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William Kempf wkempf
  • Regions Bank is EVIL!

    phreaks wrote:
    Think about it, what is an overdraft?

    An overdraft is simply a short-term loan, there really is no other way to define it.

    No, it's not.  And I already explained why.  But let me elaborate for the slow.

    A loan is a transaction entered upon by two parties, where one party agrees to provide money to the other for a given interest rate.  If the loaner is tight on funds, he can simply choose not to make the loan.

    An overdraft is not a loan.  It's not agreed upon by the bank up front.  There's a middle man involved, to whom the bank has some responsibility to ensure he receives his money under reasonable circumstances, and so they pay him even though you don't have the funds to do so.  This is not a loan to you, this is a necessary (from the banks point of view) debt the bank undergoes to ensure it's reputation.  After this, the bank must extract compensation from you.  Again, this isn't a loan.  The compensation extracted must do three things.  First, it must cover the amount of the original transaction.  Two, it must cover the amount of money required to handle this transaction, which is larger than the normal amount because of the added burden of dealing with retrieval of money from you.  Third, they must provide a penalty large enough to disuade people from treating this process like a LOAN!  Oh boy, did I just make a point there or what!  Overdrafts put a bank in the position of not being in control of their own assets.  Loans do not.  Therefore banks are happy to make loans (for profit, of course), but are not so happy to have to cover overdrafts.

    Turn this around and pretend to be the bank.  Let's say you have a roomate.  He asks if he can borrow $10 to pay for a pizza delivery, that he'll pay you back for tomorrow.  This doesn't bother you, and you either lend it to him or not.  Now, let's imagine the next night he orders pizza again, but you aren't there, so he takes $10 out of your desk drawer or some other place you left money laying around.  You're likely to not be so happy go lucky about this, even if he pays you back the next day, now are you?  Why should a bank be different?

    phreaks wrote:

    The bank loans you the money and automatically pays it to the debtor. The bank doesn't have to pay them, they could simply refuse the charge, at which point the debtor that originated the charge is responsible for collecting the cash value from you.

    And the debtor then decides to no longer accept checks from the bank, because of the hassle involved here.  Not good for the bank.  So you've placed the bank in a bad situation.  They either pay the debtor and take on the responibility of collecting from you, or they don't and have the potential of ruining their reputation and losing business.  So, they choose to pay, but charge you a fee to deter you from putting them in this same situation again.

    I hate overdraft fees as well.  Especially large ones, when the overdraft is small.  And banks do play tricks to catch you in an overdraft (such as applying debits before credits), which is wrong, IMHO.  But you simply can't compare an overdraft to a loan.  They are not the same thing.

    phreaks wrote:

    The fee is the interest rate of the loan. That's pretty much how it works.

    Nope, the fee is not the interest rate.  Look above.

    phreaks wrote:

    In fact here is the definition from investopedia.

    Investopedia.com wrote:


    An instant extension of credit from a lending institution.

    Investopedia Commentary

    If you have an overdraft account, your bank will cover checks which would otherwise bounce. As with any loan, you pay interest on the outstanding balance of an overdraft loan.

    //edit to see if this will force a refresh on main page.

    No clue what Investopedia is, or if this is just something taken out of context.  But this in this context, this quote is simply wrong.  An overdraft charge is not interest.  It's a flat fee, it's charged once and not as an ongoing monthly charge.

    That said, many banks do have some form of "overdraft protection" which function more like a loan (no overdraft charge, but interest is accrued on unpaid overdrafts).  That might be what Investopedia is referring to.

  • Should Microsoft develop 'full cross-​platform support' or not?

    Wow, did you misunderstand what I said!

    evildictaitor wrote:
    Let C# and the CLR grow into a truly standardized platform/language,

    C# is already an ECMA/ISO standard. CLR cannot be changed between .NET major versions for technical reasons and exists only as CLR1.0 (.NET1.0-.NET1.1) and CLR2.0 (.NET 2.0 - .NET 3.5+). Since CLR is a binary low level language, the instruction set can be easilly obtained (there are 285 instructions, all of which are stack/call based).

    This means that C# and the MSIL cannot change at Microsoft's whim and both are therefore essentially hard-and-fast and open standards.

    Taken by itself, obviously my statement is not accurate.  However, go back and read the entire post.  I obviously know that C# and the CLR are standardised, since I said so numerous times.  The meaning here is the same as from Wikipedia, though I'm not purposely clouding the discussion with FUD.  The current problem with the standard is that it's not complete (missing necessary components, such as a GUI library, that Microsoft includes in their proprietary version but didn't include in the standard).

    evildictator wrote:

    including contributions from other vendors back into the standard.

    There is no evidence that a community created standard is any better than one which is set by a corporation and "finished". (See PHP versus ASP).

    I'm not calling for a "community created standard".  Obviously, since the standard is already created, and wasn't done so via "community".  What I am calling for is community participation NOW.  If Microsoft isn't going to provide implementations on all platforms, this is ESSENTIAL in order to ensure the standard actually can be implemented on all platforms in an efficient manner.  This doesn't mean willy nilly community contributions, like in many OpenSource projects.  I'm envisioning something more along the lines of other ISO standards, such as C++, where vendors of various implementations and other interested parties participate in a standards committee.  With out this, it's a little hard to consider .NET a full "cross platform standard".

    evildictator wrote:

    IOW, do what Java should have done from the very start.

    Please don't ask C# to become more like Java. C# is so much better than Java that Sun is now running to catch up.

    Oh jeez.  No one asked C# to become more like Java, least of all myself.  I can go on for days about the problems with Java, most of which have never existed in C#.  All I was doing was making a comparison between the processes used by the two.  Java chose to remain proprietary, but provided implementations on practically all platforms.  Microsoft standardized, but only provided a (supported) implementation for Windows.  I think that Microsoft's approach is better, but it will only work if an effort is made to truly make it a "full standard" by taking the steps I outlined.  Otherwise, despite technically being a standard, it will forever be viewed as a proprietary language/platform available basically only on Windows.  IOW, you have to fix the perception before the technical reality will be accepted.

  • Regions Bank is EVIL!

    phreaks wrote:
    jsampsonPC wrote:
    cisco.hernandez wrote:
    $130 for an overdraft fee!?  That's freakin crazy

    Actually, in their defense, I think they over-drafted me for three transactions of $2.50, $6.00, and $3.00. All of which were made while my balance showed a positive number enclosed in parenthesis.

    Even still $40 for an overdraft fee is ridiculous.
    Heck, Even $25 is crazily inappropriatte.

    Banks make so much money on overdraft fee's which are really just Very High Interest Short Term Loans, and really ought to be restricted to the same percentage points that Short term loans are...

    I don't agree.  A loan is something the bank chooses to do, an overdraft is out of their control.  You can't compare the two and conclude them the same.

  • Regions Bank is EVIL!

    Not to be rude, but:

    1.  That's accounting 101, and you should be aware of it.  This was taught to me in 9th grade math.

    2.  You should be doing your own accounting and not relying on a printed statement from your bank.  By not doing so, you're enabling them to do things that really would be evil, such as charging you for a transaction twice, or other things that could be construed as simple accounting errors.

    What Regions has done here is not "EVIL!", no matter how much it sucks for you (and I do sympathize, I've been there as well).

  • Should Microsoft develop 'full cross-​platform support' or not?

    1.  C# and the CLR are standards that anyone can implement.
       1a.  Rotor is a cross platform implementation of C# and the CLR created by Microsoft, so Wikipedia is playing with semantics here to produce FUD.(1)
       1b.  Mono is a cross platform implementation of C# and the CLR.
       1c.  DotGnu is another cross platform implementation.
       1d.  Silverlight 1.1 will contain the "Core CLR", which means that Microsoft will have another (supported) implementation that is cross platform (though the platforms supported will be Windows and Mac, with Linux support via Moonlight/Mono).
    2.  If Microsoft did create a cross platform version of the CLR that they supported, it's very uncertain that it would be accepted by the other platforms (especially Linux) for political, not technical reasons.  So why should they?

    No, I think what they did initially, by standardizing the CLR and C#, and what they did recently by contributing to and endorcing Moonlight, are better approaches than creating a Microsoft version of the CLR and C# that are cross platform.  I do think there's some things they should do to further this, though.

    1.  Standardize a GUI API.  WinForms is not appropriate for this (even though Mono is showing it's possible to implement) because the API is very Windows specific.  WPF would be a great cross platform API, though.
    2.  Standardize the other non-windows specific APIs, such as ASP.NET, WCF, WF, some of the security APIs, etc.
    3.  Produce test suites to verify an implementations conformance.  Work back and forth between these tests, the standards and issues found in various implementations to ensure compatibility.
    4.  Do more endorsing and collaboration efforts, such as what was done with Moonlight.

    Let C# and the CLR grow into a truly standardized platform/language, including contributions from other vendors back into the standard.  IOW, do what Java should have done from the very start.

    (1) The Wikipedia comments are technicaly correct, since Rotor doesn't include non-standardized libraries, some of which are basically essential stacks in order for a modern language/VM combo to be considered viable, such as a UI library.  But worded the way it is, it's FUD and not accurate.

  • Universal Translator

    evildictaitor wrote:
    wkempf wrote:

    I now hear predictions like this, and always think to myself "divide the lowest estimate by 5", and you know what?  That often turns out to be an accurate estimate!

    Funny, I always multiply by three, but maybe that's because I listen to optimisists and you listen to pessimists?

    For me, it depends on the timeline.  Less than 15 years in the prediction, and multiply by 3, because in the near time people seem to have a habit of underestimating.  More than 15 years, divide by 5, because they're really "guessing wildly" and it's likely that the natural progression of technology will cause unforseen break throughs.

    Obviously, though, this isn't an exact science Wink.

  • Universal Translator

    No reason for it to be flawless.  Just look at the universal translator in Star Trek, for instance.  It's highly flawed.  Very bad translations have been the basis of several story lines, both on television and in the books.  Despite that, it's a heavily used technology.

    When those speach recognition programs were rolled out and replaced operators, they were hardly perfect.  Only specific responses would be recognized, and then not 100% of the time.  In fact, failure rates were frequent enough that some customers would complain loudly about it.  Despite that, AT&T still rolled them out and never abandoned them.  Today, such "operators" are common place in many businesses, and we don't think anything of them, or get more than midly annoyed when we have to repeat ourselves numerous times in order to be recognized.

    No, perfection isn't required.  Just look at how many manuals are translated the hard way, and botch something badly enough to cause laughs and other such reactions.  We understand the source of the problem, and generally ignore gaffs in translations.

  • Universal Translator

    Again, experts in the field working on the subject matter, who had the best chance of predicting the timeline, got the speach recognition one wrong.  By a lot.  Technology increases geometrically, such that things we think are "impossible" today, are mearly difficult in a year, and a reality in 5.  There are so many things that are a reality today, that when I started in this field we were skeptical could even be done, much less in our life times.

    Everything you've said is true.  This is a very non-trivial problem.  Today, we have no idea how to even go about solving the problem.  But a break through in an unrelated area could change all of that in a very short period of time.  It's happened numerous times in the past, and it will happen numerous times in the future.

    I'm not predicting that the "universal translator" will actually happen in the originally predicted time frame.  Heck, like you I've got some amount of skepticism about it being done in our life time.  But experience has taught me to not make wild predictions like that.  If you're prediction has to stretch out more than 15 or so years, you're really just guessing wildly.  You have no real idea how long it will take.  You just know that we have no idea how to do it today.

  • Universal Translator

    Sven Groot wrote:

    Perfect machine translation. Currently automatic translation is laughably bad even on the most ideal inputs. Spoken text is often ungrammatical and contains colloquialisms and expressions. A machine translator must have an extreme amount of real-world knowledge to recognize these and map them into another language. We're not even close on this one. Personally I believe that  unless we can create a functioning replica of the human brain the amount of data and the type or reasoning needed to really do this without lots of mistakes will make this impossible. This will take 50-100 years at least, if ever. IMO, of course.

    I'm not dismissing all of your points, but this one stand out for me for some very personal reasons.  See, when I was a Freshman in College we had one of the pioneers of Computer Science who happened to be an alumn of our school come and give a very fascinating class room lecture.  This man was smart to the point of being scary, and had vast knowledge on a lot of subjects.  One subject he was very knowledgeable in because of a handicapped sister who could benefit from the technology was speach recognition.  He was aware of all sorts of research being done on the topic, and he was convinced that we'd have functioning software but it would take 25-50 years.  In fact, one of the commercial uses for it he was convinced would be replacing telephone operators.  We all walked out of the lecture and thought he was nuts for predicting this would be within 25-50 years.

    Four years later, while I was a Senior, AT&T was replacing operators in Fla. with a new computer system that employed speach recognition.

    I now hear predictions like this, and always think to myself "divide the lowest estimate by 5", and you know what?  That often turns out to be an accurate estimate!

  • Finally taken the plunge

    jsampsonPC wrote:
    wkempf wrote:
    Ray6 wrote:

    wkempf wrote:
     but concern over WGA isn't nonesense.
    This is the only operating system that can stop working properly due to problems at the owner's remote server.  Although I often bang on about the lack of real innovation on the Mac side, at least I know that I'm not going to be involved in some tech lottery when I switch it on, which is why I have started recommending them over Windows again.

    At least part of my point, exactly.

    Well then we should lump online-banking, onStar, netflix, and email in with this too, shouldn't we? I mean, they are wonderful things, but lets face it, they aren't as stable as going to your bank in person, calling a locksmith when you can't get into your car, visiting blockbuster to rent a movie, and sending your dear aunt Gertrude a post-card...


    You can't seriously be comparing any of those things to software.  More importantly, you're ONLY talking about availability here, while the issues I've discussed go well beyond that.