. Or is it that you're only allowed to talk about racism as a bad thing, and all those closeted KKK types would just like us to have a free and frank debate about whether certain humans aren't really people because of the hue of their upper epidermis.

Teaching people about racism, both it's history, and how some people still cling to it, is not going to suddenly make people into racists. Most of the time you have to actually get past the standard "how dare you accuse me of $BIAS, only evil people have $BIAS, and I am not evil" to get people to realise their various biases. As an example, I live in the Netherlands, which everyone is taught is a welcoming, open and inclusive society, and therefore has no racism. If you point out something that is clearly racist (hiring practises, Trump like comments about turks and morrocans) then you get told you've misunderstood, and that "all turks are rapists and all morrocans are coke dealers" is a FACT, not racist bullshit.

So the first step in dealing with these issues is to first start by acknowledging they exist, and that "bad" opinions can be held by otherwise "good" people. Then you can do some dissecting of the causes, and why these things continue. Then perhaps onto actually addressing the issues, both in the practical (affirmative action and whatnot) and philosophical, where you might even try and change people's opinion by debate. Then you might even have some idea of why people can get so angry about it, which is VERY EASY TO UNDERSTAND (even for a liberal arts student), so you might be able to empathise.

College also seems the ideal time to discuss these issues, since they can be pretty divisive at work. Hell, I've been written up by HR for asking people to not make jokes about rape (because I made the guy making rape jokes uncomfortable apparently).

In before the ad homs, I'm not saying I'm some mystical being free from bias, and it's really only when you move countries/cultures do you get to see which of these are genuine, are formed by you, or formed by the society you existed in.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: George Santayana

I prefer: "Those that study history are doomed to watch those who didn't repeat it"

I'm not sure how valid my criticisms of education would be, seeing as I never really appreciated how useful skills where when I learnt them, versus things I enjoyed learning that haven't had any real "value" other than I liked them. I would suggest that quite a lot of my university education (which I'm back doing) is designed to teach me more during the process, than as the actual end goal. So an essay isn't really about me producing a document, but the process of researching, fact checking, forming and arguing an opinion. The coding projects aren't about the product, but more about working in a team and dealing with task assignment and varying levels of ability.

So while I'm not a professional carpenter, I build and repair stuff around the house, using skills I learnt as a 12 year old at school. Same for doing a bit of sewing, or sketching something. Useful skills to have at a very low level, but no use for a job. If my coding skills where the same level, I'm not sure how I'd apply them in any useful sense.

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TTIP: A locked room, no internet access, two hours, 300 pages and lots of typos

MonkeyCee
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Re: Oligarchy Malarkey

That's Henry Ford who said "It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning."

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Google after six-year tax foot-drag: No they're fine about the fine. We're fine. No fine

MonkeyCee
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Ah

It's one of the golden rules. I'm not sure which one, since I'm way too poor for that club any more.

But it goes: "If you owe the taxman a thousand quid, then you have a problem. If you owe them a million, then they have the problem."

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FTC: Duo bought rights to Android game – then turned it into ad-slinging junkware in an update

MonkeyCee
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Re: Adds or Drugs (Meds) ?

Good news is that another pharma company has announced that they would like some free publicity, and since making small batch medicine like these are low cost (as compared to a marketing campaign), so they are doing 99 pill bottles (ie a full course of treatment) for $100.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Adds or Drugs (Meds) ?

You're thinking of Martin Shkreli (probably, this behavior isn't unique alas). The drug is for treating malaria and toxoplasmosis.

The cancer link is because people being treated for cancer have reduced immune system responses, so can die more easily from infections. It's also very common for AIDS patients to catch such infections.

The drug is a specialized combination of a two other drugs, which is where it differs from the generic which is just pyrimethamine. My limited understanding is that it's the combination that is both the reason for it's efficacy, and the reason for it's difficult in manufacture*, and also why it's the "only" medication of it's type in the world.

As to the morality of what Shkreli did, it's just more patent trolling. He can talk all the shit he likes about investing in new research, but that is not what he's doing. Buying rights to an existing and established product and hiking the prices because you can is a) perfectly sensible market capitalism, buying underpriced good that consumers have no other substitutes for and b) fucking stupid if you ever expect to have to defend the actions.

Shkreli is also up to his neck in other shit now, since he's pulled off some other suitably morally ambiguous activities at his prior companies. Hope he gets jailed, catches AIDS, gets a toxic plasmosis infection and then can't afford his overpriced drugs.

* prior to the price hike it cost roughly 20-50 times what the single drug option, which seems reasonable IMHO

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Slap on the wrist

Pop the cheque in the mail would you then? It's about 40 grand a year (UK) to jail someone, and another 25k or so to lock them up in the first place (courts, police etc).

Slinging ads is annoying, but I'm not keen on spending more money on locking them up, as compared to people who are an actual danger to society, rather than an annoyance.

Then again, I'm for making tax avoidance count as petty treason, so we can at least start doling out the lashes.

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Who would code a self-destruct feature into their own web browser? Oh, hello, Apple

MonkeyCee
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Re: Ritual sacrifice

I too find that a lump hammer is the best way to make user errors go away.

Very handy for refactoring a server case to fit in to a tight corner.

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MonkeyCee
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Ritual sacrifice

I take computers apart and fix them, or strip them for parts. For pay, for fun. Doing this where other computers can see this causes those computers to work very reliably :D

This also explains why errors that others get don't recur when I'm there. Sheer terror on the part of the machine in question.

Swearing is medically proven to help you both feel better and enhance your problem solving skills.

Google owns my soul anyway, so chrome is the devils own browser ;)

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Did you know ... Stephen Fry has founded a tech startup?

MonkeyCee
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Re: Ignoring the Beam in One's Own Eye

I use a "hackers keyboard" app on my droid when I need to do something remote and I've not got a more sensible option.

Has pretty much all the usual extra keys you need for most* shell commands and programming punctuation.

* I'm not positive off the top off my head it will do all

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Most of the world still dependent on cash

MonkeyCee
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Re: There's a good and a bad side to this

"How many dodgy transactions exceed $5m, do you think?"

Lots. I helped with the research for a paper on various parts of the underground economy (my part was about bitcoin and dark web markets) and the size of the known unknowns is huuuuge. Arms, drugs, pharamcuticals and fake goods make up something like 5-15% of the GDP of most countries. There are obviously quite large deals going on between various groups, many of which will be over the 5 million mark.

While cash is quite appealing for a number of these transactions, over the last 20 years or so there has been a movement away from cash and direct money transfers. This is in part because of the money laundering and anti-terrorism laws, better tracking of funds, and the gradual reduction of banking secrecy (regarding accounts). The more common methods for large transactions now are using safety deposit boxes (full banking secrecy applies still) and using high value items as barter, such as artworks, vehicles or weapons.

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Five technologies you shouldn't bother looking out for in 2016

MonkeyCee
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Re: Lazy journalism methinks

Isn't "lazy journalist" a redundant description?

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MonkeyCee
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heh

I like "marriage guidance counselor" for when someone (usually the chap) has lost the weddingchildbirth pictures/video, or the address book for the christmas card list.

My guidance is usually that if you had an argument about digitising it, then make damn sure you have regular backups.

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BOFH: I want no memory of this pointless conversation. Alcohol please

MonkeyCee
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Re: Contrary to government opinion*...

There's a definite risk to life, limb and property if the BOFHs of the world don't engage in the correct level of drinking.

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Trump's new thought bubble: Make Apple manufacture in the USA

MonkeyCee
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Re: And now, play the substitution game:

There are quite large differences between Corbyn and Trump, the most compelling being that Corbyn is (and has been for ~30 years) an elected politician, and now elected as the head of the Labour party. Trump has neither been elected to political office, or won the nomination of the GOP.

As for their effect on the political landscape, I'm fairly sure neither is changing the opposition parties viewpoint.

Trump is stating policies that are clearly fantastic and impossible to implement, but it's not like some of the other GOP aren't above suggesting that only christians should be allowed refugee status in the USA.

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Engineer's bosses gave him printout of his Yahoo IMs. Euro court says it's OK

MonkeyCee
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Re: Separate work from private life!

Wow, NZ employment law must have changed some since I was last there :)

A verbal warning is a verbal warning. Usually only comes up when a written warning is made, in reference to the employee already being told about the infringement.

If what has happened goes over certain limits, you totally can fire someone on the spot and eject them from the premises. Usually only when there's a physical threat or the cops have been called.

However, most of the "firings" I've been party to one way or another in NZ almost always went out of there way to sidestep official procedures. Either people just had their hours cut, there was a "mutual agreement" for someone to leave, or the evidence against the employee is presented, and then they disappear. Actually going through the hoops to fire someone for cause is nearly impossible.

My friend ran a pizza franchise for a couple of years, and couldn't fire one little prick. This prick was a fairly useless employee, gave away/stole stock, harassed other employees, and was possibly dealing as well (mate found a couple of fifty bags left in the work fleece). But the prick's mum was an employment lawyer, so any attempt to negotiate or formalise these issues (about a $15ph position) resulted in $400 per hour lawyer goodness.

So you get shits who use the full weight of the system to defend themselves. On the other hand, NZ (esp hospo) is super mega shitty in employment matters. Not paying people holiday pay and short change shifts are far too common, and if you even think the word "union" then you suddenly end up short of hours.

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Never mind the patent trolls. Here's a riddle: What about the inventors?

MonkeyCee
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Re: Legal fees

My experience of the UK patent courts is that the loser will eventually re-pay the fees. The claimants have to actually front up with the cash, usually for years sometimes decades before they see their money returned.

The family member who was in the patent dispute ended up selling his patent to a company that was a rival of the infringing company. They even gave him a reasonable deal, considering they had him over a barrel.

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Catalan town hall seriously downsizes monarch

MonkeyCee
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Re: Inventive?

It's illegal in the Netherlands. Same deal as Thailand. Don't be mocking the fat german fucker, the former Prince Pils, that's currently in charge.

There's even been people charged with it in recent times, someone threw something at him.

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UK energy minister rejects 'waste of money' smart meters claim

MonkeyCee
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Re: Purpose

About 5 years ago now. Still in contact with buddies in Transpower, and their various contracted out comms stuff.

It's not really "smart meters are a waste of money" there are many good reasons for them, and replacing shitty pre-paids should be top of the list. It's that there is an idea that smart meters will reduce demand, by making us all more aware of our usage. so we should all have one, is poxy. Having it mandated by government, not paid for out of taxes but by raising the costs of electricity supply, and then told that it's for our own good is what the objections are.

Smart meters can and should be used in new builds, when replacement is required, and when the current meters are anti-competitive or predatory. I think they also should be available for anyone who wants one, certainly if different tariffs are available to different customers.

You could save money on your power bill by changing behavior, and by reading the damn thing and comparing prices. Price watch sites have been around for 10+ years, and before that any budget advisor/CAB/friend would help you if your math was shit. The information about your power usage is already available, and there has been years of poking and propping to get you to work out your best option.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Purpose

"I suspect our electricity industry is structured differently to the UK. The companies that sell electricity to (most) consumers are retailers. Retailers buy electricity at spot price, and sell it for, literally, whatever they want. There are (last I looked) about 27 retailers in New Zealand. Its a competitive space."

Well, NZ is a vastly different power market than the UK, for a variety of reasons. Firstly, every country is unique, so power market (and economy yaddda yadda) are always going to be different. Both NZ and the UK+Ireland are nations of islands, both produce oil and gas, and both are roughly the same area, and similar climate (YMMV) but broadly speaking higher demand winters, lower demand summers. But there are massive differences in scale of population (total and density), industrial uses, and resource dependance.

NZ produces a vast amount of it's power from hydro. 57% last count, and that's declining from 70+. IMHO they shouldn't have been mothballing off generating stations, but that's part of the whole marketisation exercise. The running and variable cost of inputs of it's generation are quite different to a thermal plant, less warmup, your "fuel" is either off or on without* extra cost. Quite a lot more maintenance that's less convenient than thermal plants, but in general hydro is really very very good, and about as nice as you'll get for a renewable. It's just not very transportable, and you can't really plonk down in an arbitary spot. If we could knock up a Manapouri for every major industrial site it solves a lot of transmission and load balancing issues. I'm sure someone who does actual engineering might know better, is building a powerstation next to each major energy user the best way to solve things?

NZ has also until very recently had most of the major players in the generation and supply of wholesale markets belong either to the government, or the government be the majority shareholder. What happens in 5-10 years time, after sufficient "competative pressure" has been brought to bear, will result in higher prices and less security of supply.

NZ is on it's own for supply. It can import fuel, and extract plenty for local consumption down to retail level (innapropriate heating with LPG causing deaths) but it has no access to other countries power markets. Hence generation and supply was run by the government for many years. Parts still are. The splitting it into various parts has been either a huge failure (if you're a consumer) or a great success (if a shareholder). With a stalinist diktat run feethly socialist power construction and generation NZ had the second lowest price of retail power in the OECD. Now it's nearer the middle, not because other countries got cheaper. That's the competitive market for you, same product, twice the price. Only in this case, your tax dollars already paid for every single part of it.

Now, since it may seem as I'm knocking you, you DO have a very valid point. For the people who are already being fucked by the power companies (it's the poor. It's always the poor. That's why they stay that way) then replacing their pre-pay meter with any plan that charges like a normal retail customer is a massive step up. Doesn't require a smart meter for that. Can also see why you'd use them as a pilot group, since it's always going to be better afterwards, and you can get some feedback on how much a fucking pain installing smart meters is.

*water rights and usage in NZ is a whole 'nother can of worms.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Purpose

Horseshit.

Firstly you do not get to buy spot power prices as anything short of an industrial user in NZ. I used to administer one of the systems for submitting bids, so unless you're a milk factory or aluminium smelter, you're buying at retail.

Pre-buying retail power (powershop? Unless they've gone under) is perfectly fine, but like almost all power retailers they buy at wholesale, usually in advance (ie not spot), then sell to the plebs at retail. Powershop and the ilk let you buy in advance, and pass some savings on to you. However, when I was last living in NZ there was almost no point in shopping around for power prices. I've always had gas, and there are usually only one or two companies that supply gas, and the discount they give you for a combined tarif is lower than any savings that can be made from pre-buying power, or the cheapest supply options.

The only way you're "saving large" buy pre-paying is because you where on a rip-off tariff before. But that's pretty much the norm for NZ utilities. Don't get me started on the fucking phone lines. You should save roughly 20-30% if you go from a "pre-pay, bad credit" to a "pre-pay". Most would give me 10-15% off for simply paying on time.

A power audit can certainly help people cut down on their bills. My experience of NZ houses and UK flats is that about two thirds have some sort of "power leakage" where if you turn off everything, you still are chunking through the power. NZ ones mainly shitty wiring and some power theft, UK ones mainly power theft with some shitty wiring. But once you've worked out what optional appliances can be switched off, and defrosted the freezer etc, then you can't do much to change your usage. There's a limit to what you can turn off, and what appliances you are willing to replace. Smart meter won't save you anything by itself, only a change in behavior.

Mind you, there are times in the past when I'd like to have had a smart meter. Mainly when the previous person lied about the meter reading to the power company (who accepted that for 12 months he used ~2 months worth of power) and then the power company tried to charge us for ~18 months of power for 6 months of usage during the warm part of the year.

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Nvidia's patent war on Samsung is a wreck – what you need to know

MonkeyCee
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Simple but....

It's not complex, but it is difficult. Many simple things are difficult, otherwise we'd all be retired by now.

In general I thought the modern business plan was:

1. Obtain cartel/monopoly position in market, ideally by legislation.

2. Reduce tax bill

3. Prevent new market entrants

4. Profit

That way you get something like the big 6 energy companies, water companies, retial banking, crapita, camelot etc where there is no real competitive pressure on the market.

Making widgets is very risky in comparison. You have the whole process of making and marketing them, and you cant really stop other widget makers.

But if a homeowner has no choice between utility companies, that's much better from the perspective of business.

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What did we learn today? Microsoft has patented the slider bar

MonkeyCee
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Well, Walsh is at least honest about his wealth. In that he gained it by gambling, and does not believe that in doing so he did anything useful for society, hence his philanthropy. He's also paid very little tax as compared to someone doing an actual useful job, but I think he settled that out somewhat.

In general there are almost no "self-made" multi-millionaires.* Either they come from wealth, and hence can take much larger gambles with their life, knowing that even if it all goes to shit they are still rich (BIll Gates being the classic example of this). Or they get made by directly or indirectly stealing wealth from the people of a country, be it your dictator-for-life types, or companies like Virgin being given assets at knockdown prices.

People are in general much better at making money the less they care about the people they make it from. Having to try and teach ethics to business students (as compared to engineering or medical) is suitably enlightening as to the various attitudes towards their "customers". Also towards their expected remuneration relevant to how hard their course of study is (med students do worst, engineers in the middle, and business just takes the piss).

* I've known one, who did it without being too much of a dick and owns a fair bit of property (8 houses, 4 shops). But he doesn't appear or act "rich" other than the fact he really hates spending money on things he considers wasteful. 7 figure bank account, 7-8 figures of assets, still won't spend more than $300 on a car or $100 on a computer.

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Happy 2016, and here's the year's first ransomware story

MonkeyCee
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Re: "distributed via email"

Maybe I'm cynical, but users seem to only want their data restored, in full previous glory (ie filenames and directory structure) otherwise faced with having to sort the files manually suddenly those photos/docs suddenly don't matter anymore.

So most users reaction to data loss is "can I has it all back, with no effort on my part? If not, GTFO"

I think I've had maybe two personal users out of about fifty who after having *all* their data recovered actually bothered to go through and re-name and re-use the files. Another dozen used something like picasso to sort them, and the rest just lived with it.

The ones who just wanted a particular piece of data did always use it. But most of those I signed a NDA with. These are very special NDAs that can only be written on twenty pound notes and can involve a lot of legalese....

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US Marines kill noisy BigDog robo-mule for blowing their cover

MonkeyCee
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Re: "Warfighter"?

What's your preference for "soldiers who kill things" that doesn't piss off the soldiers doing logistics (ie most of them) then?

My vote goes for BAMF ;)

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I have you now! Star Wars stocking fillers from another age

MonkeyCee
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Re: X-Wing

"Shame the latest Star Wars game apparently spent their entire budget on marketing and 50 pence on the game itself."

That's a lot of the media industries problems right there.

An awful lot of the people in charge of green-lighting projects are not in any way consumers of them. Be it games, books or movies, they have a good idea of what will sell, and what won't, but no real appreciation for "why".

The common one I see for games (certainly in how the execs justify their decisions) is they simply do not understand gameplay. That something can be fun and challenging, and that it's not the graphics/sound/buzz that does this, but the mechanics and how they apply to the game world.

So not having a good objective measure for "fun to play" (for whatever group you're going for) or "appropriate difficulty curve" are nearly impossible to judge, "has shiny graphics" is an easy metric, and plays well into what they do know, marketing.

Because selling you a pretty but shit game, so you want another game in a few days/weeks/months, is far better business than selling you a classic. And there is enough of a market that will pay for a star wars game no matter how terrible, so you don't even really need a proper game to go with it.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: I have you now!..i think not So what happened to SWG in your list

That's some pretty rosy tinted goggles you've got on there my friend :)

SWG was not, and never was, a "good" MMO. It came from an era where all the MMO's suffered from a lack of design and balance. Quite a number of important gameplay areas where simply left untested or not thought through fully.

SWG required grinding to level. An amount of grinding that was amplified by the fact that in order to unlock a jedi/force sensitivity you needed to master 4 professions (from about 30ish), and you could discover what three of these where by using hard to get items. To grind a combat profession, assuming you where starting with a "full" non-jedi combat level character, and you could get a group, took 30+ hours. To level a crafting tree took about 60 hours of crafting and would give you RSI if you didn't use a macro.

Ah, the crafting system. Reagents had stats, better stats = more experiment points = improvement of (typically) one aspect of the produced item. All cool and dandy, except there was no playtesting (or thought testing...) of what happens when you create 98% resist armor, or weapons with almost no stat cost to use. Or buffs that are 2-3000% of the base stats.

Combined with SOE's borderline abusive behavior towards players (which they learnt from EQ) where they would make a broken system, then leave it for a year or two, then change it to another broken one, invalidating most of the "good" equipment previously existing. Plus nerfing items, but allowing existing broken versions of that equipment to be kept. I managed to acquire a melee weapon that had the reach of a ranged weapon (65m instead of 10m) and had many lols with that in pvp.

As for the game dying, that happened in several stages. At each of the combat updates the core mechanics changed and acquired equipment (usually) became worthless. Thus a lot of effort invested in your character befome null, which often results in people quitting. Then making jedi available to everyone managed to persuade a lot of the old guard to quit, since their hard-to-get hero class (less than 5% of players had a jedi) was now just available to anyone. At that point I gave up.

If they had tried to make it a wow clone they might have been OK (I'd have still quit). But they didn't. They copied some ideas from wow, while missing much of the useful stuff. They mainly failed to copy Blizzard's ability to deliver enjoyable experiences.

SWG had some cool ideas (player cities, spaceships, bounty hunting NPC/players, skill point system) but was only any good because the alternatives where pretty shit. Once they stated losing subs, they just managed to kill themselves quicker. It's a great example of "just fucking leave it alone" they would still be raking in the subs.

Oh, and permadeath for your hero class. Just no...

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