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How To Beat Online Price Discrimination

dunkindave Re:Prices change based on how you get there (144 comments)

See, that's what gets me - the situation should be reversed - if you're a loyal customer you should be paying the same or less. The store should invest in upselling the loyal customer on upgrades or volume purchases, but double price for the same item just because you are using their site - that's just rude.

I think what they are trying to do is the same way many companies use a low first-time rate to try to entice people to try their product so they get to know it with the hope that they will then become a loyal customer (and paying full price). This company is assuming that if you got there from a Google search, then you are shopping and they want to introduce themselves. The problem here is twofold. First, they don't let you know that you are getting a special first-time deal so you get massive sticker shock when you come back. Second, if you figure it out and come back through Google you get the same half-off discount again so it negates the "first time is discounted" philosophy, namely they did the implementation badly, and it make it seem like they are trying to gouge their repeat customers (which maybe they are).

Either way, when people find out that the price is higher if they use their cell phone versus their computer, or use Safari versus IE, or use a Mac versus Windows, or search for a more expensive version then search for a cheaper one versus the other way, it makes people feel victimized and cheated. The reality is people have always been pawns to be used and manipulated by businesses, it is just that when you catch them doing it it makes you angry.

8 hours ago
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How To Beat Online Price Discrimination

dunkindave Re:Contradiction (144 comments)

The article talks about this. They say use a private window, and thereby no cookies, to see what a generic visitor would see, then also look in you regular browser window, and compare the two. Sometimes your cookies may help you get a lower price, in which case use them, and sometimes they may hurt, in which case use the private window that isn't sharing them.

11 hours ago
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How To Beat Online Price Discrimination

dunkindave Re:shouldnt this be illegal? (144 comments)

It is more like a food chain charging a higher price for food in an airport or across from the sports stadium than they do at their general locations. They are using market information to adjust prices in order to maximize profit - exactly what a business is expected to do. In this case, they are using information they have about the consumer, such as previous buying decisions to gauge desire, and adjusting the offered price in an attempt to maximize the sale price. Legally, as long as they do not knowingly use information regarding a protected class as a criteria then they aren't breaking any laws (using where the person/connection is coming from, say a rich area versus a poor area, is still debatable if it is legal - some precedent says yes and some says no). Many or most people still feel these practices are shady.

11 hours ago
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How To Beat Online Price Discrimination

dunkindave Prices change based on how you get there (144 comments)

An example of this price-adjusting practice is when we needed to order an advertising banner for my wife's business. I did a little Google searching and found halfpricebanners.com had what we wanted at a good price so we used them. A couple months latter we needed another banner so I went to their website and was surprised by the price it quoted for exactly the same kind of banner - about double as before. Being the Internet nerd I am, I surmised something was going on so I went back to Google and did the same kind of search I had done before which again produced their link. Sure enough, if I go to their site from Google (not just from their ad, even the organic listing) then their prices are half of what is offered to people who go straight to their website. From then on we always used Google first to get the "Google discount".

11 hours ago
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Two Exocomet Families Found Around Baby Star System

dunkindave Re:Wrong distance away (22 comments)

Sorry to follow up on my own post, but 64 million light years would be many galaxies away, not just across the Milky Way. My bad.

2 days ago
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Two Exocomet Families Found Around Baby Star System

dunkindave Wrong distance away (22 comments)

Beta Pictoris is 63.4 light years away, not 64 million light years. 64 million light years would be at the other end of the galaxy and probably not even observable. When the article gets basic facts wrong I stop reading.

2 days ago
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Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

dunkindave Re:Easy to solve - calibrate them to overestimate (397 comments)

That's interesting. The rule here has always been that you must clear the intersection before the light goes red. I wonder why you'd ever be in the intersection after it has turned red?

There are a few reasons. One is the lights are normally timed based on the road's speed limit, so if traffic is going a lot slower for some reason, then the time to cross the intersection may be greater than the yellow light interval. Another reason is the people who set the timings may be idiots. For example, there is an intersection near where I live that is many lanes across in both directions, and if you enter the intersection to make a left turn on a green light, not even yellow, the light will often be red before you exit it since you must travel a long way and slow down for the turn.

3 days ago
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Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

dunkindave Re:Easy to solve - calibrate them to overestimate (397 comments)

Sorry to inject facts into your soap box, but here is the US Government Department of Transportation manual:

Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices

The definition of what a yellow light means is in section 4D.04, and the federal rules for yellow lights is in section 4D.26.

For the definition of yellow: Vehicular traffic facing a steady CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication is thereby warned that the related green movement or the related flashing arrow movement is being terminated or that a steady red signal indication will be displayed immediately thereafter when vehicular traffic shall not enter the intersection.

For the minimum and maximum timings: A yellow change interval should have a minimum duration of 3 seconds and a maximum duration of 6 seconds. The longer intervals should be reserved for use on approaches with higher speeds.

3 days ago
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If You're Connected, Apple Collects Your Data

dunkindave Re:That's absurd, aim your hate cannon elsewhere. (312 comments)

Yes, though there is some debate about it since Apple is now using the newly allowed fast reporting of statistics that allow the number of requests to be given in ranges, but only for regular legal requests and for NSL combined. If they say both zero for NSL (the warrant canary) and the range 0-100 (or whatever it was but it was 0 to something) for the combined number, then they violated the legal provisions of the new rules, so perhaps they dropped the apparent canary to allow the other numbers to be legally reported. Or the canary died.

4 days ago
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FBI Director Continues His Campaign Against Encryption

dunkindave Re:(Re:The Children!) Why? I'm not a pedophile! (284 comments)

I'd like to know how Jim Comey reconciles his position on encryption with the requirements set for in the CJIS Security Policy

Because he isn't saying people can't encrypt, he is saying the keys must be available such that the government can get in if needed, even if the owner would like to block the access. The CJIS Policy allows for escrow as well.

What he doesn't seem to get (though I bet he actually does), and where some of the arguments here are missing the mark, is that if someone else holds a key that will grant access, even if the holder is the government, that provides a path for a bad guy to abuse the ability to access. The bad guy(s) can be hackers/attackers from down the street, on the other side of the planet, employees of our government, etc.

And the issue regarding the 4th amendment is somewhat misleading because he is saying a REASONABLE search is what is being prevented, namely one where conditions like a valid warrant exist or an imminent physical threat is present (I am not going to argue the problem here about anything can be claimed as an imminent threat). So the question is does the Constitution allow a person to use technical means to prevent the government access to data even when a valid warrant is presented? Many here obviously believe the answer is yes, mostly for reasons like those I gave above, but understand that this doesn't appear to be a protected right under the 4th since the 4th only says you and your effects are secure until a warrant is issued, not after.

about a week ago
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Pro-Democracy Websites In Hong Kong Targeted With and Serving Malware

dunkindave Re:Clearly Western Interference (44 comments)

Who do you think create NSA or DMCA - a king? A dictator? An anarchy? Or a democracy?

A republic, where the authorized representatives have been corrupted by the corporate state. There hasn't been a country operating as a real democracy in over a couple thousand years. Everytime you see a country called a democracy it is really a republic.

about two weeks ago
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Pro-Democracy Websites In Hong Kong Targeted With and Serving Malware

dunkindave Re:Not invented there (44 comments)

Not invented there

To be picky, the showing of prior art does not prove the creators of the identified prior art were the original inventors. There are many cases that predate the one you cite. In this case, perhaps the Chinese did invent it and the NSA copied them.

Gee, I crack myself up sometimes.

about two weeks ago
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How Spurious Wikipedia Edits Can Attach a Name To a Scandal, 35 Years On

dunkindave Re:Journalists? (165 comments)

The content is obviously left leaning. But it's well researched and quite professional. AFAIK, there's no journalistic ethic that says you need to publish articles for conservative interests along with those for liberal interests.

I wouldn't know Pro Publica from a hole in the wall of a newspaper building, but there is a difference between publishing well-researched articles though only those that favor your leanings, and publishing tripe for the sake of publishing. The first are still informative even if they aren't want you would like the reality to be, while the second makes you question anything such an organisation publishes. This all assumes one really is a critical thinker since too many people who claim to be are not.

about two weeks ago
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Belkin Router Owners Suffering Massive Outages

dunkindave Re:Ummm - did we forget the obvious? (191 comments)

Many years ago I had a similar problem with Comcast. Their system's DHCP wasn't giving me an address, so I called the tech support number. The person on the phone told me that he couldn't help me with my problem since help with all DHCP issues was only handled through their new online text chat system. I pointed out that I couldn't get to their handy online text chat system because I COULDN'T GET AN IP ADDRESS. His only response was that maybe I could use a neighbor's computer. Sigh.

about two weeks ago
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Details of iOS and Android Device Encryption

dunkindave Re:containment (146 comments)

Those places use javascript on webpages to upload what has been typed so far so they can do predictions and make suggestions. When you are entering the phone's passcode or phrase it is a very different matter since that isn't being entered into a browser, it is being entered into the phone OS's native interface. Still, as long as the software was created by someone else, in theory they can do anything they want with it, including after using it to unlock the storage, store the passphrase somewhere on the device or upload it to a server. But given people jailbreaking iDevices and tearing the Apple and Google code apart, as well as analyzing all the device traffic looking for security flaws, how long do you think such a backdoor would remain undiscovered? And why do you think Apple or Google would risk being caught doing it since it would be THEIR software, not some non-attributable thrid party? Just being caught once would be devastating to their sales, likely into a death spiral.

Having said all that, I do think these third party keyboards Apple is now letting take over typing on iOS 8 do present a large security risk for applications, website, etc., but not for the device's passphrase since the device won't use it for that.

about two weeks ago
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Details of iOS and Android Device Encryption

dunkindave Re:So what you're telling me (146 comments)

Billions of Android devices have the encryption capability already implemented. It just isn't turned on by default. Thus, it is not vaporware at all.

No, more like smoke and mirrors. Present but off is an illusion of security.

about three weeks ago
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Details of iOS and Android Device Encryption

dunkindave Re:If you can't crack the password, then don't. (146 comments)

Presumably, the apps on the phone have access to the encrypted data on the phone, right? So there's a simple solution. The user is happily using their iWhatever. The government sends a Nation Security letter to Apple forcing them to put a backdoor into the phone of the target, such that this app can read whatever data it wants on the phone. So when the user boots up his/her phone, and enters the password, the rougue app should be able to read all the data on the phone.

Can anyone tell me why this WOULDN'T work?

Because National Security Letters cannot be used for that. They can only be used by the FBI to demand the handing over of data in the possession of or passing through the control of the receiver, not the performance of actions (and how the data is produced is up to the company receiving the NSL, not the FBI).

Now what is in the Cloud is a different matter since Apple would have access to that, though again it may be encrypted with a key only the iDevice possesses so Apple wouldn't be able to decrypt it for the FBI.

about three weeks ago
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Hackers Compromised Yahoo Servers Using Shellshock Bug

dunkindave Re:I can believe it... (69 comments)

No, not random. Today malware will commonly harvest a person's address book (among many things to exploit what it can get off a person's machine), and once the address book has been harvested, sold to spammers. The spammers send emails to people in the address book with the email pretending to be from another person in the address book. The theory is that if both addresses are in a person's address book then there is a good chance they know each other, or they will have received legitimate email from that address before, both with the intention of getting around the spam filter and getting the victim to open the email. Note that the spoofed source email address isn't normally the email of the person whose machine has the malware, but rather others found in the contacts list. All these spam emails mean is that there are people out there whose address book, including "collected" addresses, contain both of your email addresses, and one of those people got infected with malware.

about three weeks ago
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Hackers Compromised Yahoo Servers Using Shellshock Bug

dunkindave Re:Baaaa! (69 comments)

No, the real problem is this is the same response you would get from a company no matter what happened so it is meaningless. You screwed up but don't want to admit it? Say you are committed to security and it was a fluke. It really was a one time fluke by someone exploiting a near-zero-day? Say you are committed to security and it was a fluke. You deliberately sold out your customers and someone noticed their info was in the wild? Say you are committed to security and it was a fluke. Since it is always the same no matter what happened, what real use is the statement? Yes, I know it is to persuade those who don't know better.

about three weeks ago
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Hackers Compromised Yahoo Servers Using Shellshock Bug

dunkindave Re:I can believe it... (69 comments)

Did you check the email headers? On multiple occasions I have received emails showing my email address as the From, but the email headers showed the email originated from machines in foreign countries. Spoofing the From part of an email is trivial. This is a common technique by spammers to avoid spam filters since the account's own address is normally considered trusted. Now if the header says the email really did originate from Yahoo or Gmail, then that is a different matter, but again read the headers closely since many of those fields/lines can still be forged.

about three weeks ago

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