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1561  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Is America going down the religous path to much on: November 30, 2004, 04:46:39 PM
Quote from: "Qbert"
I personally find others naive if they believe something is not so, simply because they don't have "proof".

I'm not asking for proof, I'm asking for credible evidence from the mainstream media before I throw into doubt an election in which the results were well within the predicted range of outcomes. That's not being naive, it's being incredulous.
1562  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Is America going down the religous path to much on: November 30, 2004, 04:40:34 PM
Quote from: "Qbert"
I don't know why they waste their time with exit polling either.  It's a waste of man time considering that the results are known in a few hours anyway.

That's not what exit polls are for. Exit polls are used to examine questions regarding who voted for Bush or Kerry, why they voted for Bush or Kerry, what sort of issues made an impact in the election, what sort of candidate qualities drove voters to or from candidates, what sort of partisan trends are emerging, etc. They're not really for public consumption. They're for political scientist types like me to dig into and roll around in, to answer such questions as "how did Bush assemble his majority coalition?"

For years people in and out of the media have misused the exit polling data, trying to use it on election day to predict the looming winner. The data can be used for this purpose, but only when elections are not going to be close. Exit polling "problems" have only been an "issue" in 2000 and 2004 because since exit polling first came into wide use in the 1960s there's only been a few close elections -- 1968, 1976, 2000 and 2004 -- and it wasn't until the mid-80s that the media really made much out of these surveys.

I'm sure that the exit polls could be used to predict the winner in nearly every state in 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996. Those elections weren't close on any level. So when the data was misused to this end in those cycles, no one noticed any discrepancies. But in close elections, any poll, even an exit poll, is going to have trouble "calling" states correctly. The Ohio statewide exit poll predicted a Bush win with 51% over Kerry with 49% -- so on the state level the poll was, in fact, "right." But it could have easily predicted a 50% - 50% tie, or a 52% - 48% Bush win, or even a 51% - 49% Kerry win, and still have been "right" for the purpose of the poll itself.

Within the political science world we use these polls to analyze voter trends. In the next few months, rebalanced versions of the polls will roll out amongst academics where all data will have been reweighted to match the official results of the election, giving us a generally spot-on accurate portrait of the voting day electorate, and what motivated and enthused them in this cycle. That's what exit polls are for -- after-the-fact analysis.

They're a political science tool. That they were misused in the past during easy-win elections for one side or the other and could "predict" statewide results at that time doesn't mean that such misuse will always pan out. Clearly, it doesn't.
1563  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Is America going down the religous path to much on: November 30, 2004, 04:29:46 PM
Quote from: "Qbert"
I'm sorry Fireball, I didn't know that I couldn't comment without official links to back up what I've heard on the news.

Oh, give me a break. You're calling me names because I don't froth at the mouth over all this so-called "fraud" and then can't even show any evidence of it. Pardon me for being incredulous. If you're going to try to call me on the carpet for something, you best be able to prove your allegations have some merit.

I'm sorry that I think that we are *gasp* capable of fraudualant behavior (heck, it happened before, but why would it happen again).

No one is arguing that Americans are somehow immune to fraudulent behavior. But being capable of it and it being likely are two different things. America in general and Ohio in particular have long histories of running clean elections.

I'm sorry that since exit polls in the past have proven near accurate, and this time they didn't (well, at least with the stations using the machines instead of paper ballots).

It doesn't matter if exit polls at the county level have been "accurate" in the past. They are still not representative at that level, and therefore cannot be used as a predictor for final results. There were 2,020 people polled for the 2004 Exit Poll in the entire state of Ohio. That's about as low of a sample as you can have and still have the results be representative. County level exit polls will not have a broad enough sample, numerically or geographically within a specific county, to be scientifically useful for predicting results at that level. You may as well argue that the results are suspicious because your Aunt Mabel lives in one of the counties in question and "she doesn't know ANYONE who voted for Bush." That'd be just as scientifically predictive of a survey as the county level numbers from the exit polls.

And that's putting aside for a moment that exit polls aren't even designed to be predictive regarding who will or won't win a state, much less a county. The exit poll is a statistical tool used to measure the reasons why people vote the way they do, not to predict the final outcome.

Is it possible that the Ohio results were brought about by fraud? Sure. It's also possible that George W. Bush will tomorrow come out in favor of gay marriage. But given the evidence I've encountered, I see no reason to believe either is remotely likely.
1564  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Is America going down the religous path to much on: November 30, 2004, 04:11:06 PM
Quote from: "SuperHiro"
3) While I find that there has been a lot of just plain bizzare cases brought on by the left-wing groups... I find it troubling that many people (I'm not using this forum, I'm drawing from all sources) are using this election as some sort of vindication against a left-wing agenda.

Particularly when it was so close. Three percent does not a landslide, or even a real mandate, make. I think people believe this was a landslide for the right based on the Senate results, which are much more about regional repositioning that began 40 years ago than about the particular issues of the day today.

The way some people are talking, you'd think we were living under the oppression of universal health care and forced to have homosexual relations with multiple partners.

God, I wish.
1565  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Is America going down the religous path to much on: November 30, 2004, 03:55:47 PM
Quote from: "Qbert"
Unfortunately, I don't have links because I don't care enough to keep track of everything that has been reported.

If you can't back up allegations, then I don't see any value in discussing them.

As for exit polls, your wrong there, exit polls showed Kerry ahead in counties that Bush won.

At the county level, exit polls are not representative samples and therefore are worthless when it comes to determining who should win said county.
1566  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Is America going down the religous path to much on: November 30, 2004, 02:52:43 PM
Got a New York Times article detailing this rash of problems? Washington Post? Hell, the LA Times? I've been moving and travelling a lot these last weeks, so I could have missed it.

And an error is harmless if it is caught and corrected by the people who are supposed to review the results immediately after the election, as the error that was widely reported was. Wheres your credible evidence of errors that have not been corrected?

Do not call me naive. I am a very cynical person. But just because I don't wear a tinfoil cap and go apeshit over stuff printed in weblog or by those should-be-dragged-out-and-shot embarassments at Democratic Underground doesn't make me unserious when it comes to protecting our election processes. I've been a vocal and early agitator against allowing Deibold to make voting machines and for requiring user-verified paper trails.

But based on the available polling data, both pre-election and exit polls, there is no firm reason to believe that the 2004 presidential election was stolen. And until a serious journalistic entity publishes compelling evidence of such malfeasance, I'm not going to find Internet ranting persuasive.
1567  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Is America going down the religous path to much on: November 30, 2004, 04:07:12 AM
Quote from: "Qbert"
I've yet to see a credible source detailing the so-called major voting discrepencies.

Have you not heard on the news (no, not blog websites…actual news), that there have been more votes in some counties than registered voters?  
No, your right, there’s nothing fishy going on.

Thanks for the condescension, it does wonders for your case.

I've read about the county where the voting was all out of whack, and caught by election workers the next day. It was a fairly harmless goof, and was quickly recognized. Such accidents happen in all voting systems. I suppose if I wanted to go hunting for conspiracies I could get all paranoid that the voting officials recognized and corrected an error.

When a credible print publication does a study that shows a systemic pattern of voting errors in areas that use electronic ballots, then I'll be all up in arms. For now, I think I'll play it cool.

Bush won. It's not the end of the world, it's just the end of an election.

We'll get them next time.
1568  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Is America going down the religous path to much on: November 29, 2004, 02:54:40 AM
I've yet to see a credible source detailing the so-called major voting discrepencies. As to the machines themselves, I support electronic voting, but only if confirmed paper receipts are printed and stored for all recount purposes. Elections are too important to leave in the hands of Microsoft Access (which Deibold machines use for tallying vote data).

We have in the country a crisis of legitimacy regarding our elections. This recent election helped that scenario a bit, but I don't think we'll truly be where we need to be until we have one national standard. The "Help Americans Vote Act" did little of the sort. We need a Federal standard for electronic voting machines, one which mandates openly available source code for the systems so that members of all parties can inspect it, and which also requires the creation and retention of user-verified paper trails. This will be costly, and clearly the only entity capable of picking up such a nationwide tab is the Federal Government. However, the legitimacy of our elections is the most critical element to the continuing of our democratic culture, so I think such money would be well spent.

It bothers me that Republicans seem so disinterested in this issue. I do not buy into conspiracy theories. But their nonchalance regarding the core of our democratic system is disturbing to say the least. One would hope that this could be a point of unity and bipartisanship upon which to build a less acrimonious governing situation in Washington. One would hope in vain, it seems.
1569  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Is America going down the religous path to much on: November 28, 2004, 07:04:20 PM
Quote from: "whiteboyskim"
The country is becoming more conservative, but I wouldn't consider it any more religious than it normally is.

This isn't reflected in any data. On actual issue questions, which deterime the left/right lean of the public politically, Kerry beat Bush in every category but the war on terrorism and taxes. Kerry, the not-really-left-but-more-left-than-not candidate, won political independents and political moderates. The share of the electorate that is conservative rose in 2004, but because the GOP won the turnout ground war, not because of any major swaying of the electorates political leanings.

Bush is a guy that stands up for what he believes and follows through on what he says

Oh. What. Ever.  Bush has "flip flopped" on countless scores of issues during his presidency. Free trade. Education. The proper use of American military forces. Just this past week he switched positions on overhauling the intelligence system. Bush is at least as inconsistent as the caricature conservatives drew of Kerry was.
1570  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Soft water?! ARGGGHHHH! (New Apartment Woes) on: November 17, 2004, 10:07:17 PM
Mitch, I got your back.
1571  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Soft water?! ARGGGHHHH! (New Apartment Woes) on: November 17, 2004, 07:58:31 PM
The complex itself softens the water as it comes in. They filter it (I hope they're not also taking out the flouride, I like having strong teeth). It tastes funny out of the tap.

There's no resident's association, and I'm not sure if our lease allows us to set one up. In any case, the building is only 11% occupied so far (80% leased out, though), so there aren't many of us to go complainin' and I don't have many immediate neighbors.
1572  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Soft water?! ARGGGHHHH! (New Apartment Woes) on: November 17, 2004, 07:25:55 PM
If it comes out of a well it is almost certainly hard water.
1573  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Soft water?! ARGGGHHHH! (New Apartment Woes) on: November 17, 2004, 05:28:49 PM
I've lived in Dallas for most of my life, actually. But most of that was up in the (ahem) Park Cities. I used to live in the Village off of US 75. Now I'm down at 1001 Ross Avenue.

Yay, my swank new bed from Crate & Barrel just arrived. This makes me happy enough to ignore the limp water in this place for a few days. When in doubt, surround me with pretty new things.

And for the record, if you're a gay man complaining about soft water, don't describe the water you like as being "hot, hard and strong," because people will look at you funny.
1574  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Soft water?! ARGGGHHHH! (New Apartment Woes) on: November 17, 2004, 05:04:31 PM
The water in Lawrence, KS, is definitely soft.

Soft water is, basically, water that has a low levels of mineral content, while hard water includes more minerals. Hard water can dry out your skin (so it's bad for my exema), but it is also much better at getting things clean since it has a bit of "grit" to it. With soft water, I feel like I have to scrub to get soap off my body.
1575  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Soft water?! ARGGGHHHH! (New Apartment Woes) on: November 17, 2004, 03:55:39 PM
So I moved into my new apartment in downtown Dallas. I love the view. I love the new floor layout. I love that I'm the first person to live in my unit.

But I hate my bathroom. Not only is the bathtub too shallow to take a bath in (it's like sitting in a not-quite-waist-deep puddle), not only does water get EVERYWHERE when I shower (am I supposed to spend 15 minutes sopping up water every morning?), not only does water puddle up and not totally drain out of the tub -- but every day I've felt a bit less clean that I should after my shower.

And then last night I noticed that my clothes had a ... greasy ... feel when coming out of the washing machine.

And today I learned the truth: the bastards soften the water. They take Dallas' beautiful, hard, deliriously perfect water and ruin it by stripping it of its strength and vigor. The water in my apartment is a tepid, slimy mess. Soft water. I hated living in Kansas because of the soft water, and now I'm paying for the "luxury" of water that doesn't do the job.

I could put up with the structural inanities of the bathroom -- layer up towels on the flat surfaces, squeegee quickly, keep the water running while taking a bath -- but the soft water is unbearable. Had I known about this (I wish I had known to ask) I would never have signed a lease at this place. I love taking showers, or at least I did. But what good is a shower that doesn't really make you feel warm, doesn't really get you clean, and that leaves you feeling slimy?

My new place is fabulous. Beautiful. But I because of this, I wouldn't recommend the complex to anyone. Ever.
1576  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Anyone reading "Identity Crisis"? (SPOILERS FOR IS on: November 12, 2004, 02:41:53 AM
Yeah, it points to Atom. But the current thought is that it might not be Ray, but Jean. She did have access to all his patents. Perhaps her own exposure has given her sort of a complex about superhero family members, and she wants to punish the entire world she's tried to escape? Or something?

I dunno, but I can't wait until issue 7!
1577  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Balance vs. Bias in the Media on: November 11, 2004, 09:10:51 PM
Yeah, this nonsense notion of "balance" which is let Side A have their say and then let Side B have their say is entirely why (television, mostly) journalism in modern America is so problematic. The news media SHOULD have a bias -- a bias towards empirically verifiable truths. The print media still does a pretty good job of this, particularly more thoughtful publications like the New Republic.

But treating "Intelligent Design" and evolution as if they were equally potentially valid and equally deserving of consideration is absurd. One is science, the other is religion dressed up in a funny outfit.

We need to find away to re-instill a passion for the truth for the sake of truth, right for the sake of being right and a desire to tear down those who lie and mislead in our media. People who try to support such absurd notions as creationism/ID, geocentricism and the like should be TERRIFIED of the media, for the media should be all about tearing apart arguments and showing who's right, not just reporting what talkingheads have to say.
1578  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Anyone reading "Identity Crisis"? (SPOILERS FOR IS on: November 11, 2004, 08:09:42 PM
Well, that's actually the thrust of this story, the secondary characters, whose identities are often more public and who are often a lot more "human" than Superman or Batman. The writer does a very good job of getting you up to speed. I had never met the Elongated Man's wife before issue 1, but I was able to follow the story and understand that she played a role in an earlier incarnation of the JLA back in the day.
1579  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Anyone reading "Identity Crisis"? (SPOILERS FOR IS on: November 11, 2004, 07:26:39 PM
I don't know if there are any other comic book fans around these parts, but if there are I'd love to discuss this series. I've been phenomenally impressed with this story -- the pacing, the interaction between the characters, the giving of due to minor and background characters, the emotion raised by some of the deaths. And now, the incredible climax of the next-to-last issue -- little bitty footprints, huh?

DC typically reserves the word "CRISIS" for really big events nowadays, and I think this series has lived up to that. But I'm always interested in what other people think. The moral issues being raised in the series (the JLA has been systemically erasing events from the memories of villains... and other members... for years) and the changes it's going to bring to the wider DCU (Jack Drake is dead, Elongated Man's a widower, the Atom may be... no, surely not... but still... little bitty footprints...). Comics are a mythology in and of themselves, and I find them interesting to consider from that perspective, as something that reflects back on the wider culture.

So, I may be wasting my typing here, but if anyone has any thoughts on this series, I'd love to get a conversation going...
1580  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Ban on Gay Marriage a winner in 11 states. on: November 11, 2004, 05:50:17 PM
Unless the Republicans can whip together another 15 GOP Senators in the next couple years (not bloody likely), the Federal Marriage Amendment will never pass. You've got anywhere between 3 and 7 Republicans who won't vote for it, and after this election only one Democrat, maybe, who will. 55-3+1 is not 67.

The odds are equally long in the House of Representatives.

State Constitutional amendments are more problematic because they are generally passed by votes of the people and it is always -- ALWAYS -- dangerous (and evil) to put the rights of a misunderstood and widely maligned minority group up for a vote. If you had put interracial marriage up for a vote in 1955, it would have failed across the nation, and in many places states would have voted 90%+ in favor of banning it. Even today, gay marriage bans aren't getting that sort of support.

And as the most anti-gay members of our population age and die off (there is a large age-based cleavage on this issue), they're going to start to fail, and then start to get overturned.
1581  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Ban on Gay Marriage a winner in 11 states. on: November 11, 2004, 04:42:02 PM
Quote from: "Butterknife"
farley -- I learned the same thing you did.  But democracy, and voting, is a "will of the majority" system.  If they didn't want the majority to make the decisions, they shouldn't have allowed people to vote.

The Bill of Rights is there to counterbalance the system (checks and balances, remember).  It protects the minorities from the will of the majority.  Note, though, that certain things people think are their rights are not specifically stated in our laws as a right, and so therefore are not actually protected from the will of the majority.  Marriage is one of these things.

Rights need not be specifically enumerated in the text of the Constitution in order to exist and be recognized. Marriage is a recognized inalienable right of adults in our society -- read Loving v. Virginia.
1582  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Ban on Gay Marriage a winner in 11 states. on: November 11, 2004, 04:40:47 PM
Quote from: "Butterknife"
No more bigoted than making a law against murder.

Murder hurts other people. The fact that I'm gay doesn't hurt anyone. The fact that my gay friends Han & Luke (names changed to protect the not present) live together, have a life together, own property and function as a couple together, does not hurt anyone.

However, the bigotry of people who voted for these Hate Amendments does hurt me. And it does hurt my friends. A few years ago, Luke was deathly ill. The hospital refused to recognize Han's power of attorney in such situations, and wouldn't even let him go back and visit Luke, much less make medical decisions for him. They had to track down Luke's aunt, and then they were shocked... shocked I tell you... that the aunt reamed them out for not listening to Han.

Bigotry and malice is clearly present in this debate, but the good, moral, law abiding gay Americans are the victims of it, not the Christians and other fanatics who are seeking to impose their way of life on everyone around them.
1583  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Ban on Gay Marriage a winner in 11 states. on: November 11, 2004, 04:37:56 PM
Quote from: "Laner"
Because the gay lobby has already shown they will not settle for "civil union".  They want to redefine marriage to mean whatever the heck they like... to the point of it meaning absolutely nothing.  Which is the ultimate goal.

DO NOT ASCRIBE SUCH MOTIVATIONS TO ALL GAY PEOPLE. The gays I know, including me, do not want to see marriage become "absolutely nothing," we want it to endure and grow to become more than it is today. We support marriage. We do not seek to destroy marriage. We wish to be married because it is an institution that we value, because we hold the same wishes, dreams and goals as any other Americans -- to find a person we love, build a life together (and marriage is designed to make it possible for two people to build one stable life together) and to be a family (with or without children, just like straight people).

Are there some gays who would like to see all vestiges of the current marital culture destroyed? Certainly. But there are also scores of virulently anti-marriage straight people, and in terms of sheer numbers undoubtedly far more of them.

There is no single "gay lobby," just as there is no "gay lifestyle." I think you'll find that most of us would gladly settle for "civil unions" if it means having access to a societal framework which legally supports our relationships.

We want to be able to visit our loved ones in the hospital, which is often reserved only to family members.

We want to be protected from being forced to divulge the contents of our most private conversations in court, just as husbands and wives are protected.

We want to be able to pass on our belongings to the person we've built our life with tax free upon death, just as spouses can, so that the life we build can endure for our loved ones (including children) should tragedy befall us.

We want to be legal next of kin, with unquestioned ability to make decisions legal, medical and otherwise for each other should one partner become incapacitated or gravely ill. Some would say "set up powers of attorney," but those do not provide a guarantee, and when it comes to gay couples there is a history of such arrangements being broadly ignored.

We want second parent rights for each other's children, for the same reasons.

Mainstream gay people are just like the rest of you. We're not perverts, we're not fundamentally immoral, we're not evil. We do not prey on children, we do not "recruit," for that's just simply impossible. We cannot make ourselves "not gay," if that were possible we all would have back in our teens -- but we also now recognize that we're just as valid, just as moral and just as deserving as anyone else of full societal recognition and protection. We're not hiding anymore, we're not going to be ashamed anymore, and you can't bludgeon us back into the closet with condemnation and bigotry.

We work in your offices. We go to your churches. We have kids in your schools... and we also teach your kids in the schools. We live on your block. We pay our taxes. We serve in the military. We love our country just as much as any heterosexual. We are, by and large, just like you.

We're not the drug addled, sex crazed misogynistic predators our enemies make us out to be, and perhaps that's what scares them the most.
1584  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / iPod Photo Ad Campaign (May Not Be Work Safe) on: October 27, 2004, 06:47:44 AM
Apple's getting a bit risque. ;-)

Yes, yes, straight porn would be more appropriate. But... ummm... I don't have any.[/img]
1585  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Thinking of buying an Apple computer on: October 24, 2004, 06:12:08 AM
Quote from: "Lee"
256 megs is not enough though. I will soon be popping in another gig of memory. The built in speakers are good, but I will need something with a little more base. Oh and I hate the one button mouse, it's just silly.

I don't mind the one button mouse, but I use a multibutton Kensignton Studio Mouse instead. I'd recommend it highly.

As for a Web browser, I use OmniWeb 5.1[/quote], which is the Safari rendering engine in a more featureful browser application. It's not free, but I've found it to be very much worth the price.

I also use Safari a lot, and I think very highly of Firefox.

Don't use Internet Explorer.

Glad you're happy with your overall experience. smile
1586  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Thinking of buying an Apple computer on: October 20, 2004, 09:57:30 PM
Is it an external hard drive? Because, yeah, a Mac can read an external Windows formatted hard drive (at least, in my experience). Of course, the system disk has to be HFS+.

And yes, if you plug in your iPod, it will/should format and work for the Mac. However, you need to move all your music to the Mac first, or else it will wipe it all off the iPod (which is a one way only syncing device, recall).

As for where to purchase, check out or They typically have Apple's MSRP, minus a few bucks, but invariably throw in freebies like RAM or a printer or something.
1587  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Thinking of buying an Apple computer on: October 20, 2004, 07:30:33 PM
You know, Mitch, the way I burn through these things, I woulda been happy to hook you up with one of my previous Macs at a very reasonable rate, installment plan and all.*

* - installment plan includes very onerous interest rates, but what's 27% monthly compounded interest between friends? smile
1588  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Thinking of buying an Apple computer on: October 20, 2004, 07:00:57 PM
Quote from: "Lee"
I think a 17" 1.8ghz iMac would be good with 512 megs, but can I add another 512 easily when I have the money to do so? iMacs look like they are hard to upgrade. Can you even upgrade them once they are built? I can't add a hard drive but can I upgrade the hard drive at a later time?

Would that iMac run Adobe Photo Elements good? Maybe I should forget photo editing on it and leave that for the PC?

That would run Photoshop Elements extremely well. PSE ran well on my old 800 MHz G4 iMac, I suspect it will fly on the newer model. As for upgrading, the previous poster was correct, this is the most expandable iMac ever, though some upgrades would likely void your warranty. Still, you just pop off the back (screws, I think) and you've got complete access to the logic board. It's almost as clean a design as my G5 tower.

If you already have a nice screen, you might want to look at the new $1,499 Power Mac G5. Similar speed to the new iMacs, but with upgradable video, more RAM slots, 3 PCI slots and a space for a second internal hard drive.

1589  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Thinking of buying an Apple computer on: October 20, 2004, 04:24:21 PM
There is security in obscurity. However, if Windows shipped with the sort of default security the Mac does, if ports were closed, if programs required authorization, if most log ins didn't run as effective root accounts -- ie, the sort of stuff they're beginning to do in earnest with Windows XP -- then the deluge of malware faced by Windows users wouldn't have crested quite so high.

As advantages go, this is a receding one for Apple, as Microsoft is finally taking security seriously. But the major sticking point continues to be the need for Administrator access to run many software packages. Until Microsoft starts shunting people into less powerful user accounts by default, or gets very serious about blocking software launches not specifically requested by end users (through lots of authorization pop up windows, like in OS X), Windows users will continue to be at risk in a way Mac users are not.
1590  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Thinking of buying an Apple computer on: October 20, 2004, 03:32:08 PM
Quote from: "Laner"
And that's precisely the attitude I'm talking about.  

So you're saying there are no holes anywhere that can be exploited?  The dozen or so security updates I've installed this year seem to say otherwise.  Not running as root doesn't guarantee anything.  Yes, it's *more* secure, but it's not foolproof.

Pride goeth before the fall, and all that.

It's not pride, it's a security model that's been tested and retested for 20+ years. While it is possible for a virus to destroy all of a user's documents, sure, it is staggeringly unlikely that some hacker out there is going to find a hole in the tried-and-tested Unix security underpinnings of the Mac OS.

Again, the most destructive piece of malware to ever come out for Mac OS X has been the iTunes 2 installer.

On top of the permissions model, software that is being launched for the first time other than by direct user activation must prompt the user before it can run. Software that will make changes in any way to the system or library files must receive an administration password before it can run, even if the administrator is the active account. This stuff just isn't going to happen suddenly like it does on Windows, which is by default pretty insecure (SP2 is much better in my experience).

Also, with no ActiveX, there's no environment for web applets to install software. Mac OS X ships with all network ports closed and it requires an administrator password to open them.

I run Virex on my Mac, but I've never needed it. However, Macs can be virus carriers when it comes to things like Word macro viruses. Our lab at the newspaper used to be infested with a Word virus. It couldn't harm our Macs, but folks had to save files out as RTF to strip away the macros before taking documents to Windows machines.
1591  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Thinking of buying an Apple computer on: October 20, 2004, 06:37:44 AM
Not likely, no.

The problem isn't just the emulation slow down, it's the fact that Virtual PC does not hook into the Mac's native video hardware, so you're running  atop an emulated, baseline, non-3D enhanced, "shared memory" virtual video controller. Video performance in Virtual PC sucks. For using an Access database, or running an old DOS game (I run a presidential election emulator from the 1980s on Virtual PC at my office sometimes), it's okay. It's also quite useful for checking what a web page will look like on the majority platform. But in no way is it usable for Windows based games, or even advanced DOS based games.

Microsoft wanted to fix this in Virtual PC 7, which came out last month, but they had to change their schedule of features for that release when Apple rolled out its line of 64-bit computers. Virtual PC 6 couldn't run on a 64-bit machine, so that became the priority.

I'm hoping that Virtual PC 8 will include better native video support, but even then games on a low end Mac through emulation would be a pain in the butt since Apple doesn't precisely use high grade video cards in their low end machines (even their high end machines typically have middling cards).

Macs simply aren't gamer rigs. They're very good at what they do, but that's not really what they do.
1592  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Where you're sitting right now.. let's see it! (56k beware) on: October 20, 2004, 05:55:53 AM
Here's my place. It's messy because I'm moving in a month, so it's like "ehh, why pick up?"

1593  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / What's the last thing you've copied and pasted? on: October 20, 2004, 05:43:55 AM

I was pasting the URL of an RSS feed into my aggregator. At work, the last thing I remember copying and pasting was "Scott Mechlowicz"... cause I was wanting something pretty to look at to get me through the harsh, cold misery of my workday.
1594  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Thinking of buying an Apple computer on: October 20, 2004, 05:38:07 AM
Quote from: "Lee"
I am thinking about getting a Mac too. My problem is I don't want to put a major investment into it, but I don't think I could handle the 17" eMac monitor. I am debating. I basically want the Mac for music, web surfing, and picture editing. I want it to be my daily use computer and my PC to be my game computer. Problem is Mac's aren't cheap.

Get the new iBook G4. It's $999 and has a 12" screen, but they're the best computers I've ever used. I love my iBook G3, and use it almost exclusively for writing, in lieu of my Power Mac G5 or my HP laptop. The low resolution (1024x768) wouldn't be a crimp in anything you plan to do, with the possible exception of image editing. Though I happily used Photoshop on an iMac at that same resolution for almost two years.

I'm a big proponent of OS X. It's gorgeous, extremely easy to use and rock solid, since it's built on top of Unix. Apple has achieved the sort of desktop usability in OS X that the Linux folks have been struggling to grasp for over a decade. The bundled software (Mail, Safari, iTunes, iCal, iMovie, Garage Band, iPhoto) covers the vast majority of what an average user would do with their machine... even some productivity stuff if you're happy with TextEdit, the Word-compatible rich text editor that ships with the OS.

There's also a great deal of commercial-quality shareware available for the Mac which is rarely seen on store shelves but which makes up a major portion of the Mac environment. Nisus Software's Nisus Writer Express is a great Word replacement that does the stuff that Word does that 90% of us use, but with less kruft and a better UI, and it saves by default in the Word-compatible .rtf format. Apple's Keynote is the same thing for PowerPoint.

I've been a Mac user for well over 10 years, and would be happy to offer help/advice/whatever you or the OP need regarding a Mac purchase.
1595  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Thinking of buying an Apple computer on: October 20, 2004, 05:15:18 AM
Quote from: "Laner"
Personally, I don't think it is.  There's nothing wrong with OS X, but it's certainly not the computing nirvana that the Macolytes claim.  It does some things better than Windows, and it does some things worse than Windows.  Some people will point to the lack of viruses and spyware, but honestly they're not a problem on my Windows machines either.  And if there ever is a serious OS X virus, it's going to tear through Mac systems like tissue paper because no one is protected.

That's unlikely. By default, every Mac system is protected because it has inherently more security, due to the very tight Unix permissions model. Most Windows users run in the equivalent of Root mode, which is not an active option in Mac OS X. There is no way a virus on your Mac could actually damage the Mac OS without you giving it explicit permission to do so, and even then the damage it could do would be very limited.

Of course, a virus could destroy all your documents, but hell, a bad iTunes 2 installer used to do that. slywink
1596  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Sell me on another browser than IE on: October 15, 2004, 07:12:53 PM
Bar none, the best web browser on the planet is OmniWeb. Preset workspaces alone are worth the price of the software... but probably not the price of the Mac required to run it.

So go with Firefox. It's fast, pretty and extensible. I've switched my entire 30-Mac, 5-PC company over to it, and everyone is happy. Except my boss. He's never happy. Which is good, because he's a mean old man.
1597  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / 007, you're fired!!!! on: October 15, 2004, 06:10:45 PM
Being realistic, I'm hoping for Jude Law.
1598  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Logins change from GG to CG? on: October 15, 2004, 05:54:15 PM
I was Kirk McPike at Gone Gold.

I'm still Kirk McPike, of course. But here, I'm not. Oooh, existential headache.
1599  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Occasionally, I'm ashamed to be a Canadian on: October 15, 2004, 05:51:00 PM
I like dogs. Any dog can be a good dog, if trained properly.

And if I had a dollar for every time I had sixty-cents, I'd be Canadian.
1600  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / LOST - 10/13/04 - HOLY CRAP!!!!! on: October 15, 2004, 03:47:16 PM
I totally saw the ending coming from the first shot in the episode where he's twitching his toes on the beach with a stunned look of joy on his face. I even called it out loud, so my friend Ferguson can vouch for me on that. smile

If Jack's hallucinating, that would explain the man in the suit. I also got the feeling that we'll be seeing the black woman's husband at some point. Perhaps there's another community on the island? Perhaps they could end up in conflict over resources/etc. We'll see.

Each episode is spanning 1 to 1.5 days, kinda like Twin Peaks. So if they keep that pace, our pals here may only be stranded on that island for a few months before the end of the series (provided they get rescued or escape at the end). That would help explain why they don't all grow really long beards and/or lose dramatic amounts of weight, but it would also limit the sort of building-our-own-civilization type stories they could tell.

There are something like 14 major characters, so I expect we'll be having a few more establishment episodes before we learn more about what makes this island so strange.
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