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Comment: Re:Not surprised. (Score 1) 565

by RyoShin (#47586311) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Ooh, Comcast collection stories. I might have you beat:

I went to university at an interesting place that did three months internship, three months classes, repeat until you graduate or declare bankruptcy. During the work term I had my own place instead of my campus place, so I had to get my own services. Not knowing better at the time (mid 2004) I got Comcast. All was well and good, actually, and I realized that I had paid for one month too many and called them about it. I recall the lady being nice and saying they would happily refund a pro-rated amount and I gave them my forwarding address.

I quickly forgot about it. Then, in Oct 2005, I got a collections notice (I didn't actually receive it until Christmas 2006 because they sent it to my school address while I was on work term) that stated I owed Comcast that exact same amount they actually owed me (about $35.) To Comcast's credit, I was able to get someone on the phone on Christmas Day who saw the error and cleared the collection amount. (I didn't dare try to actually get the money owed me, as that would risk repeating the whole thing. )

Never again will I give Comcast a red cent. I will invent a way to do TCP/IP over two cans and a string before I get any of their services. If anyone asks me I will yell at them until I am blue in the face for them to avoid Comcast. I haven't dealt with the company personally since that holiday phone call, but I haven't seen a single good thing about them in the news since then; this could be selection bias, but I'm not worried about being wrong in this case.

Comment: Maybe (Score 3, Interesting) 174

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47584603) Attached to: Getting Back To Coding

It seems really, really tough to get anyone finance-minded in the *business* of making software to understand that it's worthwhile to do exploratory development of tools and techniques to be much more productive later on.

Perhaps, but any such exploration and the resulting tools have to beat the baseline of a decent text editor, a decent version control system, a decent scripting language, and starting to write code within a minute of deciding the project is ready to begin.

For a long-running project with many developers and other contributors performing repetitive or error-prone tasks, maybe it will be worth investigating, selecting and adopting some external tools to automate some of that work, at some stage in the project when you know where the pain points are. But if your development team aren't newbies, they will be perfectly capable of building their code manually at first, they will surely already know their universal Big Three tools very well, and importantly, they will just code up any basic automation on the fly as the project grows and the needs become apparent.

IME, that turns out to be a surprisingly tough standard to beat. I've seen many, many projects get bogged down in their own infrastructure because they felt they should use some type of tool and forced themselves to do it, not because they necessarily needed that tool or found it useful in practice. Of course good tools can be useful, and of course sometimes it is better to bring in help from outside the project rather than being too NIH about everything, but it's important to stay focussed on the goal and not to forget that tools are only means to an end.

Comment: Re:From the pdf... (Score 1) 157

by pla (#47583155) Attached to: NASA Tests Microwave Space Drive
No, the best part is that NASA were able to prove 1000 times more accurately than the Chinese that the "engine" produced NO thrust and that there are some inaccuracies that they haven't eliminated.

...By arbitrarily ignoring the design used by not just the Chinese, but also the British, and coming up with their own entirely different and untested version. "Hah, we've proven that your Bugatti Veyron can't do 0-6 in under 2.5 seconds, because we tried it in our Ford Fiesta and it took over 9 seconds!".

Wee bit of "Not built here" syndrome, I wonder?

Comment: Re:Total Propaganda (Score 1) 120

by drinkypoo (#47581757) Attached to: The CIA Does Las Vegas

I am beginning to think that we are being subjected to total propaganda.

You're a bit late on that one. Pretty much everything is propaganda, and what's more, virtually all of it is fear-based; the remainder focuses on allaying fears, often reasonable ones. My favorite example is automotive advertising. As much as half of it is designed not directly to sell cars, but to make customers feel better about their purchases to try to induce repeat business "down the road", pun intended.

At a more drastic scale we see California in urgent emergency over lack of water and forest fires. Yet you will not see news reports on what can actually be done to stop the growing emergency.

If it bleeds, it leads. Hope is not interesting to people who have more than they need.

Comment: Re:Ridiculous (Score 1) 120

by drinkypoo (#47581217) Attached to: The CIA Does Las Vegas

But when they're owned by 5 media companies, all of which are in turn owned by rich media barons, they tend to walk the party line.

We got there because of decades of people systematically giving their money to the most sensational press, which enabled them to become more powerful. It's not something that just happened.

I think that there probably oughta be a law that you can't knowingly tell an outright lie and call it news, but even that seems to be a minority view, which is just another symptom of the same damned need for entertainment.

Comment: Re:The bashing is sometimes justified... (Score 1) 110

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47580713) Attached to: Countries Don't Own Their Internet Domains, ICANN Says

I think it's important to remember that the court ruling that started all this did not say that anyone should be able to require information to be removed just because they didn't like it. The outcome relates to information that is "inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive". Also, it was explicitly stated that such determinations would need to be made on a case-by-case basis, balancing the individual's private life against the public interest.

In other words, what the ruling actually said, as distinct from the hype around it in the media or the frequent misrepresentations in on-line debates since then, isn't a million miles from the kinds of issues you raised there.

Comment: Ridiculous (Score 4, Insightful) 120

by drinkypoo (#47580601) Attached to: The CIA Does Las Vegas

Journalists like Conor Friedersdorf have suggested that one explanation for this is that the public is "informed by a press

Balderdash. There is not a press. What is this, communism, comrade? We have many presses. The problem is that the public follows the sensational ones instead of the informative. We The People have the government, and thus the press, which we deserve.

Comment: Re:Have you actually been to China? (Score 1) 107

by drinkypoo (#47580587) Attached to: Chinese Government Probes Microsoft For Breaches of Monopoly Law

You didnt just say China had these elements you, very stupidly, supported the claim that China's economy is based on slave labour.

But it in fact is; it's not all obvious. Being forced to work is slavery even if you get paid, because you're not choosing the terms of your employment. It's like being raped and then having your rapist throw you a few currency units.

10 to the 12th power microphones = 1 Megaphone