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The Fate of Newspapers: Farm It, Milk It, Or Feed It

Maestro4k Re:So? (167 comments)

so you end up with a single source for your news... that tells you all the truth about exactly what is going on in the world/your area.

Odds are that's already the case. In the county I live in we used to have 2 different city papers and a county-wide paper, all independently owned and managed. But that hasn't been the case now for probably two decades. They all got bought up by the same company, and were being printed by the same company and even shared staff. There was no independence between them, the only difference was that the paper for city A would run more stories about stuff that happened only in city A and the paper for city B would do the same for city B. Meanwhile the county-wide paper would run the most important articles that affected city A and B in it (repeating them) along with stuff that happened in other parts of the county. Of course the new managing company ran this into the ground so badly that at some point they started only running a weekly supplement for the two city papers and converted all the city paper subscribers to the county paper. Last year they killed the supplements. Not that it changed anything really, just a few less local news stories for city A & B.

This isn't a unique situation, it's been happening all over the country. If you want actual multiple sources for your news, you have to look to bloggers nowadays. And everyone knows the news here is biased, they hate the paper, but it isn't improving. If anything it's getting worse, including locking their online news behind a paywall that Murdoch would be proud of. (You can get headlines, nothing else, unless you subscribe to the paper. Yes, not even blurbs about the articles, only headlines. The site's completely useless.) Mainly people buy a copy if they're wanting to check the classifieds (but those have declined with the newspaper declining so even that's becoming uncommon). I figure the paper will completely fold within 5 years and it's unlikely to be missed.

For some reason, most of the newspaper industry seems to think dying revenues = need to double down and do more of the same. They're killing themselves off, it's less dying due to technological changes and more suicide.

more than 2 years ago

Apple Yanks Toddler's Speech-Enabling App

Maestro4k Re:But she still can... (573 comments)

Sorry but the sensationalism of taking away an app from a child that needs it just doesn't hold water. And the law, as best as the legal dept see it, must be obeyed.

What law? There's an ongoing court dispute that neither side has won or lost yet, and PRC did not ask the court for an injunction to order the app removed. That's notable, Apple didn't receive any order to remove the app, and the complaining company didn't even try to get one. That doesn't say "PRC has an airtight case and Apple could be liable" at all. It says "PRC isn't sure they can get an order and is worried it'll hurt their case if they try and fail, so they're doing an end-run around the judge in the hope that Apple will give them a victory."

This would still be a story if PRC had gotten an injunction, but it would be all about how big a jerk PRC is, not how big a jerk Apple's being.

On a side note, the judge very well may not react to this kindly, as it is an end-run around their authority. Judges tend to react poorly to that, this may backfire on PRC badly. Pissing off the judge is always a bad move.

more than 2 years ago

Amazon To Pay Texas Sales Tax

Maestro4k Re:Good thing I don't live in Texas (274 comments)

Also Tennessee, they managed to get some kind of arrangement with the previous governor that allows them to not collect sales tax (yet anyway, I don't know if it's only for a specific time period or indefinite). The current idiot of a governor was making a lot of noise about this last year trying to have the state renege on the agreement. Even if you disagree with the previous governor giving Amazon a waiver on collecting sales tax to get them to build a distribution center in the state it's insane stupidity to announce to the business world at large that Tennessee doesn't honor its agreements. He didn't get his way (beyond making noise and being an idiot), but I suspect we still won't be seeing any more large businesses consider building anything here in the future either. At least not until our current governor's out of office.

more than 2 years ago

Whistleblower: NSA Has All of Your Email

Maestro4k Re:anyone surprised? (478 comments)

Nah, that's just silly. State's rights are an economic and civil liberties issue; people want power to reside in a government that is closer to them than the Feds. No state is pushing discrimination, and no state WILL push discrimination... that's just an attempt to tie a movement you don't like to something nasty from a hundred years ago.

Tennessee's working hard on passing the so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill that would make it illegal for schoolteachers to discuss the fact that non-reproductive sex exists. They've successfully passed a law that allows teachers to attack scientific theories like evolution & global warming (but it's been obvious as hell it was all about the evolution, they just tossed others in there to try to prevent it failing a constitutional challenge). Missouri's also working on a "Don't Say Gay" bill. Mississippi's trying their damnedest to make abortion illegal and/or unavailable anywhere within the state for any reason. That sure looks like discrimination of 1. homosexuals, 2. non-Christians and/or scientists and 3. women to me. All pushed by state governments. I could find you more examples if I tried, but that should be enough. States can, and do, push discrimination all the time.

more than 2 years ago

Assessing Media Bias: Microsoft Vs. Everyone Else

Maestro4k Re:Microsoft Deserves It (364 comments)

The article gives Kinect as an example of Microsoft's innovation. If it was bought, then it's not innovative from within MS. It may be innovative for the company they bought, but not for MS themselves. The same would (and does) go for Android, the iPhone, etc. (And the person you replied to didn't suggest otherwise, or even mention those products, that was your own suggestion.) Pointing this out is not "pick[ing] on MS", it's simply pointing out a problem with the facts of the article.

On the other hand, holding Kinect out as an example of "innovation" shows a pro-MS bias because the Kinect wasn't actually invented internally at the company. MS may, or may not, be unfairly bashed. They may, or may not, be innovative. But this article's got issues and I don't think it proves anything other than the author's very pro-MS. The article should be taken with one very large grain of salt, as it's probably just shilling for ad views.

more than 2 years ago

Rearview Car Cameras Likely Mandated By 2014

Maestro4k Re:Winter/mud/etc. (652 comments)

But here we are in 21st century America, where a no brainer like a requirement for backup cameras becomes a political issue like taxes. You've said your part, maybe next up will likely be someone saying that if people can't control their children, then don't make ME pay for it! I think that if we tried to mandate headlights today, someone would be complaining about "Those Damn socialists telling us how we're supposed to outfit our cars!"

I don't think people would object so much if RV cameras were simply mandated as required in all new models. What's bothering people is the suggested mandate to require them in all vehicles, including existing ones. I can't think of any safety feature mandated in the past that was done this way. Headlights, seat-belts, airbags, etc. were all added as requirements going forward. When the cost is hidden in the price of a new vehicle, it's not a big deal to most people (and the cost is generally tiny compared to the actual vehicle cost anyway). When you tell someone driving a car that bought for $500 because that's all the can afford they have to add something costing $159-$203 to it, what do you expect them to do? Jump for joy?

I also don't want to see it mandated this way because ultimately, after numerous people raise hell about it, congress will decide to do a program to cover all or part of the costs for the retrofits, costing taxpayers more money than this will actually save. Require it going forward on all new models, but screw requiring it to be retrofit to every car on the road today.

more than 2 years ago

Dreamhost FTP/Shell Password Database Breached

Maestro4k Re:Only since last June.. (123 comments)

This has been going on since last June []. Dreamhost were completely unresponsive to reports that their services were being abused. Hey, it only took 'em half a year to figure out there was a breach..

Probably because that has all the hallmarks of a software PHP vulnerability web-hack of a site, NOT an FTP compromise. I've seen plenty of those, they use some vulnerability to gain access, then upload a file (through the web software) that gives them what's basically a PHP web-based shell. There's no need for the FTP account password to be compromised (and it usually isn't).

All web hosting companies get a lot of that type of attack because their customers don't all update and/or secure their sites properly. WordPress is a particularly popular target.

more than 2 years ago

Senators Recommend FTC Perform Antitrust Investigation Of Google

Maestro4k Re:Google? But not Microsoft? (315 comments)

Let us also not forgot that many GNU/Linux users are dual booting. I do not think many people use multiple search engines.

That's because Google almost always finds the result they're looking for, and does it better than the competition. If Google's results start sucking people will go use another search engine that provides better results.

It's telling that nearly every company complaining about Google excluding them from search results are the type of things that people don't want. They're, to be polite, middlemen, trying to milk you for ad views before you get to the actual destination you were really wanting. Adding another step between search -> result doesn't benefit the people searching. If Google's forced to leave them in it it'll destroy the value of their search engine almost overnight.

But the truth of the matter is this is congress sending Google a warning message. The real message is "You're not donating enough money to our campaigns, fix that or we'll destroy your business.

about 2 years ago

Why Google Is Disabling Kids' Gmail Accounts

Maestro4k Re:You get what you pay for (228 comments)

And I think this is really the fault of idiotic "think of the children" laws.

It is, COPPA's requirements are beyond onerous, COPPA is entirely responsible for the whole 13+ or go away divide on the Internet. If someone's 13+ then you don't have to do anything special. Under 13 you need special parental permission with proof of the parent's age (that's the whole reason they have to have a scan of an ID to reinstate the account, along with the parent's statement that they're the actual account holder allowing their child to use it under their supervision) to collect any data on the child. The penalties for not complying are pretty steep too.

In short, this isn't a Google problem, this is a COPPA problem. COPPA is a bad law, it's just starting to actual impact more and more kids nowadays because of social networking. People need to stop bitching about Google and go bitch at Congress to change the law. Going elsewhere won't help, the law's the same for any US company, they're going to disable (or delete) your kid's account if they discover they're under 13 too.

more than 2 years ago

Judge Orders Man To Delete Revenge Blog

Maestro4k Re:hipaa violation as well? (590 comments)

You have to question whether the intent was necessarily just to hurt her though. It could have also been, from his perspective, a way to defend himself from what he saw as slander from her. Clearly the judge didn't think so, but judges aren't infallible.

If you really think that's in question, you should read the article more carefully. This guy didn't just create this blog, he then went on to: "Under pseudonyms, Arlotta then promoted the blog to Johnson's family, friends, contacts and employer as well as some unaffiliated parties, like the local media." It's rather abundantly clear he created the blog simply as a means to harass her. It was simply there so he had something to pseudonymously point friends/family/employers/coworkers/etc. to so he could humiliate and embarrass her. The fact he was doing this with pseudonyms is the real nail in the coffin, he obviously knew he'd get in serious trouble quickly if his used his real name to do so. He was quite willfully violating the restraining order against him. Frankly he sounds really, really obsessed, and potentially dangerous.

more than 2 years ago

AT&T Issues Scathing Response To FCC Report

Maestro4k Re:Expectations. (215 comments)

Since things didn't go their way, did anyone really expect a different response from AT&T?

Did I expect them to suddenly agree? No. Did I expect them to disagree in a way that wouldn't antagonize the FCC? Yes. And it's gotten noticed already, as Ars Technica's article points out in an update:

The FCC doesn't appear to be very happy about AT&T's comments. In a comment made via the FCC's Twitter feed, Joel Guerin, the chief of the FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau said he was deeply concerned about AT&T's response to the release of the report.

This is likely to cause AT&T trouble down the line. Pissing off the officials who oversee your business is never a good move. Congress is unlikely to be impressed either.

more than 2 years ago

Schools Buy .xxx Domains In Trademark Panic

Maestro4k Re:there should be legislation (231 comments)

On top of that, I dare say that if a potential student is stupid enough to think that is the school's official website when it's obviously a porn site that the university doesn't need that student. They'd just flunk out in short order.

more than 2 years ago

Why Do So Many College Science Majors Drop Out?

Maestro4k Re:Oldest myth in the book (841 comments)

It's not the immigrants, it's the businesses. Many (perhaps not all, but a rather large percentage of them) use the H1B system to basically legalize indentured servitude in the 21st century. Job requirements are deliberately written up so there's as close to zero chance of finding anyone qualified other than the immigrant the company wants to hire. When that fails they'll bring them in under an H1B visa, but then often abuse them by paying them less than they would have to pay a US citizen, and/or make them work obscenely long hours that are nearly inhumane. They don't worry about the immigrant complaining to anyone or quitting because then they'd have to go back to their home country. (There is a grace period to find another job I believe, but H1B visa holders tend to be overworked so badly that there's no chance they can job hunt while doing their current job, and the grace period's far too short to start a job hunt from scratch.)

So no, it's not about immigration, if the immigrants were being treated equally to US citizens then everyone would benefit, immigrants included. But that'd pad the pockets of the high level management less so they don't want it to happen. In the meanwhile, STEM fields are largely a waste of time for US citizens now.

And no, you largely can't get a job on merit any longer. A large percentage of jobs are posted with their requirements tailored to specific people. Of the others they generally want a combination of skills and/or experience that a very, very small percentage of people will have, if anyone. (And not for lack of people being skilled and working hard, but due to unreasonable demands by the business.)

more than 2 years ago

Student Loans In America: the Next Big Credit Bubble

Maestro4k Re:Forgiveness at no cost? (768 comments)

On the one hand, this seems entirely fair, on the other, it sounds like a ticket to four cheap years at party U for people who intend to loaf and/or earn their income illegally / off grid for the next 20 years.

I think the number of people willing to live at poverty levels for 20 years so they can get 4 years of partying at a university, and that will actually follow through on it willfully, are very, very low. 150% of poverty level isn't a lot of money, you can't live high on the hog with that kind of income, not even single. And the type of people who'd actually consider living it up on borrowed money and then reneging just aren't the type to then go 20 years of scraping by so they can do so. Yes, there probably will be a few idiots out there who'll try it, but I think most will end up tempted by life itself to change in ways that bump them up past the 150% of poverty income. (Deciding they're sick of living on so little money, falling in love and getting married and/or deciding to start a family, etc.)

Making it impossible for those who end up in bad situations through no fault of their own to get out from under their student loan debt just to prevent a few idiots from doing something like you suggested isn't a good solution. That's part of the reason we're having this mess now, we overreacted to the people who intentionally declared bankruptcy to get rid of student loans they never intended to pay and made it so people who were legitimately struggling could no longer get out from under them short of dying. Instead of being at either extreme, we need some middle ground.

more than 2 years ago

Anonymous Takes On a Mexican Drug Cartel

Maestro4k Re:Have the drug cartels met their match? (548 comments)

So anonymous takes out kiddie porn rings, exposes crooked politicians and cops and drug dealers ... someone want to remind me of how they're supposed to be the bad guys here when they're doing the jobs that the cops and politicians won't touch?

How about the fact that any list they release is likely to contain innocents because no one is perfect. And everyone on that list will be the target of the rival drug gangs, most of them will probably end up dead. Does that help you understand why Anon's not the good guys yet? Personally I find it disgusting that even if that list somehow contains only non-innocents (people who are part of the Zetas cartel or work with them) that it will result in actual deaths in the real world. Getting people murdered isn't how the good guys act, that's how terrorists (and ironically, drug cartels) work.

more than 2 years ago

Anonymous Takes On a Mexican Drug Cartel

Maestro4k Re:Have the drug cartels met their match? (548 comments)

International drug trade is pretty high-tech these days. If Anonymous was able to strike Freedom Hosting for child porn, they'll at least inconvenience places like Silk Road.

From what I understand Anonymous just attacked Freedom Hosting and the various CP sites on Tor through Tor itself. That only takes knowing the site's .onion address, which were apparently all listed on the Hidden Wiki. It doesn't take much high-tech knowledge to read a URL then DDoS it.

more than 2 years ago

Anonymous Takes On a Mexican Drug Cartel

Maestro4k Re:Identifying what exactly? (548 comments)

And the disadvantage is that if Anonymous gets names of innocent people on the list by accident, they've given them a death sentence (also all the non-innocents as well). The Zetas' rival gangs will probably kill (or at least try to) everyone on the list. Anon better be damned certain about those names they release, or they're no better than the drug gangs themselves, and will have bloodshed of innocents directly attributable to their actions. (Which will make it easy for the US government, among others, to declare Anonymous a terrorist group and start a serious crackdown.)

more than 2 years ago

After Six Days of Outages, BofA Claims It Hasn't Been Hacked

Maestro4k Re:Their lack of disclosure is very worrysome (315 comments)

It's not like there's a shortage of banks in this country to do your banking with.

Yes and no. If you want to have an account with a large national bank, pretty much all of them have jumped on the "charge a fee for using your debit card" bandwagon already. Regions did it recently, and in a very, very scummy way. They notified customers of the change with our statement for August, which arrived the first week of September, notifying us that the change would be effective in September, and first charged on the October statement. I had less than 2 weeks to get an account setup with another bank (I went with a local credit union, and am much, much happier, also charged much, much less for the privilege). As it was I barely got it done in time, needless to say I'm still pissed, even though I'm no longer a customer (nor will I ever be one again). Other banks have apparently given more of a 30 day notice of the changes, which is more reasonable, but still not exactly allowing for long-range planning. (Personally I think they should have given 90 days notice on the changes, that would give everyone time to change banks without causing problems.)

At this point, it seems like anyone that still has an account with BofA must be a moron.

Given the short notice these banks have been giving on dropping this new charge on people I won't go that far. But anyone not already working on moving to a different bank is one. The only way BofA and the other big greedy banks will possibly learn anything is if customers abandon them in droves, and they lose money due to it.

Frankly it feels like banking is devolving into a pre-1990s state.

about 3 years ago

Sony Attacks Microsoft's Publishing Policies

Maestro4k Re:Pot, meet kettle (203 comments)

I think he was referring to the on-disc content part of Microsoft's policy with that remark. Requiring on-disc parity means that the PS3's Blu-Ray storage advantage is wiped out in favor of the inferior DVD discs the Xbox360 uses. Storage-wise there's a definite inferiority there, and MS appears to be using policies to try to negate this disadvantage. I doubt any of the big publishers are terribly amused by this.

more than 3 years ago

Mass. Court Says Constitution Protects Filming On-Duty Police

Maestro4k Re:Great News! (473 comments)

If criminals--real hardened criminals who would blast a hole in your liberal head for your wallet--knew that cops were totally bound to the rules, there'd be a lot more crime out there. It's reality, sorry to say.

Like the threat of violence stops them? They go out there no knowing they could get the death penalty and yet still do the crimes. The "real hardened criminals" are sociopaths and will not stop doing their crimes just because they may be beaten/shot/killed. Using them as a justification for police violence is akin to using the threat of terrorism to take away our civil liberties.

more than 3 years ago


Maestro4k hasn't submitted any stories.



Maestro4k Maestro4k writes  |  more than 9 years ago A recent article on /. tells about how the company Overpeer, contractors for the RIAA/MPAA to pollute P2P network downloads, has gone a step further. According to the PC World article, the files "contain code that can spawn a string of pop-up ads and install adware. They look just like regular songs or short videos in Windows Media format, but launch ads instead of media clips."

This is obviously something that shouldn't be happening. In fact in some states it is a crime. (So far I have heard that it is definitely a crime in Minnesota, not sure in others.) It's definitely something that needs to stop, we already have enough computer viruses, worms, trojans, adware and malware without Overpeer contributing to it in the name of stopping copyright infringement.

So what can you do to help? Write your state attorney's general office, pass along the information from the PC World article and ask them to look into the legality of Overpeer's actions. If enough people write, they'll definitely look into it. If it's illegal in your state they will hopefully take action. At worst we can hope for at least one state AG filing for an injunction against Overpeer to make them stop distributing these files to the citizens in their state. Since Overpeer really wouldn't be able to tell 100% by IP what state a computer's in, they'd have to stop completely once such an injunction was granted.

I also recommend you write Overpeer as well and let them know you'll be doing this, if they get enough heat they may stop to avoid risk of a lawsuit. Feel free to copy and paste from the draft of my E-mail to them below:

I recently came across this (,aid,119016,00.asp) PC World Article about your company's actions in creating trojaned windows media files to "seed" onto P2P networks. You should be aware that in several states, your actions will likely qualify as willfull computer hacking, being in the same category of offenses as computer virus, trojan and worm creation & release.

While your actions have not directly affected me (I have no use for P2P software), I am sure they have caused damage to other citizens in my state (Your stste here). I felt you should be aware that I am sending along the information in the PC World article to my state attorney's general office with a request that they look into the legality of your actions under XX state law.

Copyright infringment on P2P networks is both illegal and immoral, but that does not allow those fighting it to break laws as well. I am not sure if your actions are illegal under XX state law or not, but I am sure our attorney general will be able to make that determination.

I urge you to think through the potential ramifications of your actions, and to rethink your current course of action.


Joe Cool (Or your name here :)

I should note that given their current actions I don't trust them so I used a disposable address from Spam Gourmet to send from and only signed my first name. Maybe I'm paranoid, but I figure any company who thinks it's OK to basically attack other people's computers in the name of stopping P2P just can't be trusted to know both my full name and state.

I'll post a copy of the letter I send to my state AG here for others to use as soon as I get it drafted. Let's put a stop to this type of behaviour, and let Overpeer know we're serious about stopping it!


Maestro4k Maestro4k writes  |  about 10 years ago By now I'm sure you've heard of at least the freeiPods site, and perhaps the freeflatscreens one. There are more of them than you've probably heard of, and probably more than I know about even. Right now I know of 5 seperate ones, all with nice items to get for free. All of the offers I'm going to talk about here require you to sign up, complete a sponsored offer, then get so many referrals to sign up under you and do the same. (Currently the number ranges from 3 to 10 depending on the item.)

If you're really interested in taking advantage of these offers you'll want to join a Conga line for them. These work by having a list of people's referral links, new users sign up using the topmost link, then they're added to the bottom of the list. After the top person gets enough referrals they drop off the list and the next person moves up. This way everyone gets a chance at getting their free item and everyone helps each other.

I help moderate conga lines for five of the free offers. Lately I've added two more because of user requests for a conga line for a specific free site. I'm always willing to do this, as I enjoy doing these conga lines and helping people get their free items. It's really rewarding to see an excitied post from someone who's just gotten their item in the mail. :) Below are links to each of the conga lines, telling what offer they're for:

Free iPod Conga Line
Free Flatscreen Conga Line
Free Desktop PC Conga Line
Free Handbags Conga Line
DVRs 4 Free Conga Line
PVPs 4 Free Conga Line
MP3 Players 4 Free Conga Line (Not active yet.)

Give them a shot, the free iPod one is most decidely legit, I've personally gotten an iPod for free. Most of the other offers are from the same company (Gratis Internet) so they're legit as well. Only three are not run by Gratis, those are the DVRs, PVPs and MP3 Players 4 Free Congas. Be sure to read the thread in the discussion secton of the Conga Lines that gives tips & hints about the offers for more detailed info, and feel free to contribute to it as well.

One last note, watch out for any offers run by Giftfox. I had tried their free Nintendo DS one, but they're claiming none of my friends signed up under me, even though I personally watched one of them do it correctly. They also failed to respond to my telling them that after they claimed no one had signed up under me. Perhaps you would have better luck, but they don't seem to be very legit to me.

Good luck to anyone who decides to join up. :)

Not of any use to anyone but myself, but I'm archiving the sig file code that linked to this article, just in case I ever feel like using it again in the future:

Free LCD, PC, PVP, DVR & Mp3 Players Conga Lines


Maestro4k Maestro4k writes  |  more than 10 years ago Most of you have probably heard about the sites offering free iPods and free flatscreens. There's also a new one for free Desktop PCs. They all work by having you sign up for a sponsered offer, then getting 5, 8 or 10(respectively) referrals to sign up and complete an offer. You've probably seen people posting their referral links as well.

If you're really interested in getting one for yourself you'll want to join a Conga line for them. These work by having a list of people's referral links, new users sign up using the topmost link, then they're added to the bottom of the list. After the top person gets enough referrals they drop off the list and the next person moves up. This way everyone gets a chance at getting their free iPod and/or flatscreen and everyone helps each other.

I help moderate conga lines for all three offers, and they're all still pretty small so you won't have to wait forever. The free Desktop PC one was just started yesterday in fact so it's really short. If you're interested here's the links:

Free iPod Conga Line
Free Flatscreen Conga Line
Free Desktop PC Conga Line

Give it a shot, the free iPod one has been verified as legit by many folks online and the other two are run by the same company so they'll likely deliver as well. There are offers you can complete that won't cost you anything (you may have to cancel before the free trial ends though). Be sure to read the thread in the discussion secton of the Conga Lines that gives tips & hints about the offers.

Good luck to anyone who decides to join up. :)

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