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Comments

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AT&T: Don't Want a Data Plan for That Smartphone? Too Bad.

TheRedSeven Re:Too bad. (798 comments)

I'm with you for the whole thing, until the last 2 sentences.

My contract with my carrier consists of (roughly--there's lots of legalese in there) the following: Carrier provides A, B, and C services at X service level agreement, and I pay Carrier $YY for the privilege.

Nowhere in the contract I signed does it say that I give the carrier permission to change the services provided or add additional services without my express permission, nor does the contract say that they can charge me extra for any additional services that they may deem I 'require' at some point in the future. If you wish to make a unilateral change to my contract, I consider that a breach or a "material change of contract" that allows me to quit without penalty or ETF.

If the policy is "If you bring your own smart phone to our network and put our SIM in it, we will change your services and costs," that had damn well better be in the contract I originally signed, or it is immaterial to the agreement we have. End of story.

about a year and a half ago
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Poor Sleep Prevents Brain From Storing Memories

TheRedSeven Parenting (180 comments)

I believe this is an evolutionary feature, not a bug. Otherwise parents would never have a second child.

This mechanism explains how we forget the horrors of the first 6-8 weeks post-delivery and the hell that is sleep in 1.5 hour increments.

about a year and a half ago
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Bloggers Put Scientific Method To the Test

TheRedSeven Re:A very old elephant in the room (154 comments)

8th grade. I honestly don't remember if we had the math to figure out things like confidence or error intervals at that point in our education. Probably should have done, but I have no idea. But the prof wasn't even in the range of "That's wrong, but within the error range given $Factor." It was simply, "I don't care what results you got, you are wrong."

And looking back, the methodology wasn't great -- tube physics do funky things to sound, so measuring through the PVC wasn't a good thing; the 1 meter length of the aquarium made the interval between echos really uncertain; the microphone was only sampling at 0.01s intervals, so the echo wasn't particularly distinct all the time; etc. But to simply be written off because I was "book wrong" was pretty disheartening at the time. And in retrospect, horrific of a college-level prof to be expecting that kind of result from an 8th grade kid.

about a year and a half ago
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Bloggers Put Scientific Method To the Test

TheRedSeven Re:A very old elephant in the room (154 comments)

That reminds me of (aeons ago) my 8th grade science project. While most of the other kids were testing "Which battery lasts the longest?" I decided to test the effect of humidity on the speed of sound. Seemed relevant to my 13 year old mind, I couldn't find a lot of information on it, and I had 3 possible outcomes: H0 was that higher relative humidity has no effect; H1 was that higher relative humidity made the speed of sound faster; H2 was that higher relative humidity made the speed of sound slower.

The experiment involved a trip to a nearby college's physics lab, a big old aquarium, some PVC pipe, a humidifier, a microphone attached to some old Apple computer of some sort with audio software, and a wimshurst generator (the only thing that could produce a brief enough noise so the echo could be differentiated from the continuing reverberations). The result was that H0 was disproved and the evidence pointed toward HIGHER speed of sound in higher relative humidity.

I loved the whole thing. Physics! And testing! And math!

And then the judging came. Most of them loved my experiment and gave the whole thing high marks. But one happened to be a college physics professor who walked up, took a look at my results, and said, "You did a lot of fine work, but your results are wrong." And despite my protests of "But those are the results I got," proceeded to give me essentially a 0, making my experiment one of the few that failed.

I still hold a grudge against that physics prof. Not for crushing all the fun out of experiments, but for trusting the 'right' answer over the experimental one. If that's the kind of scientists we're pushing out these days, we've got some serious issues to deal with.

about a year and a half ago
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Least-Cost Routing Threatens Rural Phone Call Completion

TheRedSeven Re:Return it to Public Infrastructure (205 comments)

So if that provider is Verizon, and they save the .01 cents say, 100,000,000 times, that means they're saving about $1,000,000.00. Right?

about a year and a half ago
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Tolkien Estate Sues Over Lord of the Rings Slot Machines

TheRedSeven Re:Doesn't the Tolkien estate... (211 comments)

Copyright != Patent != Trademark

Patents do not need to be defended in order to be considered valid. It is my understanding that the same holds for Copyright.
Trademarks, however, are more often deemed to be valid only if they are consistently defended. That is, if your company name is "Slashdot" and you let "Slashdot Wines" exist, but then you decide to go after "Slashdot Fruit Snacks", you will have a much harder time claiming the Slashdot trademark since it can be demonstrated that you failed to defend your trademark.

I am no lawyer. I am certainly not an IP lawyer. And I would NEVER be YOUR lawyer. Go find some expert, and let's all stop trying to be one on teh internet.

about a year and a half ago
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Mark Cuban: Facebook Is Driving Away Brands — Starting With Mine

TheRedSeven Re:That is cheap (299 comments)

Facebook users can post and their posts will get to everyone who has not muted them

False. Facebook filters individual pages too. If you make a post, only about 15-20% of your friends will see it on their News Feed if they have their settings for you set at the default (How many updates? "Most Updates"). For friends that have you set to the most visible setting ("All Updates"), you will still only reach about 50-75% of those people.

Now, FB tends to be pretty good about knowing which 50-75% of your friends are most likely to notice that they're missing your posts (the people who are labeled as 'family', those who most often show up in photos with you, and those who are all more active are MUCH more likely to find themselves in the % that SEE your post). But they are NOT transparently passing your message along to all of your friends. And you are not necessarily seeing 100% of the posts that your friends make, even if you have your settings made for "All Updates" for a specific friend.

about a year and a half ago
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Mark Cuban: Facebook Is Driving Away Brands — Starting With Mine

TheRedSeven Re:That is cheap (299 comments)

Yes and No.

If you (as an individual personal-account user) want to get any message out on FB to 100% of the people who follow you, you now have to pay for it. If you do not promote a post, it will reach approximately 15-20% of your friends who have you set to the default (How many updates? "Most Updates"; What types of Updates? "all are checked"), and about 50-75% of your friends who have you set to the max (How many updates? "all updates").

If you are a business page or other 'professional' account, any non-promoted post will reach 15-20% of your followers/likers/subscribers. Only if you PAY to PROMOTE your post will it reach the News Feed of 100% of your followers.

This from a friend who does a TON of work with Facebook's API and has made several requests for documentation directly from the powers-that-be at Facebook. So my source is secondhand, but he's getting it direct from the horse's mouth and I trust him--especially because this change is directly harmful to his business and he's pissed about it.

about a year and a half ago
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Project Orca: How an IT Disaster Destroyed Republicans' Get-Out-The-Vote Effort

TheRedSeven Re:Serves them right (578 comments)

I've got Karma to burn, so it doesn't bother me too much. (Not that I was TRYING, mind you.) But I'm confused like you. Perhaps I should have linked to things? Let's try this again...

increased warrentless wiretapping of Americans, by giving retroactive immunity to telcos who aided in breaking the law, by fighting for punitive laws that would cripple the internet, by negotiating lousy treaties that would reduce freedom, by sending the FBI to foreign countries to seize property ...

There, that ought to satisfy the g^Hmods out there...

about a year and a half ago
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Project Orca: How an IT Disaster Destroyed Republicans' Get-Out-The-Vote Effort

TheRedSeven Re:Serves them right (578 comments)

Yes, because Obama/his administration hasn't curtailed freedom at all through increased warrentless wiretapping of Americans, by giving retroactive immunity to telcos who aided in breaking the law, by fighting for punitive laws that would cripple the internet, by negotiating lousy treaties that would reduce freedom, by sending the FBI to foreign countries to seize property ...

I'm with you. The Republicans of the past 12 years have not been supporters of technology or freedom by any means. But neither have the Democrats.

about a year and a half ago
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Is Silicon Valley Morally Bankrupt and Toxic?

TheRedSeven Re:As someone who lives in the NYC tri-state... (469 comments)

I would kill to work at a place like Apple.

You're willing to kill for a specific job, and you're calling other people morally bankrupt?

about a year and a half ago
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Mt. Fuji May Be Close To Erupting

TheRedSeven Re:Better rescue the coke machine (269 comments)

I'm not sure that they're the biggest source of BPA exposure--there's LOTS of BPA in our every day environment, from heat-printed receipts to dental sealants to toilet paper. See this article for details.

But yeah, as far as food/beverage packaging is concerned, a lot of companies did away with BPA-infused plastic bottles when the 'scare' came through back in 2009/2010. But the metal can manufacturers stayed under the radar and so had very little reason to do away with the BPA in their products.

IIRC, even the SIGG (and similarly-styled) aluminum water bottles had BPA linings even after Nalgene recalled all their water bottles made with BPA. At the same time, people were buying SIGG instead of Nalgene in an ironically misguided attempt to avoid BPA.

about 2 years ago
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Mt. Fuji May Be Close To Erupting

TheRedSeven Re:Better rescue the coke machine (269 comments)

True. Most metal cans (the kind used for packaging, anyway) are coated with a layer of plastic to prevent interaction with the Al/Sn in the metal of the substrate itself. Particularly with acidic contents (tomatoes are the ones that come most readily to mind.) Can *ends* are manufactured separately and joined to the can bodies themselves after filling. Some can ends are coated with plastic over the majority of the surface, but others have perforations and other 'gaps' that allow for proper sealing/seaming between the can and the can end, and for tabs to break through, etc. Any place the plastic coating is missing and an acidic ingredient can come into contact with the metal, corrosion can occur (though slowly).

Source: I'm a market researcher specializing in food/beverage packaging in the US.

about 2 years ago
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What Happens To Google Employees When They Die?

TheRedSeven That's a good benefit, but not unheard of... (170 comments)

That's essentially a company-paid life insurance policy of 5x annual salary (slightly less, actually, since it's annuitized). When I worked as a call center grunt shortly out of college, we were given a 1x annual salary term life insurance policy paid for by the company. With an option of paying something like $0.35/month for 3x annual salary term life insurance.

This is really not the crazy-off-the-wall benefit that it's being made out to be. It's good, to be sure, but not unheard of.

about 2 years ago
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Sen. Rand Paul Introduces TSA Reform Legislation

TheRedSeven Re:It WAS privatized before TSA (585 comments)

Chicago got a ton of outside help to police the various protests--from the Chicagoland suburbs, from other states/cities (including New York), and even municipal police from Canada. That doesn't bug me. Chicago's police force is pretty sparsely staffed to begin with, and getting help was a necessary step. Chicago Police did most of the front-line stuff, while the other districts were used for traffic control and other non-confrontational areas. From all accounts, the police did a good job of de-escalating most situations--they were generally garbed in soft-gear (their regular uniform shirts) rather than riot gear/armor/helmets. It did a lot to make things seem more safety-related than "We're going to beat down the protesters", and kept things civil for the most part.

To be sure, there were arrests and confrontations and some bad crap. But it was a lot better than it could have been (and better than it has been in the past).

My biggest issue is that the TSA was involved. That, to me, is just bonkers. "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated." TSA ignores that, and it pi**es me off.

more than 2 years ago
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Sen. Rand Paul Introduces TSA Reform Legislation

TheRedSeven Re:It WAS privatized before TSA (585 comments)

Just out of curiosity--I'm in Chicago and haven't heard of TSA running checks in our parks. A quick Google News search returns nothing. Can you point me to an article/example?
I hate TSA and would love to have more (local) examples of their idiocy for friends/family who think they're all rainbows and unicorns as they grope you...

more than 2 years ago
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Lack of Vaccination Sends Babies In Oregon To the Hospital

TheRedSeven Re:Why the anger? (1007 comments)

I've been corrected. I relied too much on another poster, prior to all the well-informed rebuttals to that misinformation. If you'll look through any of the half-dozen or so replies noting that eradication of the human-infecting Pertussis bacterium actually is possible, you'll realize that I've accepted that I made a mistake. So glad you bothered to read any of the prior posts...

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Facebook listens to users, updates ToS

TheRedSeven TheRedSeven writes  |  more than 5 years ago

TheRedSeven (1234758) writes "Facebook announced to its users today that they will be having a vote regarding its proposed Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and Facebook Principles. In addition to providing copies to the updated documents, they've also offered plain English explanations of those documents.

Of special note is the section relating to IP licensing, which caused such an uproar the last time:

For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos ("IP content"), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook ("IP License"). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account (except to the extent your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it).

"
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Register Your Fingerprints, Skip the Customs Line

TheRedSeven TheRedSeven writes  |  more than 5 years ago

TheRedSeven (1234758) writes "The US Customs and Border Protection has started a program at O'Hare Airport (ORD) in Chicago, apparently in operation for a month now, that allows US citizens arriving from abroad to bypass the passport-checking line if they are willing to submit their fingerprints and undergo background checks.

The Global Entry program, unveiled at O'Hare last month by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, is designed to let travelers get through the airport faster but also affords a key benefit for the Department of Homeland Security: It makes it easier to track who is coming into the country.

This seems to me to be a way to use convenience to erode privacy and other rights, and has the added bonus that proponents can use the old You-have-nothing-to-fear-if-you've-done-nothing-wrong defense. One frequent business traveler said:

I have nothing to fear. The only people who do either have issues with their background or with their government. I don't fear my government--yet.

Is this legitimate convenience, or just another way to gather information on people?"

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Free File Hosting through File Savr

TheRedSeven TheRedSeven writes  |  more than 5 years ago

TheRedSeven (1234758) writes "File Savr, a file and image hosting company, is offering Free File Hosting (up to 250 GB).

As a thank you to the community we are offering free accounts on FileSavr.com to bloggers as well as members of Digg, Stumble, Reddit, Mixx, Del.icio.us. To get your free account fill out the form below to receive to get $10 monthly account (250 GB) absolutely free. Accounts created before September 15th will have lifetime membership for free. If you like the service we hope you will help us with small donations via paypal.

I just signed up, and noticed that the site says 'paid until Jan 18th, 2038,' so it's perhaps not quite for life. The only thing--apparently the "service is very slow due to extreme demand right now," which does not bode well for the future of the company's servers..."

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e-Ink has Arrived in Mainstream Magazine

TheRedSeven TheRedSeven writes  |  more than 5 years ago

TheRedSeven (1234758) writes "With internet advertising and rapid updates making sales of traditional media slump, the editor of Esquire Magazine has a plan to keep more readers from leaving the magazine: electronic ink.

A 10-square-inch display on the cover of Esquire's October 2008 anniversary issue flashes the theme "The 21st Century Begins Now" with a collage of illuminated images. On the inside cover, a two-page spread advertising the new Ford Flex Crossover features a second 10-square-inch display with shifting colors to illustrate the car in motion at night.

Perhaps if magazines actually do enter the 21st century by staying relevant through update-able news, they may actually compete with online news sources."

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Patent System Broken! How do we fix it?

TheRedSeven TheRedSeven writes  |  more than 5 years ago

TheRedSeven (1234758) writes "Everyone on /. seems to be of the opinion that the patent/copyright system is broken and DMCA is a joke. I tend to agree. Yet I have heard http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/07/28/1711237">few ideas within this forum on feasible ways to reform the system. So here's the question — if you were starting over from the ground up, what would you do?

Remember that there are several categories to deal with (software/programming, digital music/movies/art, real world music/movies/books/art, standard mechanical/physical inventions, business methods, etc), and that you have to balance several goals (providing an incentive for creative people so they won't just get steamrolled by mega-corporations, prevent patent trolling, increase innovation, allowing others to use or refer to ideas for legitimate reasons — and define legitimate!) while creating a process that is cheap, quick, transparent, and has few barriers to entry.

Simply saying "GPLv3" is not an acceptable answer (though it might be part of an answer)."
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Apple WWDC Keynote highlights

TheRedSeven TheRedSeven writes  |  more than 6 years ago

TheRedSeven (1234758) writes "The WWDC keynote has happened, Al Gore was in the audience of 5200 to witness the event, and several sites live blogged the presentation. While Steve Jobs mentioned several topics (the new OS X Snow Leopard, etc.) the most widely-anticipated was the new iPhone. The highlights are:
1) increased functionality for enterprise use,
2) the ease of using the SDK and the coming App Store (no charge to developers or users for free apps),
3) new software features on iPhone 2.0, including bulk message delete, contact search, MS Office support, and massive language support, and finally (after 90 minutes)
4) the new iPhone 3G itself which is even thinner, has a black plastic back, solid metal buttons, camera, flush headphone jack, dramatically improved battery life, GPS support integrated, and it has a price tag of only $199 for the 8GB version ($299 for the 16GB)!

However, it won't be available for sale til July 11. So for all you Apple junkies who have been waiting for this, wait a bit longer..."
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Hackers attack Comcast.net

TheRedSeven TheRedSeven writes  |  more than 6 years ago

TheRedSeven (1234758) writes "Looks like someone got fed up enough with Comcast to do something about it. They took over the comcast.net domain name and redirected it. I'm only disappointed that they didn't do something cooler with their efforts — it appears they only left a (pretty lame) message about Comcast getting "RoXed"."
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Hack sends Obama users to Clinton site

TheRedSeven TheRedSeven writes  |  more than 6 years ago

TheRedSeven (1234758) writes "A hacker (presumably a supporter of Clinton) took advantage of a XSS vulnerability on Barack Obama's campaign website, directing users who attempted to access the community blogs section of the site to Clinton's website instead. The vulnerability has reportedly been taken down.

The hackng appears to have been a prank, but researchers suggest that this breach exposes the vulernable underbelly of the candidates' online operations. Try this: A similar mechanism could be employed to redirect visitors a site that steals personal information from visitors — or maybe even make Obama contributions to Clinton.
"

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