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Comment: The Entire System is Broken (Score 1) 190

by Bratch (#49649631) Attached to: No Justice For Victims of Identity Theft

The system is broken badly, and no government or private company is doing much to really fix it. My brother had his identy stolen and it made his life miserable for years. He eventually learned that a health care company had went out of business and simply threw their records in the trash, where they were retrieved by the thief. They caught him several times, with stolen identies of many people, but he keeps doing it because there is no real deterrent. Since it's considered a non-violent crime, the cops have limited resources, and the courts hand down weak penalties, which can't be enforced if the jails/prisons are full with violent criminals. Such bullcrap that people get away with ID theft so easily. Nearly makes you want to find the person and take care of the problem on your own.

Comment: If it's in the phone, don't disable it (Score 1) 350

My Samsung Omnia from 6 years ago and Motorola Droid X from 4 years ago both had a working FM receiver, then 2 years ago I get a Samsung Note II and discover that it has a receiver, but it was disabled by either the manufacturer or the carrier. At first I thought it was mostly because Verizon wants us to listen to streaming radio and use more data so they can make more money. Then I read on some forums that any device with an FM receiver must undergo additional testing to meet FCC requirements, with cost proportional to the amount of spectrum used. So on a carrier with a large amount of spectrum (Verizon), neither the manufacturer (Samsung) nor the carrier wants to pay the fees. Sprint offers same model phones with working FM radio and the NextRadio app, which receives the FM signal, and optionally a small amount of bandwidth for the album cover and a link. Recently I saw a coworker on Verizon demonstrate a working FM radio on his HTC One M8, which means that HTC must have paid for the FCC testing to leave the FM radio functioning on a Verizon phone. The NextRadio app did not work on a Samsung S5. Most carriers will say that FM listeners are declining because of streaming and MP3s, so why bother with it.

Yes you need headphones, or a line in to your PC, or even a chopped off 3.5mm pigtail to receive the signal. Many people in the stores do not know the difference between an app like TuneIn and an FM receiver. I thought we might see HD Radio in phones by now, but it's proprietary so I can see why we might not. I was up for a new phone two months ago, but refuse to purchase one that contains a disabled FM receiver. I'm not switching carriers because of it, but it will be a deciding factor in which phone I purchase next. Then I can stop carrying around this Insignia HD Radio.

Comment: Re:Hooked too... (Score 1) 110

by Bratch (#49473915) Attached to: First 26 Pages of Neal Stephenson's New Novel "Seveneves" Online
I have tried three times to get through Anathem, but can't seem to get myself past about the first 1/4 or 1/3 of it. My first attempt was just after finishing Cryptonomicon, so maybe I went into it expecting something similar, but it was nothing like it. On my next attempt I will try harder to get past the first 300 pages and see how it improves beyond that point.

Comment: Re:Welcome to 2009 (Score 1) 115

by Bratch (#47883697) Attached to: Laid Off From Job, Man Builds Tweeting Toilet
Dual flush toilets are common here in the drought prone San Diego area. Press and release for low volume flush (yellow content), press and hold a few sesonds for complete flush (brown content). The flapper is heavy and closes faster, unless you hold it. I'm starting to see no flush urinals more now too.

Comment: Re:Windows 8 (Score 1) 169

by Bratch (#47830023) Attached to: Steve Ballmer Authored the Windows 3.1 Ctrl-Alt-Del Screen
Fairly easy. Install latest NVIDIA driver for my graphics card, wait for screen saver to start, observe sad face emoticon blue screen. If you're not sure which driver is causing the bug check, the driver verifier can help diagnose the problem. I've encountered this one and one for a registry issue, which was resolved by cleaning it three times.

Comment: Re:Time to travel 11 light years (Score 1) 89

by Bratch (#47787349) Attached to: Astronomers Find What May Be the Closest Exoplanet So Far
This was the topic of "How the Universe Works" last night. Even if we figured out the propulsion system (fusion or anti-matter), and figured out a good way to maintain artificial gravity, we would still face the issue of being exposed to large doses of radiation. A simple coating to absorb the radiation wouldn't work because it emits the absorbed radiation in another form, which is still harmful. We would need some type of magnetic shielding similar to how the Earth is currently protected. They said that NASA is already working on the next generation heavy lift vehicles that could be used to construct a large craft in orbit. It's not going to happen in my lifetime, but eventually we will need to leave this planet.

Comment: Re:Local testing works? (Score 1) 778

by Bratch (#47504761) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

Jailing non-violent people is idiotic.

Ever experienced a severe, life ruining case of identity theft? Medical company goes out of business, throws away all records, criminals obtain records and assume identities of past patients, and victims spends many years fighting off all kinds of fradulent activity. But the entire system is broken with no fix in sight, and the criminals know this and continue their activities, especially when there is no actual jail time to worry about.

Comment: Re:oblig. (Score 1) 702

by Bratch (#47401905) Attached to: TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes
Image title text, "A laptop battery contains roughly the stored energy of a hand grenade, and if shorted it ..." Makes me wonder why a terrorist doesn't attempt blowing up a plane by collecting all electronic device batteries and making some kind of fire or explosion out of them. Probably because when passengers get asked for their devices they will fight back.

"For the man who has everything... Penicillin." -- F. Borquin

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