Framerates ( FPS ) in Neverwinter MMO on a Laptop

American debt and the consumer economy

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 I feel that the government, by promoting a “spend” mentality instead of a “savings” economy, has effectively doomed us to a debt crisis. It takes true willpower to enforce a savings plan, and stick to it, in our personal finances, but when individuals are prodded into spending verses saving as a government goal, we all suffer.

The next iPhone, the new tablets one MUST have, the second car, that house that you can barely afford, all add up, and in the end create a debt based economy. A debt based economy means that to keep up with the Jones family, both you and the Jones’ have to be constantly paying off credit cards, mortgages, cell phone bills,  and so on, never really saving up for any sort of emergency. Replace iPhone with a tank, and you see our governmental policy in a nutshell.

Oddly enough, the emergency may well turn out to be the inability of the  Federal government to service its own debt, which as of this writing is over 100% GDP. This number itself is hotly debated, as the actual debt the Government owes far outstrips the monies owed to sovereign countries. The US government owes trillions to the Social Security Fund, among other enforced savings plans whose balances were never meant to be spent, but rather saved so as to be used for the purposes intended by the enacting of those funds.

In short, we as Americans have a monumental task ahead of us: Pay off decades of misused funds and debt, while keeping our economy going as well as it can. And this is entirely doable, as the better our balance sheet, the more likely we are to be able to loan monies in the event of a disaster.

The current state of politics cannot and will not be able to enforce a debt reform package substantial enough to get the job done. Republicans wish to cut taxes drastically, while cutting entitlement programs that keep those in poverty housed, clothed, and fed. Cutting taxes at the expense of the poor just won’t put much money in the coffers, and will stress society to the breaking point. Not only that, but the GOP is always starting wars. For example, our most recent war has cost us over 3 trillion dollars, most of which I hazard to guess was borrowed from China and other, more economically sensible principalities. The Democrats have just the reverse problem: increase taxes to pay for increased entitlements, which is a zero sum game when it comes to paying down the debt. They also have a penchant for spending much more than there is money in the coffers, borrowing copious amounts of money, that when spent, has little long term investment potential. Neither party has substantial debt reduction as a major plank in their rhetoric.

Significantly increased taxation, and reduced spending is the only visible way forward in reducing national debt, however that road is fraught with seemingly intractable differences, with both major parties unwilling to compromise on core spending platforms, and a lack of desire to reign in pork barrel items passed as legislation.

” In general, debt held by the public increases as a result of government spending and decreases as a result of government tax or other receipts, which fluctuate in the course of the fiscal year”  – Wikipedia

It is a simple calculus: The more that is not spent, and the more revenue that comes in, results in less debt, since there is a surplus to pay said debts.

It is high time we as a nation stopped our credit card mentality and started focusing on maintaining a sound fiscal policy. If we don’t save when we can,  there is no way we will be able to borrow when we will need to. Seven years of plenty is nearly gone, and there is no grain saved.

My new Nexus 5

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This is my new Nexus 5 32 GB phone, using Ting, a Sprint MVNO as my provider.

I found the phone to be well made and filled with decent hardware. Stock Android 4.4 Kitkat is a breeze to navigate,  without any lags or freezes, and the combination of a Snapdragon 800 and a Vanilla OS makes it a dream even with the most demanding apps. 2 GB of memory helps keep things speedy as well.

I didn’t get a chance to try the 802.11ac WiFi yet, but the n protocol zips along fast enough in my apartment better than any of my other devices except my Acer laptop.

The Nexus 5 has proved to be a bit of a mixed bag in terms of usefulness. Near an outlet it is the best phone I have ever used, hands down… As long as there is an A/C outlet to charge the battery, that is. Google really needs to stop trying to be Apple and start paying attention to actual usage scenarios, such as a power user who wants to put the Snapdragon 800 CPU and 2 GB of RAM to proper use. In such a case you need a battery that can keep this massive powerhouse fed, but that is exactly what they did not do, effectively making this a non-mobile smartphone for anything more than voice calls and a minimal app load, if you need to get through a day without charging.

Other than the smallish battery, this phone is stellar. The Snapdragon 800 is overkill frankly: there is no app this phone cannot handle. The 1920×1080 screen is a delight, and the 2 GB of RAM is good enough that I can be a little bit sloppy when it comes to app management. This is something only my Nexus 7 let me get away with up until now, and I am happy with that since the whole point of a smartphone is apps!

I chose the 32 GB version fortunately, since Google Play Music All Access stores albums and songs in a data heavy format. The lack of an SD card is felt when I want to store more than a few albums for offline listening, which is every time I walk away from my WiFi. Google needs to stop treating SD like an ugly stepchild and realize that the micro SD card slot is considered a feature by most, and not a detractor. Again, trying to be like Apple too much for my liking.

I can’t really knock this phone in any way except for the battery and the missing SD card, everything performs flawlessly, and the design is quite sexy. Now that we know the Nexus 6 is only going to have a 5.2 inch screen,  there is little reason other than fashion to upgrade this year. I had been toying with the idea of upgrading due to a larger battery inherent with a larger screen, but now that the specs have leaked there is no compelling reason to upgrade. If you are reading this after the new phone is released, consider stepping down to the Nexus 5, which at your point in time will likely be had for a steal.

A 2.26 GHz quad core processor, 1080p 5 inch screen, 32 GB ROM and 2 GB of RAM for $423 after taxes plus shipping was too good a deal for me to pass up, honestly. Now to figure out how to make the battery last longer…

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USA TODAY: TSA cracks down on ‘dead’ electronics

From USA TODAY

TSA cracks down on ‘dead’ electronics

Don’t bring dead phones or laptops to those overseas airports for flights heading to the USA. Department of Homeland Security officials warned last week that security would tighten at airports where flights head directly to the USA but without providing much detail about how the scrutiny would change. But security officials said Sunday that the attention is focused on explosives that could be disguised as electronic devices. The Transportation Security Administration issued a statement Sunday saying that as part of its routine screening at the overseas airports with direct flights, checkpoint officers may ask owners to turn on devices including cellphones.

http://usat.ly/1m6hLKi

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The Relationship Between Pain and Addiction: A Short Essay

Originally posted on Mohadesa Najumi:

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Recently I have found myself pondering on the ways in which humans deal with pain. There are many theories and postulations on the way in which we manage, project and repress our trauma, but the statement that rings most true to me is this:

“The attempt to run away from pain creates more pain”

Studies show that when we feel emotional pain, the same areas of the brain are activated as when we feel physical pain. These feelings share much of the same circuitry in our system. Does this mean that a break-up can have similar repercussions on an individual as breaking a bone would for example? Perhaps it is more nuanced than this, but the point is that emotional pain should be not be undervalued in the affects it can have on the Self.

Everybody can relate to the idea of trauma. We have all suffered in our own ways and…

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HTC posts first profit in a year, despite decreased revenue

prestaeus:

Yay!

Originally posted on Gigaom:

HTC is making money again. On Thursday, the Taiwanese smartphone maker reported an unaudited NT$2.26 billion ($75.6 million) profit in the second quarter of 2014, its first since the same quarter last year. However, its NT$65 billion ($2.17 billion) revenue was not only on the low end of company guidance, but was down from the same time last year.

In the past quarter, HTC has released a few phones of note: the flagship HTC One M8, and a lower cost version with a plastic shell aimed at emerging markets, specifically China. It also launched a mini version of its flagship in Europe and Asia. However, according to the Wall Street Journal, HTC’s profit this quarter is due to cost-cutting measures, not increased handset sales. HTC has addressed supply chain issues, and, unusually for the one-time OEM, has started outsourcing some production to reduce costs.

While the HTC One M8 earned rave reviews

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YouTube reportedly in talks with indie labels to avoid blocking videos

prestaeus:

This all begs the question, why can’t I just watch an indie artist using the older method? Frankly, I can tell you that if I subscribe to YouTube music videos and I still have to watch ads, I won’t be interested in the service at all.

Originally posted on Gigaom:

YouTube (S GOOG) may not block music videos from some indie labels after all: The video service is currently in talks with the labels in question to strike a deal to include their music in its upcoming subscription service, according to a Financial Times report.

The paper had first reported two weeks ago that YouTube was planning to block the videos of five percent of all of its label partners  if those labels wouldn’t agree to also make their music available through YouTube’s upcoming subscription service.

Some indie labels have been holding out on striking a deal with YouTube because of what they believe to be unfavorable conditions; YouTube declined to comment further on the current state of the negotiations, according to Thursday’s Financial Times report, but told the paper that it has been offering all labels a fair deal consistent with what other streaming music services have to offer.

Of…

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Suspected double agent spied on German NSA committee for the US, reports claim

prestaeus:

Given how dumb we were to spy on Merkel, this guy is going away for a long time.

Originally posted on Gigaom:

A German intelligence agent has been arrested on suspicion of secretly reporting back to U.S. spies about the activities of politicians who are investigating U.S. espionage in Germany, according to Friday reports by Süddeutsche Zeitung and the broadcasters NDR and WDR, and Der Spiegel.

The targets, apparently, were members of a Bundestag (German parliament) committee that is examining the implications of Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations, taking testimony from the likes of NSA whistleblowers William Binney and Thomas Drake.

The individual arrested on the orders of the attorney general worked for the BND signals intelligence agency, Germany’s equivalent to the NSA, government sources told the news outlets. The 31-year-old was originally arrested on suspicion of having contact with Russian intelligence, but then apparently confessed to having reported back at least once to the Americans on the Bundestag committee’s activities. He reportedly did this for money.

The reports raise the possibility…

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Android this week: Software updates for all; Android Wear apps; Better battery life

prestaeus:

I honestly feel that phones and tablets I just are not built with a large enough battery. For iPhone users, this is a major problem. For Android users, especially on cheaper phones, thankfully the screen is larger and so battery size is larger, but they are still sold short by designers who feel a thin phone is a must. Until battery technology improves, we really should just put up with a beefier phone… It may not be as sexy, but it would be functional.

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Google(s goog) hasn’t been sitting idle since its developer event last week. Instead, it has started to push an update to Google Play Services out around the world for all devices running Android 2.3 or better. Aside from a few outliers, that’s the vast majority of phones and tablets running Android; Google’s way of improving Android without actually pushing a new version of Android.

Ellie Powers. Photo by Janko Roettgers/Gigaom

Ellie Powers. Photo by Janko Roettgers/Gigaom

The company did the same last year as it attempted to reduce the version fragmentation issues that have proved troublesome. This time around, devices are getting Google Play Services 5.0, which brings several new things to Android, no matter how old your device is. Included in the update are “Android wearable services APIs, Dynamic Security Provider and App Indexing, whilst also including updates to the Google Play game services, Cast, Drive, Wallet, Analytics, and Mobile Ads,” according to…

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Only Apple

I have yet to dip into the iOS world. I like to tinker with my devices and I am a big fan of Samsung and HTC, not to mention Google. At the end end of the day though, I can’t help but wonder what I’m missing. This article does little to dissuade my fears that I am missing out… Perhaps a 5.5 inch screen is the key?

 

http://daringfireball.net/2014/06/only_apple 

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