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FTC Proposes Do Not Track List For the Web

DeadPixels Re:Exceptions? (173 comments)

Of course. It also seems to me that in order to know who not to track, some tracking has to be done...perhaps better protections for anonymity is the trick, rather than a regulated list.

more than 4 years ago

Considering a Fair Penalty For Illegal File-sharing

DeadPixels Re:You are right, and wrong (728 comments)

$50-$1000 flat fee depending on the "degree" of violation, perhaps?
0-20 (~1 album): $50
21-60 (~2-3 albums): $150
61-100 (~4-6 albums): $300

It's more than the actual album would have cost (so if you just buy the music, it would have been cheaper) but it's not so unreasonable that it will drive you to bankruptcy.

more than 4 years ago

Free E-Books, With a Catch — Advertising

DeadPixels Re:Good Grief (194 comments)

I don't know about other people, but if an ad is particularly annoying, I make a note to remember that company so as not to buy their products. Granted, it works the other way as well; if I see a particularly unobtrusive form of advertising or hear about a company doing something good, I make a point to check out their products and suggest them to friends. Word of mouth for me is much more effective than annoying popups and obtrusive, pushy ads. Those just make me hate you.

more than 4 years ago

Xbox 360 Jailbreaker May Need Real Jailbreak

DeadPixels What kind of law? (359 comments)

What kind of law says it's okay to jailbreak the phone in your pocket, but not your gaming console?"

The kind of law "sponsored" by Microsoft, Sony, and other industry lobbyists.

more than 4 years ago

Assange Denied Swedish Residence On Confidential Reasons

DeadPixels Re:Motives (260 comments)

I mean if the US really could control every other nation on the planet like people on slashdot think then he would have had a tragic car accident long ago.

I have to agree. I know a former State Department official who was relatively far up the chain and he's told me the same thing: People tend to vastly overestimate the capabilities of the US, particularly on the intelligence and global influence fronts. I'm just surprised that so many people on /. seem to fall into the same trap of assuming that "The Government" can do these things while simultaneously going on about how stupid and inept various branches are.

more than 4 years ago

Duke Nukem 3D On Unreal Engine 3

DeadPixels Re:Cool (118 comments)

Major kudos indeed. I've never played anything by Gearbox but I'll be sure to check out what titles they sell as a way of saying thanks. When companies do things like this, I have no problem supporting them with purchases or at least a nice note and a recommendation to friends if their games aren't for me.

more than 4 years ago

Best Buy Unapologetic About Charging For PS3 Firmware Updates

DeadPixels I'm on the fence... (454 comments)

I see both sides here. The reason most people who are upset about this are bothered seems to be that it's something that seems trivial to them. On the other hand, to Johnny Layman, perhaps 'installing firmware' brings to mind Druidic runes and rituals beyond comprehension - so he takes it to his Best Buy and pays a fee to avoid having to do the work himself. The process is still simple, but what Mr. Layman is paying for is the peace of mind knowing that it is being done by 'professionals' (at least, supposedly). It's not really any different from when Grandma calls a tech support service (and pays for it) because her router needs reset. Sure, she could do it herself, but it's intimidating and there's a fear of 'breaking' something.

To go off on a tangent for a moment, I feel that this is honestly the root cause of a lot of problems when it comes to the typical user and computers. Most people who were around before or at the very beginning of the advent of computers are simply intimidated and say that they're afraid of breaking the computer. They don't know how they would 'break' it, there is just that ever-present fear of the computer somehow being destroyed if they touch it. I try explaining that it's really hard to actually 'break' a computer short of physically damaging the hardware and that when your data is backed up on the company network, there's really not a lot to be afraid of, but it's no use. You can walk them through it step-by-step, but if you don't physically sit down at the computer and do it yourself, they'll still be afraid of something going wrong.

more than 4 years ago

Iris Scanning Set To Secure City In Mexico

DeadPixels Re:Beware? (265 comments)

Why not legalize (most) drugs, but make penalties for crimes performed while under the influence of drugs automatically double, or at least much harsher? If you're going to do drugs, fine, but if you are going to be irresponsible about it, you will face much harsher consequences. Let those who can be responsible enjoy themselves, and let those who can't face the consequences. Don't want to take that risk? Don't do drugs. But if you gamble and lose, well, it's your fault. No point in punishing those who can be responsible users for your failings, right?

more than 4 years ago

US ISP Adopts Three-Strikes Policy

DeadPixels Re:Beat them to the punch (280 comments)

Many people are in your exact situation, and it's a tough one to be in. You'd like to tell them that you'll be taking your business elsewhere, but when they're the only ones who offer that service, you have no choice but to stick with them or go without. Perhaps you could send them a strongly-worded letter expressing the flaws in this policy and voicing your displeasure? If enough people make enough of a fuss, something might get done - particularly if the news outlets get wind of a 'big company exploiting the poor folks without any other options'.

more than 4 years ago

I can see X LEDs as I fall asleep. X = __

DeadPixels Re:None (480 comments)

I do the same thing, actually. It's more out of habit from when I had too many LEDs on one side of the room that were inconvenient to cover up.

Currently, I have about two or three: The microwave clock (I'm in a dorm) that I occasionally cover up, the light from where my phone charger plugs into the phone, and the smoke detector above the bed. There are a few other ones still on in the room (one videogame console, router LEDs), but those aren't visible from bed.

more than 4 years ago

Armed Man Takes Hostages At Discovery Channel HQ

DeadPixels Traditional media vs Social networks (1090 comments)

I first heard about this story through a Canadian friend. I'm a born-Marylander attending school elsewhere in the States and tried tuning into some local (as in Maryland) news outlets for info. Nothing. I assumed the national media wouldn't have much and I was right. My third stop, however, was Twitter, and it was there I found information, including the gunman's suspected identity, links to his webpage(s) and MySpace account, and the fact that he had protested outside Discovery in the past all before the local news had even picked up the story.

Several hours later, I sat down after coming back from class and checked the local news outlets. They were just now broadcasting some of this information, saying things like "We believe that the suspect may have been tentatively identified..." and interviewing bus drivers and people walking to Chick-Fil-A (that's not hyperbole either; those were actual interviews they aired) before finally turning to videos from YouTube.

Say what you will about Twitter's uselessness for most purposes, but when it comes to breaking news, it can be incredibly informative. Obviously you have to sift through more misinformation, but the news outlets don't vet the info they get either. They originally stated one hostage before refusing to state a number, finally coming up hours later with 3, and contradicting their previous statements several times regarding the number of shots fired, if any shots WERE fired, the number of hostage-takers in the building, their motives, etc. If you have a working bullshit detector and are able to sift through information fairly well, Twitter is a very good source for these sorts of events.

more than 4 years ago

Icons on my (computer) desktop:

DeadPixels 15! (384 comments)

I keep all of my icons in a sort of inverted L-shape on the left side of my desktop. I keep my browser on the far right side, and that takes up about 60% of the screen. IM windows go to the left of that - it's actually a pretty efficient way to manage screen real estate. The majority of the time, I can just click on any icon I need without having to minimize or drag windows.

The icons I have are basically things I use frequently or have to remember to keep on top of - OpenOffice, Photoshop, iTunes, Steam, antivirus programs, and then 3 folders that contain 1) school work, 2) side projects, and 3) any other links/msc data that I felt necessary to have accessible.

more than 4 years ago

UVB-76 Broadcasts New Voice Message

DeadPixels Re:Google map it (560 comments)

At 21:58 GMT on Christmas Eve 1997, 15 years after it was first observed, the buzzing abruptly stopped; to be replaced by a short series of beeps, followed by a male voice speaking Russian who repeated the following message several times: “Ya — UVB-76. 18008. BROMAL: Boris, Roman, Olga, Mikhail, Anna, Larisa. 742, 799, 14.

Seems like this isn't the first time there has been a similar broadcast. The names appear to be just a way of confirming the spelling of a message, like someone saying "that's A as in Apple". In this case, the message is 93 882 N as in Nikolai, A as in Anna, etc. Still interesting to think about what the purpose might be, though.

more than 4 years ago

RIAA President Says Copyright Law "Isn't Working"

DeadPixels Re:Translation: (473 comments)

We may joke about it, but that's very similar to how the RIAA goes about suing people. "Look, we think you stole songs, so we'll offer to settle for $5,000. After all, your legal fees would be much more than that anyway." The problem is that even an innocent person can't afford to fight. It amounts to extortion.

more than 4 years ago

Tensions Rise Between Gamers and Game Companies Over DRM

DeadPixels Re:One opinion (447 comments)

Personally, I have no quarrel with the way Steam is run. It offers me a great deal of convenience, some excellent sales, and the ability to download and play my games on just about any computer I want to. When I buy games digitally, I buy through Steam because I feel that they've done DRM "right", or at least well enough that I don't have any problems.

Steam's customer support has also been fantastic to me over the years. I sent them an email inquiry just this afternoon about a purchasing question and they responded within a few hours - on a Sunday. The response was polite, succinct, informative, and written in perfect English.

Valve itself has also done a great deal to command my respect. When I sent an email to a member of the Team Fortress 2 team regarding an issue with the game overlay I was having, I was put into contact with one of their programmers who examined some stack traces I sent over and helped troubleshoot the issue. Their executives also have a sense of humor and personally respond to emails frequently. Every single time I've contacted Valve and the Steam team, they've been respectful, helpful, and treated me like a customer rather than a criminal. As a result, I shop almost exclusively at Steam because I feel they've earned my loyalty as a customer. That is what I feel most software/music/movie companies fail to realize: if you treat your customers like criminals, they'll certainly consider acting like them.

more than 4 years ago

Google Starts Charging a Signup Fee For Chrome Extension Developers

DeadPixels Re:The $5 ... (132 comments)

I agree that this is probably part of it, but it's also probably to discourage people from registering tons of fake/malicious accounts to make malicious extensions. It's like the idea of charging a fee to send email - the reasoning there being that if it cost spammers even $0.01 per email, they'd cut down the volume to avoid losing money.

more than 4 years ago

ISPs Lie About Broadband "Up To" Speeds

DeadPixels Re:Sneaky, yes. Lies, not quite. (547 comments)

I actually like the parent's Doritos analogy - it's true when you think of it that way; there would be all sorts of uproar if physical goods were advertised and sold the way broadband is.
"Up to" a dozen bagels in your order, or "up to" two patties on your burger would never fly. And who would work for pay on an "up to" scale? I'm sure companies would be happy to pay someone "up to" four hundred dollars an hour.

Part of the problem, in my opinion, is the fact that a sizable portion of the population is not terribly computer-literate or technically savvy. They want "an Internet" or "a Google" or (my new favorite) "the Facebook" and don't really care much about how they get it.
The average end user, in my experience, has difficulty distinguishing between a slow computer and a slow connection. To many, they might as well be one and the same. I get asked for help all the time with people saying "my computer is slow" and it turns out they actually have connectivity problems. ISPs not only take advantage of that mentality, they count on it. I'm sure many of you have seen the commercials for those sites like "FinallyFast" or "MaxMySpeed" or whatever they're called, where they advertise a "free scan" to tell if you're "infected" or "experiencing registry errors", and by purchasing their product, you can avoid having to buy a new computer. That is basically the same demographic ISPs are targeting; the population that knows they want a computer and an internet connection but doesn't know much beyond that. I would honestly describe it as predatory.

I know I'll probably get modded down for not taking a more pro-capitalistic stance, but in my opinion this is a case where consumers are being taken advantage of - and there simply are no better options. It's very easy to say "vote with your dollar and don't buy their services", but an internet connection is critical for many people nowadays. I know several people who run businesses out of their homes using websites, VOIP lines, etc. For them, canceling their internet connection is just not an option. If there were an ISP that actually provided good service and had consumer-friendly policies, I would be more than happy to switch to their service and recommend all of my friends. The problem is that my options right now are "bad", "worse", and "even worse yet". Comcast blocks all torrent upload data in my area (disclaimer: I don't pirate content, but I do use torrents for FOSS/Linux downloads and similar uses); Verizon has declared that they plan to test a 150GB (if I remember correctly) monthly cap on FIOS in this area; and there's basically no one else around because they've been driven out of business or out of the area. Again, with the nature of the internet and the role it plays in communication and commerce, I would almost consider supporting it being regulated like a public utility, or at least with more oversight. It's all well and good to say "don't give them your money", but when I need the internet to obtain that money, I don't have many options.

more than 4 years ago


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