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Comment Re:I wonder (Score 2) 180

As a corporate accountant, I've dealt with all sorts of banking transactions and various bureaucratic systems in companies.

I suspect that Comcast has no official mechanism to deal with issuing a check in these circumstances and it simply fell through the cracks until it received media attention.

As for Comcast's suggestion to the effected individual, in a sense, it probably wasn't bad advice (albeit still embarrassing) - his bank likely has the ability to reverse the transaction since it was initiated by a third party without authorization, i.e., any time someone else initiates a "direct debit" (i.e., a withdrawal) from your account, if they can't provide evidence of your authorization, the funds can be "clawed back" (subject to them still being in the account that they went to).

Whoever he spoke to at Comcast probably realized the lack of an established process to cut him a check and suggested that the bank simply reverse the unauthorized debit.

Comment Re:Time to give the consumer total choice (Score 3, Informative) 164

In a sense you're right but at the same time, it's a better value than most any other [bundled] channel in that it
1) has no commercials
2) wide variety of content all on demand
3) costs less than any other channel available a la carte
4) offers multiple stream plans

you can always go pure a la carte but that's oddly more expensive in the form of buying just what you want from amazon

Submission + - SOLVING THE BLOOD SHORTAGE BY draining the dead? (realclearscience.com)

schwit1 writes: Roughly 15 million pints of blood are donated each year by approximately 9.2 million individuals. Over the course of the same year, about 2.6 million Americans will — sadly — pass away. If hospitals were to harvest the blood from a third of those people, roughly 4.5 million liters would be added to the reservoir. . . . Draining the blood from a body is hardly out of the ordinary; it's actually a regular part of the embalming process. To prepare a dead body for funeral services and eventual burial or cremation, morticians pump out all of the blood and interstitial fluids and replace them with an embalming solution, typically containing formaldehyde and methanol. Would it not make more sense to remove the blood at the hospital soon after death, rather than let it all go to waste?

Comment Re:How many other flaws (Score 1) 173

For better or worse my plan is to...

-Convince my future children to study abroad in Scandinavia (or some other legitimately 1st world country) and ultimately move there
-When they do, I'll follow
-Give up on the United States as it's a poor excuse for a 1st world country (especially when we trail in virtually every measure)

Consider watching the first 10 minutes of Newsroom except that the anchor there has higher hopes and expectations than I do (i.e., much easier to go somewhere already fixed than live in a place which will be broken for a long while...)

Comment Getting faster speeds than you pay for (Score 4, Insightful) 142

I've found that if you provide your own DOCSIS 3.0 modem on a connection where they would typically provide a DOCSIS 2.0 modem, at least on Time Warner in NYC, you get markedly faster speeds than you would otherwise be paying for - especially during off-peak times

Perhaps those with DOCSIS 3.0 modems on faster paid connections might get higher priority than I do for those speeds, but perhaps not?

Comment Schwab offers security token for regular banking (Score 1) 271

It's one of the reasons I signed up is that they offer a free security token for signing in.

There are no fees and sadly, when I asked them how popular it is, they said virtually no one uses it.

I suspect it's not so popular because most accounts are insured against most fraud so there's little incentive to using them for most users.

What I'd like is to use that token (or even SMS) for an ATM pin...

Comment Hopefully this still gets read... (Score 1) 167

To address the two common themes I see here:

(1) Make no mistake, semi-autonomous cars are useless, but meaningful collision avoidance systems are useful and that's the first stepping stone in the process

(2) Autonomous cars are still decades away from any sort of real adoption and automobile manufacturers should (I suspect they are...) develop them in the context of a shared usage vehicle given their much higher utilization than a regular car (an autonomous car could be in use 100% of the time as opposed to how most cars sit parked most of their time). As such, most users of such vehicles will use them like taxi's but they would cost much less, be safer, and would be available anywhere and for any length trip unlike just metropolitan areas.

Comment Re:Interesting (Score 2) 196

They will charge you though the nose for a "dry" internet connection (i.e. when you only have internet service with them). The delta between internet and TV with internet is just about $20 and add phone for another $10 (with per/min charges). Add a few dollars for the cable box and this deal will only be a small gain over an internet connection and TV.

Perhaps so, but I have TWC in NY and pay just $34.99/month for a 50/5 connection (granted, I think it is rated lower but if you use a docsis 3.0 modem on an otherwise slower priced connection, you get higher speeds) and just use a few shared accounts for netflix/hbo go/nimble tv/amazon/WatchESPN all on a Roku3 that come to something like $10-15/month

perhaps doing this is somewhat against the TOS of those services, but last time I checked, TWC bundling prices is against the terms of service of the federal government...

Comment An alternative approach (Score 1) 699

-We can think of all sorts of analogies for intrusive ads (which are perfectly valid) but the truth is is that most people don't block ads on most sites unless someone can cite some statistics suggesting otherwise so I suggest a technologically feasible approach to serve unobtrusive ads to adblockers.

-As such, if website publishers want to get paid more for their content and think they are being shortchanged by ad-blockers, they could insist that the networks they work with provide them with a less interactive/obtrusive (i.e., non-flash, etc.) ad which will display when the user is using adblock (presumably in conjunction with the functionality already embedded in adblock to allow for those unobtrusive ads; presumably in the form of a cookie that an ad server could read then determine what th serve the user?)

Comment Practically speaking as a CPA... (Score 2) 410

(1) Our tax structure isn't going to change meaningfully anytime soon
(2) The IRS won't allow or enforce any sort of efile for everyone in the short-term
(3) The IRS does allow you to file Form 14039 which puts a flag on your account which will make it harder for someone to cheat you out of your refund because your account will go through extra checks (such as making sure that your address and other information hasn't changed from last year since most information breaches don't contain all of the information necessary to file your tax return) and will reject fraudulent looking returns
(4) The IRS might decide to, upon filing form 14039 or if you have experienced a fraudulent return filed for you, a distinct PIN which is like a PIN for a credit freeze

Morale of the story if you're concerned about not getting your refund
-file form 8822 when you change address and notify your employees and other agencies which file forms on your behalf to have your current address so all filings point to the same physical address
-file form 14039 to have the identify theft flag added to your profile
-always try to arrange so you owe a little money come tax time (but not so much that you owe a penalty) so your refund is not in purgatory in the event of a fraudulent return filed on your behalf
-if you do indeed get a refund, try to file as early as possible to beat out a fraudster

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