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Comment: Re:Actually read the book! (Score 2) 110

SF is the abbreviation for "real science fiction". SciFi is the abbreviation for action/horror movies with futuristic explosions. Harlan Ellison suggests "skiffy" as the pronunciation of the latter, and some have taken to writing it that way too. I hear Edge of Tomorrow was actually good SF, but I haven't seen it yet - but 1 a year is lucky for SF films.

Plus you have films like Gravity, which wasn't even SciFi, but instead a historical period piece. Remember when we had shuttles, and the will to build vehicles that could launch men into space? Good times; good times.

Comment: Re:Wow ... (Score 3, Insightful) 329

by lgw (#47559089) Attached to: A 24-Year-Old Scammed Apple 42 Times In 16 Different States

The customer didn't print special cards here - they're just normal, expired cards.

The store doesn't call the number on the back of the card - the store calls their own merchant bank.

This was just straightforward grift (a con game), not some glaring flaw in the banking system. The sales clerks got suckered, perhaps due to lack of training by Apple, or perhaps the con-man was just that good.

Comment: Re:Wow ... (Score 1) 329

by lgw (#47559029) Attached to: A 24-Year-Old Scammed Apple 42 Times In 16 Different States

The truth is that credit card interest is the highest profit gig in the whole world. Because of this, Visa/MasterCard

Visa/MasterCard make $0 off of interest. They charge a fee for the convenience of not having to use cash. They're not in the "loaning money" business at all, and of course TFS talks about debit cards, not credit cards.

Vendors are not even allowed to do things like require an ID, (I know they do, but it is against the vendor agreement), even though it would make purchases a lot more secure, because EASY trumps everything, EASY makes billions.

Easy is what the customers want. For normal fraud with actual credit cards (nothing to do with this story, of course), it's the merchant who eats the fraud for ID theft. But merchants sign up for that, because they'll have less business if they're inconvenient for their customers.

Security is not the primary goal here, nor should it be. The only goal of any security here is to limit losses system-wide to something manageable. And it does that just fine.

Crime

A 24-Year-Old Scammed Apple 42 Times In 16 Different States 329

Posted by timothy
from the fool-me-42-times-won't-get-fooled-again dept.
redletterdave (2493036) writes "Sharron Laverne Parrish Jr., 24, allegedly scammed Apple not once, but 42 times, cheating the company out of more than $300,000 — and his scam was breathtakingly simple. According to a Secret Service criminal complaint, Parrish allegedly visited Apple Stores and tried to buy products with four different debit cards, which were all closed by his respective financial institutions. When his debit card was inevitably declined by the Apple Store, he would protest and offer to call his bank — except, he wasn't really calling his bank. So he would allegedly offer the Apple Store employees a fake authorization code with a certain number of digits, which is normally provided by credit card issuers to create a record of the credit or debit override. But that's the problem with this system: as long as the number of digits is correct, the override code itself doesn't matter."

Comment: Re:network (Score 1) 144

by lgw (#47554443) Attached to: What percentage of your media consumption is streamed?

WiFi vs powerline networking is very much house-specific. Modern WiFi works great in most places these days, but it matters what's in the walls between here and there. Powerline networking works great in some places, but other are wired so there there's no signal at all between certain rooms, because of deliberate isolation (only heard o fthat in newer houses). One or the other is pretty likely to work for you, if you can't get GbE wired where you need it. At least try to wire up your most-used TV.

I use the Handbrake command line to rip these days, because of the DVD/BR trickery, language choices, and so on. With a few scripts I get the audio and subtitle tracks I want, reliably. I have a little program to scan the DVD (using handbrake) and generate a ripping script, needing as input only whether it's an animated title, which 90% of the time I can just run. It's only the stupid BluRays where there are many bogus titles that it takes me more than a few seconds of effort these days.

BTW, Disney isn't the main villain when it comes to the fake BR tracks, that's LionsGate. I haven't seen that from Disney for some time now (Disney cartoons do typically have 1 title choice per language, since they localize on-screen writing and sometimes the credits, but that's just a few titles to sort out, not the 9-title puzzle box).

Comment: Re:How to regulate something that is unregulateabl (Score 1) 154

by lgw (#47552681) Attached to: US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

Gold notes were just as virtual as anything else. Physical gold coins, or barter for consumables, is the only way to avoid virtuality, and there were many practical reasons we went away from that. Nothing, of course, will prevent a government from debasing a currency - it's what they do, it's all they do.

Comment: Re: Alternative explanation (Score 3, Informative) 393

Bandwidth is perhaps cheaper than you suspect.

I worked for a regional ISP that serves about 50.000 subscribers. We had multiple 10 Gigabit Ethernet connections to various peering points, one of which happens to be where Netflix peered with us. Total cost for that peerage: the cost of the extra fiber capacity, plus engineering the peer.

As opposed to housing Netflix servers at our data center. First off, to service that many potential streams might require a few boxes and a not insignificant storage array. We actually did have a similar arrangement with another very large content provider: their stuff took about a half-rack. It then needs to be added to network monitoring, and you need to train your NOC staff what to do when that little red light comes on. And the equipment will fail: the "other content providers" equipment had a MTBF of a couple of months. The hard drives will take a pounding.

And we were small enough that when we asked Netflix to co-locate in our data center for free they actually said "Not interested."

Comment: Re:Appre (Score 1) 223

by lgw (#47534063) Attached to: VP Biden Briefs US Governors On H-1B Visas, IT, and Coding

I disagree. If you can hold down a professional job in America, you should get a green card (after only a criminal background check). If you can hold down any job in America, you should get a work visa (after only a criminal background check). The only way in which legal immigration can be bad for us is when people come here without jobs to consume federal programs. Have a job? Welcome aboard!

If native population were growing fast, it might be a different story, but since native population is shrinking (birth rate below replacement rate), we need people, those with professional skills preferred.

Comment: Re:Appre (Score 5, Insightful) 223

by lgw (#47519719) Attached to: VP Biden Briefs US Governors On H-1B Visas, IT, and Coding

The problem isn't people coming here on H1-Bs, but their difficulty in turn that into a green card. The "apprentices" would mostly stay here if they could. And does anyone really want to argue that immigration of well-educated, highly-skilled engineers is bad for America?

All the focus on the political immigration debate seems to be on low-skilled workers, and the answers aren't so easy there. But anyone who can come here and work a job that pays $100k+? Keep em coming, I say.

Comment: Re:Pft (Score 4, Interesting) 960

by lgw (#47511559) Attached to: The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

From what I hear, death threats are quite normal in the video games industry. Certainly the vitriol flies on gaming forums (can't imagine how busy the moderators for official game forums must be). This article seems to boil down to "but women get rape threats too". OK, sure, men don't often get those, fair point. But in an industry thick with death threats, how many developers or commentators have actually been lynched by angry fans since the beginning of time? Roughly zero? It's not rational to actually be creeped out or worried about this stuff.

For goodness sake, Jack Thompson is still alive and well. If any of these threats of violence could be taken seriously, he'd be the first casualty. Think you're more hated than that guy?

Comment: Re:Why do you want pieces of plastic (Score 1) 353

by lgw (#47510471) Attached to: Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

I have 100 discs in my Netflix queue that aren't available on streaming. Go through about 6 a week, and have for years (I don't have cable). Only about 10% or what I watch can be streamed. And sadly the count of "very long wait" is up to 20 now, and climbing.

For the most part, it's only recent (but not too recent) content that's streamable. Heck, you can't even stream The Wire, and that's not that old. You can't stream any of the pre-reboot Dr Who episodes, and I could add another 100 discs to my queue just for Dr Who (does the BBC have these streaming yet?)

Comment: Re:Time will tell (Score 1) 353

by lgw (#47510319) Attached to: Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

If there were an alternative to Netflix for disc shipment, I'd switch today. I might pay double, certainly 50% more, for the breadth of selection Netflix once had, if catalog growth continued, stuff got upgraded to BluRay, and so on.

But there's no such animal. Kids these days are all about streaming. Netflix's model of "delayed gratification" for TV watching was a miracle in the first place. I'm amazed it's lasted as long as it has.

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