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Comment: Re:As someone who used to do support for Comcast (Score 2) 212

by sjames (#48948613) Attached to: Comcast Employees Change Customer Names To 'Dummy' and Other Insults

At least one of the customers that got called asshole did nothing more than insist on cancelling a premium option on their cable service. Her 'offense' was actually wanting the option cancelled.

As for the rest, for better or worse, these people are the only people reachable and so their job is to listen to the complaints. I do try to avoid screaming, but when I tell you there is no signal on the line at all anywhere on my street, I do not want to hear "reboot your computer" or I can't ping your modem, please be home between Monday and Thursday of next week so I can send someone who doesn't have any equipment to fix the actual problem (yes, paraphrased). Of course you can't ping my modem, your network is down. Apparently they haven't been provided any training at all and can't even look up other customers in my neighborhood so they can try pinging their modems.

Yes, it's the management's fault that they don't even have that very basic knowledge and necessary tools, but since they can't or won't put a manager on the phone (probably a matter of policy), all I can do is ask them to take dictation into a note on the account.

"Human Shield" has never been a pleasant job title, but it's the one that fits their role in the company more often than not.

Comment: Re:w***e ? (Score 3, Insightful) 212

by sjames (#48948207) Attached to: Comcast Employees Change Customer Names To 'Dummy' and Other Insults

Sure, some people who call for support are frustratingly inept or just act like assholes. I get that. Sure, a support person may feel a need to vent by the water cooler. Fine and dandy.

But, these support assholes are changing the customer name in the database such that the bills go out addressing customers as "asshole" or "whore". That is beyond unprofessional. Perhaps their paychecks should be made out to "dumbass", or "fuck head". Fair's fair.

+ - Is there a modern IP Webcam that lets the user control the output? 4

Submitted by Tronster
Tronster (25566) writes "Owners of a local shop have a menu that changes daily and wanted an IP webcam to update an image on their web-site. After a frustrating 2 hours of a "Hikvision" refusing to behave, I threw in the towel and looked for a better camera to recommend. The biggest issue today is that the new webcams that come out don't support FTP, they all support sending images/video direct to a "private cloud" (e.g., Simplicam, Dropcam, etc...)

Google has been no help; all the sites are either outdated in terms of ranking or the most recent ones recommend a Foscam. They previously tried one of these and it's image quality was too poor.

While security systems and home automation has been discussed recently, I haven't found any recent discussions on webcams that give a user control of where the content is sent. Does anyone in the Slashdot community have recommendations, reputable sites that are up-to-date in rankings, and/or hacks to have control over some of these newer cameras?"

Comment: Re:"Support" != actually sacrifice for (Score 1) 408

by sjames (#48947427) Attached to: Most Americans Support Government Action On Climate Change

It is possible to do it proportionally. For example, just replace some of the income tax with the gas tax. The thresholds for income tax could even be adjusted so that the EIC pays for the gas tax for the poor. You could tax based on octane rating as well. Few poor people drive cars that need premium gas.

+ - Gmail is no longer acceptable - Slashdot, please opine on alternatives! 6

Submitted by Press2ToContinue
Press2ToContinue (2424598) writes "Bettering security, I enable a VPN now (Avast Secureline) before accessing my banking and any other financial sites. Difficulty: gmail then thinks I'm a bot, and requires a captcha. In the past, after a few days of answering captchas, Google disabled access to my gmail, without recourse. It lasted 48 hours. I don't need this happening again. So, Google has now gone far enough IMHO. I need a reliable, secure email provider, with calendaring. So, (ahem, apprehensively) /.r's, you know the history (and can you see into the future?) of this sordid tale, what email service do -you- recommend to keep -my- email communications private? Or do you succumb idly to the false sense of security that accompanies the services of the almighty Goog?

(with a semi-faux-sheepish, yet vaguely wicked grin)"

Comment: Re:screw fitness bands. (Score 1) 77

by sjames (#48942515) Attached to: Reverse Engineering the Nike+ FuelBand's Communications Protocol

Keep in mind that the better insurance gets at assessing risk, the less value it has.At some point they get the risk pinned down with sufficient accuracy that you come out better by putting the premiums into a savings account until needed.

Of course the root problem is mistaking insurance for a solution to outrageously overpriced healthcare.

Comment: Re:Government Intervention (Score 1) 474

The sabotage here was more intense and without consequence. Also, any ticket involving a competing DSL service went to the very bottom priority every time. It could literally take a month to get a plug inserted into an adjacent jack. It would, of course get 'accidentally' unplugged a week later and take another month to get plugged back in.

Then, as you said, they got rid of it.

Comment: Re:Regular users only (Score 2) 96

by sjames (#48937633) Attached to: 'Anonymized' Credit Card Data Not So Anonymous, MIT Study Shows

Actually, many businesses had a credit surcharge for a while. Then the credit cards added a no surcharge clause to the merchant contracts. So they hiked their prices and offered a cash discount. Then the credit cards added a no cash discount clause.

Yes, services cost money. That's no excuse for hiding how much it costs and forcing it to be paid for by people not using the service (for example, everyone that pays cash).

Many merchants prefer cash because cash can't be charged back after the fact. For example, if the card turns out to be stolen but not yet reported or the customer files a false claim.

+ - Irish woman first adult in world to be given bionic spine->

Submitted by TechCurmudgeon
TechCurmudgeon (3904121) writes "An Irish woman has become the first adult to undergo an operation to insert magnets in her back to combat a severe curvature of her spine. ... Deirdre McDonnell, from Drogheda, County Louth, spent 30 years in pain after being diagnosed with scoliosis. ... Surgeons performed the pioneering MAGEC rod operation on the 34-year-old, inserting magnetic rods into her spine. ... The procedure, also known as the magnetic expansion control system, involves screwing the rods into the spine. ... The rods can then be controlled externally in order to correct the curvature of the spine. ... Consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Tallaght Hospital, Doctor Patrick Kiely, said: ‘This is a big step forward for us. The largest benefit of MAGEC rod technology is that it removes the need for repeat operations. With the rod, once the initial procedure has been carried out, the patient doesn't have to undergo any more incisions. The spine is straightened externally using a remote control, which is painless and is performed without anaesthesia.'"
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