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The Show / WinAmp (and therefore Shoutcast) Shutting Down
« on: November 20, 2013, 11:43:56 PM »
It looks like AOL has decided to kill off WinAmp and all "associated services", which would also include Shoutcast: http://www.winamp.com/media-player/en

I know FTL uses Shoutcast for some streaming options.  I'm not sure how that will affect you guys, but it's something to consider if you haven't already.

General / BitInstant: Not Always Instant
« on: September 10, 2012, 09:44:32 PM »
I wanted to let people know that over the weekend I decided to use BitInstant for the first time, and I had a not-altogether-positive experience.  I did get the bitcoins I ordered eventually, but it took over 24 hours, and I had to contact BitInstant support which was unavailable via phone and IRC at all.

This isn't BitInstant's fault, but I also found that the first MoneyGram location they gave me didn't have MoneyGram at all (at least that's what they claimed).  I then went to a second MoneyGram location and the service was down.  I ended up having to go to a third location in order to actually get my money over to them, so that was a hassle and pretty annoying even prior to the delay in processing my order on BitInstant's side (they say it was a problem at Mt.Gox).

I don't want to trash BitInstant, because I think they are delivering a positive service to the community, but they did not live up to the reputation which FTL has built up for them.  On the BitcoinTalk forums I also found a number of other people who posted problems similar to mine, so it's not just a one-time occurrence.  Anyway, be careful if you're relying on BitInstant for quick service/fulfillment.

General / Prepare for a Bitcoin Crash
« on: August 19, 2012, 11:15:47 PM »
Just FYI, pirateat40 announced that he's "closing" Bitcoin Savings & Trust.  He claims that everyone will be paid out what they're owed within a week, so I'd imagine that in order to do so, he will crash the market this week.  The price has already dropped ~30% from its peak right before his announcement.

For the uninitiated, Bitcoin Savings & Trust is widely considered a ponzi scheme, and it was the largest Bitcoin investment fund out there.

General / Chicago Public School Teachers Prepare to Strike
« on: June 12, 2012, 10:39:33 PM »
CPS teachers claim that increasing the school day by 90 minutes will give them 30% more work (meaning they currently only work 5 hours/day), and they are therefore demanding a 30% raise.  People in Chicago have been discussing it on local forums and I have the hardest time convincing them that we already overpay CPS teachers.  In fact, the average CPS teacher makes over $70,000/year from the school system (not counting any summer jobs).  The 30% raise they want would mean their average salary would jump to around $95,000.  This is on top of the extremely generous public-sector benefits they get and their pensions.  In order to prove this to people in Chicago, I had to download a PDF of salary data from the CPS website and extract it all into Excel.  They didn't believe it.  There were also several teachers who posted their opinions about how hard they work, how little they make, and how we should literally kiss their asses (I'm not kidding).

Anyway, over 90% of the union members voted to authorize a strike, and I hope they do it.  I hope the media starts reporting these jokers' salaries in the news every day along with the miserable achievement statistics when they report on the strike.  Honestly, if I was the city, I would use their ridiculous 30% raise request along with their already high compensation to force them to take a pay cut or quit entirely.  Screw 'em.

General / A Thread to Brag About My Internet Speed
« on: June 01, 2012, 09:53:19 PM »
After a few years of suffering through extremely crappy speeds in my condo building, we replaced our old, crappy ISP with a new, awesome ISP.  They had been giving everyone essentially unmetered bandwidth, but now they're making you pay extra for prioritization.  Apparently, most people are sticking with the basic tier (10Mbps symmetric, guaranteed), because this is what the "50Mbps" guaranteed plan is giving me.  I had previously topped out at 75/75 in the unmetered days:


General / NATO in Chicago
« on: May 20, 2012, 08:31:13 PM »
I've gotta say, the protests are pretty lame.  There was an anti-capitalism march that went by my condo (that's what I get for living on the site of the Haymarket riots) which had probably 100 people in attendance, total, shouting the tired "whose streets?..." line.  If I hadn't looked up what they were actually marching about, I would never have known.  There were NO signs of any kind aside from one communist/anarchist flag I saw.

The only excitement around here was the police arresting three people for "terrorism".  The police claim that they were manufacturing molotov cocktails in their apartment.  The three (one is from Keene???) claim they were just homebrewing beer.  One of the local news outlets also had a window broken, but that's about it.  For all the hyperventilating on the part of the police and city officials, it's been a real dud so far.  I half-suspect they're just trumping up these "terrorism" charges to justify the insane number of police they've deployed around the city.

General / Missing Audio in Podcasts
« on: October 05, 2011, 09:09:16 AM »
Has anyone else had a problem with the podcast audio recently?  I'm finding that at seemingly random places throughout the podcast, the audio will start clipping/skipping a second here and there.  Sometimes it makes the show unlistenable.  I'm listening to the AMP version of the podcast, so I'm not sure if it's impacting the normal one or not.

General / Did Anyone Get an HP Touchpad?
« on: August 22, 2011, 12:18:14 AM »
Since HP canceled the Touchpad and WebOS, they decided to sell out the remaining inventory this weekend by dropping the price to $99 for the 16GB version and $150 for the 32GB version (they were originally $600+).  I believe I was able to snag one, but it was an online order so I'll believe it when it gets here.  I also ordered a case and the cool charging dock (which ended up costing more than the device itself) since I'm assuming the accessories will also become hard to find very quickly.  Anyway, it'll be interesting to see what people do with these things.  They have a Kindle app, which alone justifies the purchase if you were considering getting a Kindle...though I already have a Kindle.  There is a lot of talk about Android getting hacked onto the Touchpad, or even Windows 8 when it comes out.  We'll see.  I'm interested to get hands-on with what will probably be the last WebOS device ever produced (and the last remnant of Palm).  Anyway, I'm still crossing my fingers on the order for now.

So...did anyone else get one?

General / Default and Double Standards
« on: July 21, 2011, 08:48:05 AM »

Our plan starts by recognizing that it is critical to forestall a bank run. Thus, any rescue strategy must be concentrated on making the banks strong enough to withstand a sovereign default. The stress tests conducted in the U.S. in the spring of 2009 offer a model.

The strong countries in Europe should pool their money and expand the European Financial Stability Fund to the point where it can backstop the banks against all losses from potential defaults. The scale must be sufficient to cover not only the direct losses on the banks’ government bond holdings, but also any subsequent losses that the banks incur from having written insurance against a government default. The total amount required will exceed 1 trillion euros, but the exact number won’t be known unless the stress tests of last week are redone to come up with realistic estimates under a scenario in which all five countries partially default on their government debt.

So basically, the "plan" these economists have is that banks should be bailed out again while any unlucky non-bank investor in government debt is left in the cold.  This is absolutely ridiculous.  Actions like this are the reason why governments the world over pay below-market interest rates on their debt.  The largest investors in their debt (banks) are protected.  Instead of protecting banks against taking any losses on their STUPID investments in government, they should put together an FDIC-like institution.  That will protect individuals who assumed their money was safe in the bank (because this is what they've been told) while allowing the banks themselves to be punished for making poor investments.  It would be a lot cheaper, too.  This plan is nothing more than another bank bailout and future subsidization of government debt.

General / Bryan Caplan Smacks Rothbard
« on: May 12, 2011, 09:39:38 AM »

I thought this was a pretty good article about the morality of fractional reserve banking.  This is an issue that gets discussed on the show a lot, and I don't think that this perspective comes through.  Essentially, Caplan is saying that there is no deceit involved in our current fractional reserve banking system, and if you really want 100% reserve banking, it's easy to find in the form of safety deposit boxes.

General / Libertopia, The Movie
« on: February 19, 2011, 12:56:26 AM »
Has anyone seen this?


It looks like it might be a neat documentary.  I thought it was interesting that the filmmaker being interviewed says she wasn't a libertarian when she started making the film but now is kinda sorta a libertarian.  She uses a lot of libertarian movement language, but I guess that could just be a side-effect of being around all the FSPers for the film.

General / Obama Tells Men What Kind of Dads They Should Be
« on: June 20, 2009, 12:40:51 PM »
I couldn't resist sharing this article given the title.

Obama tells men what kind of dads they should be

WASHINGTON (AP) — Barack Obama got a basketball, his first name and ambition from his father. Little else.

The son gave back more than he received: a lifetime of ruminations about the man who abandoned the family, a memoir named "Dreams from My Father," and endless reflections on his own successes and shortcomings as a parent of Sasha, 8, and Malia, 10.

As a candidate and now president, he's been telling men what sort of father they should be. It's become his Father's Day ritual.


General / Wall Mount Suggestions for TV/Components
« on: June 17, 2009, 09:39:45 PM »
I'll be moving pretty soon and will want to mount my 42" LCD TV on a wall, along with components like cable box, DVD player, and maybe a video game console.  I've looked at the stuff at J&R and Amazon and a setup like this looks pretty good to me:

For the TV: http://www.jr.com/peerless/pe/PER_SA760PU/ (especially if I want to get a larger TV later)
For Components: http://www.amazon.com/Peerless-SCS222-Wall-Furniture-lbs/dp/B001DL9VD2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1245289006&sr=8-2

I feel safest sticking to hardware from the same manufacturer so the materials and finishes match up.

But I really have almost no experience with wall mounts (I've only done one, on a much smaller TV with no extra components to mount) so I was wondering if anyone here had any experience or suggestions.  Thanks :)

The Polling Pit / How's it hanging?
« on: February 29, 2008, 12:43:47 PM »
Wikipedia claims that the left testicle hangs lower in 85% of men (pics, NSFW).  However, this statistic is not cited, and I feel it is my duty as a knowledge-seeking individual to uncover the truth.  So, which is it?

In case you're wondering, my right testicle hangs lower.  I must be in the freak of nature 15% category...

The Polling Pit / Are you on the TSA's Blacklist?
« on: June 08, 2007, 01:52:41 AM »
So apparently I got myself on the TSA's blacklist.  I know I've been unable to use web or self check-in for the past year or two, but today the ticket agent (who always has to take my ID into a back room and do...something) actually informed me that I was on "the Blacklist".  I've been told I was on some list before because my name was "similar" to that of a criminal or terrorist, but I would think that they'd have figured out that I'm not a terrorist or a criminal by now, being a citizen of the US and having a name that in no way resembles any name originating east of the UK.

Anyway, are any of you guys also on the Blacklist?  It would be nice if I had some company :)

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