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Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

fortfive Re:They're Monopolies (368 comments)

I would hope there would be conditions in [the contract that benefit consumers]

I have a great bridge to sell you. I will throw in some unicorns for the right price . . .

Seriously, I'm pretty sure that in most places the only consumer benefit in the contract is the price of basic cable and free or discounted service for a school or government office.

about two weeks ago

Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

fortfive They're Monopolies (368 comments)

And, recording or not, they'll soon just start ditching "troublemaking" customers, like the hospitals do.

about two weeks ago

Chinese-Built Cars Are Coming To the US Next Year

fortfive It's about Design Specs, I Would Think (431 comments)

Most of my apple kit is manufactured in China, and is as good a build quality of any electronics I own, as far as I can tell.

It seems that the quality is determined by the design; that is, the Chinese manufactures build it as awesomely or as cheaply as you tell them to.

The fear is that unscrupulous manufacturers will substitute inferior inputs, I suppose, but it appears that, at least for premium brands like Apple and Lenovo, that is not happening. As for labor inputs and standards, well, scruples seem to be lax everywhere but Germany. Personally, I try to be aware of the social impacts of the products I buy, but when I have purchased stuff produced under questionable social conditions, said stuff has never seemed to have suffered any performance degradation. Rather, unfortunately, the opposite is sometimes the case.

about 2 months ago

Samsung S5 Reports Stress Levels Through Heart Rate Variability Measure

fortfive Re:Is this HIPAA data? (62 comments)

HIPAA only applies to protected healthcare information disclosed to a statutorily defined health care provider. I doubt Samsung or your carrier qualify.

The issue you raise is important, however.

Most of us have traded away much of our privacy, sometimes for services (gmail), sometimes by happenstance (, so that I doubt heart rate information will matter much.

But if we are entering a techno-dystopian future, and as our phones become more capable of registering our biological condition, it becomes easier for the shepherds to corral us according to their algorithms, and ensure the red-bloods don't mix with the blue's.

Perhaps it is my age, but I have to admit this kind of really personal data gathering makes me a little uncomfortable. Ignorance is more comfortable, too. I noticed that the terms of my health insurance coverage require my consent to let my provider turn over HIPAA data to various third parties, with no stated requirement that my provider ensure HIPAA awareness (let alone compliance) of said third parties. I figure if I am not going to go "dark," (which at my age, I'm too slow to pull off), I best learn to accept the death of privacy. Old age is the ultimate indignity . . .

about 3 months ago

Is LG's New Ultra Widescreen Display Better Than "Normal" 4K?

fortfive Re:Is this an ad ? (304 comments)

If you use a retina macbook pro for any length of time, the appeal will dawn on you. 4K enables pixel doubling, which makes text amazing to look at. All the other details, too.

It's a first world problem, mind you, but I find it quite unpleasant to view a non-pixel-doubled display, now. I mean even the Apple cinema display* looks outdated and primitive.

I kick myself for buying the retina machine before it could drive/I could also afford an external 4k display.

*I referenced the Apple display not because of any inherent superiority, but rather it's the nicest display I've viewed while actually doing stuff (as opposed to viewing an in-store demo video, which, incidentally, are not any less unpleasant to view post retina).

about 3 months ago

Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

fortfive Re:Maybe..? (93 comments)

Worst list, ever.

about 4 months ago

Comcast Offers To Shed 3.9 Million Subscribers To Ease Cable Deal

fortfive Re: Don't care (154 comments)

Hard to compare costs for dissimilar services over an undetermined time span. How did you come to the conclusion that Ma Bell was expensive?

First, I don't fully know, which is why asked for the old-timers assistance. May I conclude from your statements that you do not agree?

I think we could probably identify some sort of social equivalence. Say, late '70s, one residential line, two-three phones, touch-tone, per minute long distance service. How would that compare to a bundle of low- or mid-tier internet service + phone service (which now probably includes unlimited long distance)?

Also, I wonder how that price (and actual cost) breaks down going back in time? I would expect slow price increases and cost reductions as we move forward in time from the aughts.

about 4 months ago

Comcast Offers To Shed 3.9 Million Subscribers To Ease Cable Deal

fortfive Re:Don't care (154 comments)

Indeed. Also, content distribution at the levels above last-mile/individual subscriber.

On the other hand, it seems reasonable to accept that content distribution, and internet/TV service providing, are natural monopolies, and we may as well turn it over to a single company with tight consumer-interest regulation.

On the third hand, and way old-timers help me out here, it seems that telephone service under Ma Bell was somewhat expensive when compared with today's prices (even accounting for inflation). I suppose a better analysis would be to look at actual costs of providing equivalent service, and consumer price to cost ratios then and now.

But your essential point is accurate: it's really is not about competition for subscribers.

about 4 months ago

Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

fortfive Re:Militia, then vs now (1633 comments)

Various dictionaries around the web dispute this assertion, often claiming that arms refers to any weapon. See also the distinction between "arms" and "small arms."

about 4 months ago

Study Rules Out Global Warming Being a Natural Fluctuation With 99% Certainty

fortfive Re:more pseudo science (869 comments)

Isn't this the Bill Nye v. Creation Guy debate?

Bill Nye made the point repeatedly that no, of course we can not observe directly with our biological sensing apparatuses the world of 1000 years ago, but we can create a fairly educated surmise of the reality based on what we observe today, combining bench studies with field observations, etc. Ken Ham's argument, repeatedly, was "We weren't there, so we can't know to any useful degree (degree, get it?) what it was like."

Science may be wrong about the anthropogenic nature of global warming, but science is quite clear and confident in its conclusion. Given Science's track record so far, I'm going to bet on it.

about 4 months ago

The Inside Story of Gmail On Its Tenth Anniversary

fortfive Re:WTF would you think we would enjoy an "audio ve (142 comments)

If this is a joke, it's not very funny. Could have been made funny by robotic voice saying funny things. I would have done an NSA agent conversation accidentally bleeding through.

If not a joke, well, I don't know how to express the superlative of jumping the shark, but this is it.

about 5 months ago

Prototype Volvo Flywheel Tech Uses Car's Wasted Brake Energy

fortfive Waiting since the '90's (262 comments)

. . .for this to be in a production car. Back then, I read an article in Discover (?) Magazine about Mercedes working on this technology. Then nothing until today. Sounds great, to me.

Also a really interesting tech I read about at that time was smaller motors at the wheels. No need for transmissions and shafts and gears.

Pie in the sky tech I heard about then, too, was instead of brush and coil motors, having charged plate motors.

Still nothing on those last two.

about 5 months ago

Mazda Says Its Upcoming Gas-Powered Cars Will Emit Less CO2 Than Electric Cars

fortfive Re:co2? (330 comments)

It is not, however, true that nuclear plants produce no greenhouse gasses. They produce quite a bit of excess water vapor, a greenhouse gas.

about 5 months ago

The Poor Neglected Gifted Child

fortfive Re:Reality in the USA.... (529 comments)

This phenomenon is hardly new, nor hardly unique to the US. Just look at old war posters.

I would also argue that it serves a valid purpose to beatify normal (in the scientific definition). Those in the middle of the bell curve are most helpful to society when they are not threatened.

That is not to say we should not put special resources into those at the ends of the bell curve, at both ends, and at any bell curve we tend to look at (e.g. art, science, empathy, sports, and even beauty).

But it is better for society as a whole to promote generally the qualities of exceptionally normal, as that is what most folks are (including us here on slashdot, with a predictably few exceptions).

about 5 months ago

Goodbye, Google Voice

fortfive Re:Where is native VoIP support? (166 comments)

Well, you can do this, on a computer at least, using Google talk. You have to use chrome, though, to make it happen, at least on my Mac.

about 5 months ago

Interview: Ask Eric Raymond What You Will

fortfive Where are the answers? (126 comments)

It seems most questions were asked last Tue or Wed, and there's only, about three ESR responses I can find. Am I missing something?

about 6 months ago

NSA and GHCQ Employing Shills To Poison Web Forum Discourse

fortfive Re:I wonder (347 comments)

Try to focus on arguments of fact, not arguments of person or source. Then you will weed out most deception.

You are correct to an extent. The challenge is that, in many instances, we cannot all be experts on every topic. Even Bill Nye must rely on the summaries and conclusions of experts. In those instances, we are forced to make judgments--and argue--about sources.

I wish I could propose "reason" as an alternative, but in my own experience and observation, there are some very well reasoned propositions that reach absurd conclusions.

That leaves the Bucky Fuller solution: we have to test our propositions and see how well they hold up. Easier said then done, eh?

about 6 months ago

Doctors Say Food Stamp Cuts Could Cause Higher Healthcare Costs

fortfive Re:Math, do it. (1043 comments)

Isn't that how a pluralistic democracy is *supposed* to work?

about 7 months ago

Doctors Say Food Stamp Cuts Could Cause Higher Healthcare Costs

fortfive Re:Math, do it. (1043 comments)

Your comment is only true if there is an accessible supermarket. See "food deserts." They do exist, and mostly in really poor areas, where many folks are dependent on their feet or public transit to get around.

Same is true in many rural areas, too, where a trip to town can be very costly.

about 7 months ago

Former CIA/NSA Head: NSA Is "Infinitely" Weaker As a Result of Snowden's Leaks

fortfive Re:Boohoo (572 comments)

You know, if there was any reasonable evidence to suggest that NSA, CIA, or DHS practices had prevented any attacks, you might have a good point. What evidence there is seems to suggest, however, that "Intelligence" actions have made the world less pleasant for most people, including most people in the US.

The quotes around "intelligence" allude to the fact there are many actions taken by our government's intelligence arms that have little to do with gathering or understanding information. Instead, many of the actions are about maintaining secrecy while doing their best to shape the world.

As a US citizen, I do want the world shaped to my advantage. But according to my morals and observations, my best advantage is served when neighbors respect and appreciate me, not when they fear me.

about 8 months ago



Cut and Paste Magic Reveals Secrets in Apple Infri

fortfive fortfive writes  |  more than 2 years ago

fortfive (1582005) writes "A redacted pdf opinion gave up its secrets with a little cut-and-paste effort. One person's opinion was that the redactions were merely the result of too much caution, but that sounds like damage control to me. Mostly, I think, this is a story about how big institutions can pretty easily be behind the times; also about how there are so many ways security can be weak. I wonder what the secret information was, anyway?"
Link to Original Source


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