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Comment: Re: Hmmm (Score 1) 205

by Jason Levine (#47500171) Attached to: New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

We have a minivan. We got it just before our first child was born 11 years ago. It was quite handy during the years when the kids required a ton of stuff for trips (stroller, seat to eat in, portable crib, ton of diapers, etc). Now it is overkill and the low mileage makes it expensive to drive on long trips. When the time comes to replace it, we're definitely getting something with better mpg.

Comment: Re:I disagree (Score 1) 390

by Jason Levine (#47482697) Attached to: Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

That's a good point. Verizon is complaining about the asymmetric nature of their peering, but it's really their own fault. If you give your customers connections with vastly greater upstream speeds than downstream speeds, you shouldn't act surprised when you're pulling more data from your peering connections than you are sending. (Same goes for not allowing customers to run servers.)

Comment: Re:I really really hate (Score 5, Interesting) 383

by Jason Levine (#47474141) Attached to: Microsoft CEO To Slash 18,000 Jobs, 12,500 From Nokia To Go

You should listen to a song on the latest Weird Al album: Mission Statement. Sung in the style of Crosby, Stills, and Nash, it's a perfect parody of those managers who love to speak in "corporate talk." Next time you go to a meeting with one of those managers, recite some of the lyrics (spoken, not sung, of course) and see whether they nod their heads in agreement.

"We'll set a brand trajectory
Using management philosophy
Advance our market share vis-à-vis
Our proven methodology
With strong commitment to quality
Effectively enhancing corporate synergy"

Comment: Re:Cars without passengers that are the problem (Score 2) 435

by Jason Levine (#47468717) Attached to: FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars

Bad guys can program computers to do bad things without any human involvement (beyond the initial orders from the bad guys). Should we give the police kill switches for computers so they can turn off any computer they suspect may be involved in a crime?

Bad guys can also park cars near sensitive locations, pack the trucks with explosives, and detonate them remotely. Should we make all cars with special locks that the police have master keys to? This way the police can open any car at any time if they decide that car might possibly be suspicious.

Comment: Re:In ... the New Your State? (Score 1) 41

by Jason Levine (#47468555) Attached to: Breaches Exposed 22.8 Million Personal Records of New Yorkers

Yup. I usually vote for the Democrat candidates, but I won't vote for him again. The problem is that I don't like the Republican candidates either. So I'll likely vote for a third party candidate. I know they won't have a realistic chance of winning the election, but it will be a protest vote. If enough people protest by voting third party, maybe the two major parties will pay attention.

Comment: Re:High useage (Score 1) 87

by Jason Levine (#47467701) Attached to: Amazon Is Testing a $10-Per-Month Ebook Service

Depending on your library, you might also be able to take out ebooks like you take out paperbacks. In fact, since we're New York State residents, we're members of both our local library and the New York Public Library. They have different amounts of ebooks available and different waiting lists. So if we can't get it from one, we can likely get it from the other.

Comment: Re:In ... the New Your State? (Score 2) 41

by Jason Levine (#47466343) Attached to: Breaches Exposed 22.8 Million Personal Records of New Yorkers

This is also the state where the Commissioner of Education, John King, had a talk about New York's implementation of Common Core. The talk was overrun with parents who had issues with the implementation specifically (and some with Common Core in general). There were a lot of questions they wanted to ask and a lot of answers they wanted to get. Instead, King cut the meeting short, cancelled the rest of his tour, and said that "special interest groups" were to blame. (Parents are apparently now a special interest group.) He finally caved to pressure and re-opened his tour but made sure that each venue was structured so he wouldn't need to be confronted by opponents in that manner anymore.

New York: Where the politicians serve their constituents - themselves - and the public can go wait in the corner until they're needed to pay more taxes.

Comment: Re:Data is Unsecurable (Score 2) 41

by Jason Levine (#47466297) Attached to: Breaches Exposed 22.8 Million Personal Records of New Yorkers

This was one big reason why, when New York said they were going to upload students' data into the Bill Gates Foundation's InBloom system, I was opposed. The data (including some very personal info like medical diagnoses) would have been upload to an Amazon cloud drive. As if "cloud drives" are never hackable.

(The other reason I was opposed was that lawmakers specifically made an exception to the data sharing laws so that data could be uploaded to InBloom whether or not parents wanted it uploaded. Not only was it not opt-in, but you couldn't even opt-out.)

Thankfully, New York backed off this plan. If they wanted to standardize the systems across the school districts, I might not have a problem with it (depending on the system), but uploading tons of personal information and trying to hand-wave security concerns away by saying "the cloud" doesn't sit will with me.

Comment: Might Finally Use Google+ Again (Score 1) 238

by Jason Levine (#47465851) Attached to: Pseudonyms Now Allowed On Google+

Almost everywhere online, I use a pseudonym. (Slashdot is an exception because I set up this account so long ago.) I don't want my Twitter/blog/etc accounts associated with my real name so I refused to use Google+. (I set up a Google+ Page with my pseudonym, but that's a pain because you can only follow people who first follow you.) I know some people had switched to pseudonyms, but I didn't want to risk losing my entire Google account over it. Now that they are allowing pseudonyms, I might start using Google+ again.

Comment: Re:So... (Score 4, Informative) 401

by Jason Levine (#47460357) Attached to: Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For an Answer

Sadly, then the company will send your unpaid bills to a collection agency who will hound you for payment and which will ruin your credit score. The burden will be on you to prove that you told them to cancel your service and they didn't. It won't be impossible, mind you, but you'll need to fight to clear your credit because some company refuses to stop billing you in the hopes that you'll just send them more money because it's easier than trying to cancel.

Comment: Re:Awesome! (Score 1) 163

Not always if the slanderer is in another country.

I had someone online who was claiming that I was really someone else and involved with some people in illegal activities. She said she was going to contact every company I worked with to tell them of my "illegal dealings." Luckily, I a) only used a pseudonym there (unlike on Slashdot), and b) the woman was certifiably nuts. As evidence to the latter, she claimed that she was a prophet of god. Her proof of my "illegal dealings" were that god told her so. Any sane company would immediately file her complaint to the trash.

Someone else who she pestered (actually the person she claimed I "really" was - her proof? We both liked photography) had his real name and employer online. She contacted him, his employer, and all of his relatives on Facebook (along with anyone who might happen to share the same last name). Given that he is a teacher, her charges involving kids could have caused him to lose his job. Thankfully, he warned his employer about her and they ignored her.

A bunch of us who were harassed by this woman have contacted the police to no avail. Charging someone with slander and harassment from another country is very tricky. Not only that, but when she finally harassed someone in her own country (Canada), the person filed suit... and the police went to her house and told her just who was suing her. Like telling someone charged with harassment who is fighting back ISN'T going to result in more harassment. As far as I know, that case went nowhere. It got tied up in the legal system for a bit before petering out.

So this woman is free to harass more people as she sees fit and our options are limited.

(This isn't meant to say that "Right to Forget" is good. Just that existing laws might not be enough.)

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"