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Comment Re:Jumping ship? (Score 1) 123

an important tool used by cellular carriers to prevent customers from jumping ship.

Handset locks don't stop anything, it is contract law which ensures people pay for the remainder of their contract terms... Handset locks just decrease the usefulness and resale value of the handset, while creating an artificial grey market in unlocking methods.

I intentionally avoid any operator who supplies locked handsets.

The purpose of locked phones isn't to keep people from switching carriers. Having similar plan pricing, focusing on "best coverage" in specific areas, employer discount programs, retention offers, different network technology and most importantly individuals own reluctance to change does that.

Lots of people want to believe that the big companies lock phones to trap them but the real reason is fraud. Cell phone fraud is a lot bigger than most people think.

It works like this: Company A sells phones and service for Verizon. Company A buys Iphone 6's for about $600. A person comes in and buys 2 iphones for $150 each totaling $300 with a contract. The person then goes to another location to buy more phones. As many as they can get away with. Then the person never pays their bill so Company A NEVER GETS PAID BY VERIZON. Thus they lose $600 per phone. 2 phone = $1200 loss, 5 phones = $3000.

It used to be that people doing this would focus on AT&T. Now they just want Verizon phones because they are unlocked for international use. That makes it lot easier to resell them overseas.

I'm just glad that things are moving to installment plans/ full price phones. Now the carrier is the one taking on the liability. And since installment plans require a higher level credit check it's a lot more difficult to commit fraud. Of course, what it means now is that those with poor credit (mostly low income) are now stuck with cheap phones. They come in to get a good phones and now they have to make a 30-40% down payment, if they can get them at all. It use to be that they would just buy last years flagship phones on contract for $0-$50.

Comment Re:Good guy teleco emplyees... (Score 1) 123

If only the idea of a carrier-locked phone could be made illegal... It would put more pressure on the companies to actually come up with decent pricing and plans to secure their customers!

Having all phones unlocked would have no effect on plan pricing in the US. There are already reasonably priced plans out there from MVNOs. You just have to pay full price for your phone and sacrifice some on customer service. It might have some effect on the price of the phones themselves but the only sure result is that you would have to pay full price for your phone up front all the time, and only those with the very best credit would be able to use installment plans to pay for phones.

Comment Re:No big deal (except the encryption part) (Score 1) 176

You might consider checking out Spideroak.com as they claim to not store your password on their servers so that it is impossible for them to decrypt your files without you. Also they have a decent synchronization client for all major OSs. Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Spideroak, just a user.

Comment Re:re-auction them every 5 years (Score 1) 51

If you actually did that it would put a huge cost burden on the customers. The carriers would have to set aside a large portion of their earnings every year to ensure that they would have enough just to keep the spectrum that they have let alone expand. Not to mention that if they lost an auction they would also loose most if not everything that they invested in their network. The companies that survive would be the ones that are able to squeeze the most money out of their customers and are the best at making back room deals with their competitors. And it wouldn't be the small companies. It would be far better at this point if the FCC just gave the spectrum to some of the smaller carriers so that they could expand their markets and offer more choice to customers. Or just nationalize the network and let companies resell service.

Comment Re:They must have felt the 'heat' (Score 1) 166

it is sad though, that HTC appears to be paying at least US$5 to Microsoft for their patents...one more reason for me to avoid HTC.

That doesn't make any sense. It's not as if HTC wants to pay Microsoft money. They are a relatively small company and don't have a choice. If anything, this is yet another reason to avoid Microsoft products and buy an Android based phone.

Comment Re:Lol (Score 1) 936

i proclaim the name of the new debian package manager - FUCK fuck this fuck install fuck remove fuck search

All you need to add is "fuck restart" and it would sound just like the last time I had to do a complete reinstall of my Windows box!

Linux Business

LGP To Introduce Game Copy Protection 388

libredr writes "Phoronix reports that Linux Game Publishing have developed an Internet-based copy protection which will be used in their upcoming commercial game port, such as Sacred: Gold. Any user will be able to install the game, but to launch it he will need to provide a valid key and a password, which are validated against LGP's servers. The key/password combination will allow a user to install the software on different computers. However, an Internet connection will be required even for a single-player game, which might be a hassle for some users. This scheme has enraged some of the beta testers and LGP CEO, Michael Simms, responded he regrets he has to introduce a copy protection scheme, but has to do this since a lot more people download their titles instead of buying them, to the point they even received support requests for pirated version. But will every pirated copy magically transforms into a sale, or will this scheme just annoy legitimate users and be cracked anyway? One really wonders."
The Almighty Buck

Man Selling His Life On eBay 343

A number of readers have sent in the story of the guy in Perth, Australia who is selling his life on eBay. 100 days before the auction opened, he put up a site detailing all that was on offer: house, car, jet ski, friends, job, and so forth. (No wife.) The auction has five days to run and the bidding is up over $300K, supposedly from qualified bidders. The seller says: "Upon completion and settlement I will walk out of my home for the last time in just the clothes I am wearing, and carrying only my wallet and passport."

Lack of Sunlight Could Lead To Early Death 304

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Members of this community may want to venture out of the basement more often, because Dr. Harald Dobnig and his team have found that vitamin D deficiency leads to increased mortality. These results still hold when they take into account such factors as exercise and heart disease. Low vitamin D status has 'other significant negative effects in terms of incidence of cancer, stroke, sudden cardiac death and death of heart failure,' Dr. Dobnig said. The evidence of ill effects from low vitamin D 'is just becoming overwhelming at this point.' Vitamin D3 is usually produced by exposure to the UV-B in sunlight, but in high latitudes, especially in the fall and winter, insufficient UV-B gets through the atmosphere to produce enough vitamin D3, even with hours of exposure. The researchers are recommending that people at risk for deficiency take 800 IU of vitamin D3 daily. Just don't go overboard — as a fat-soluble vitamin, D3 is more capable of causing adverse effects at unnaturally high dosages. The human body tops out at producing about 10,000 IU per day." According to the Wikipedia entry linked above, the D2 (ergocalciferol) version -- available as a vegan product -- works approximately as well to supply humans with their needed vitamin D.

Submission + - Nintendo Wii Fully Hacked at 24C3, runs Homebrew (wiinintendo.net)

cHALiTO writes: "From the site:
The guys over at 24C3 just demoed a Wii hack that is set to provide native Wii homebrew in the near future (not running in GC mode, and with full access to all the Wii hardware!)
They were able to find encryption and decryption keys by doing full memory dumps at runtime over a custom serial interface. Using these keys, they were able to create a Wii 'game' that ran their own code (their demo happened to show live sensor/Wiimote information, amongst a few other things).
Read here and watch video here."

Some people have a great ambition: to build something that will last, at least until they've finished building it.