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Comment: Re:bandaids (Score 1) 218

by WheezyJoe (#48948311) Attached to: Comcast Employees Change Customer Names To 'Dummy' and Other Insults

"... Comcast has apologized and is looking at ways to prevent it from happening in the future..."?.

An upper manager at Comcast contacted a lower manager in Public and Press Relations, who promptly ordered an assistant to hastily look through pre-fab corporate apology phrases and hash together an official but very brief written response that 1) acknowledges that mistakes were made without admitting to actual knowledge of who made what mistake, if any, 2) appears to take responsibility for whatever went wrong without actually accepting any responsibility for anything, and 3) indicates that some form of appropriate action will be taken without identifying such action or making any commitment that any such action will take place, now or ever. Upon review by at least one corporate attorney to assure that the response does not obligate the company in any way, express or implied, such that the company is completely free and clear to move on and forget the entire thing, the response was released along with an implied message directed to the press that the matter should now be permitted to die away in favor of something more interesting like Katy Perry's wardrobe malfunction.

There. FTFY.

Comment: Re:Hmmm, what about management??? (Score 1) 218

by WheezyJoe (#48947875) Attached to: Comcast Employees Change Customer Names To 'Dummy' and Other Insults

Either management is approving of these actions either explicitly or implicitly by inaction or management is incompetent.

I would bet that management is 100% engaged in the pending merger with Time Warner... that's the sexy stuff. Day to day management of delivering product or keeping the proles... I mean, customers, satisfied is way down the list of priorities. Too hard to measure, too hard to link to anything that raises stock value. It may be sad, but in big companies making customers happy (particularly customers who are captive to your monopoly status anyway) doesn't get you promoted from your middle-management job like cutting costs does.

I'll wager the under-appreciated grunt employees at the front-lines with the customers are doing this just to test whether any of their merger-mad managers are paying any attention. Since management is only apologizing now after the press and blogosphere have discovered it, the answer was probably no.

Comment: Re:Need "Apply" or live updates in dialogs (Score 1) 145

by WheezyJoe (#48941839) Attached to: LibreOffice Gets a Streamlined Makeover With 4.4 Release

live updates or an "Apply" button when making changes in character, paragraph, and, page dialogs

Very Much This. It's an interface feature that's not at all new, and easily taken for granted until you come across an app that doesn't have it. Particularly in Draw, the lack of this feature wastes a lot of time.

I am also waiting in vain for Writer to include a "normal" or "draft" view like in Word, making better use of the space on the screen (I don't need to see faux paper stuff all the time) while still retaining margins and showing page breaks unlike the useless (to me) "Web View".

There's bugs registered for these things somewhere, but I can't tell how the developers choose which issues to address and which ones to put off indefinitely.

Comment: Re:What are the practical results of this? (Score 2) 427

by WheezyJoe (#48934587) Attached to: FCC Officially Approves Change In the Definition of Broadband

Both parties in this country are bought and paid for by corporate interests so there's no way to change the status quo

Why do people always say this? Although both parties receive contributions from whoever wants to contribute, they most definitely don't behave the same. This FCC decision is a prime example: the two Republicans voted lock-step with the cable lobby, but the three Democrats had the balls to stand against it to at least try to drag the United States into the future. So, thank you, Democrats, thank you, particularly for calling out the industry's lobbying bullshit, testifying that 4Mbps down and 1Mbps up is just plenty, while at the same time telling consumers that same speed sucks and that we all should pay premium (not available in all areas) because ’25/25 is best for one to three devices at the same time, great for surfing, e-mail, online shopping and social networking, streaming two HD videos simultaneously. 50/50 is best for three to five devices at the same time, more speed for families or individuals with multiple Internet devices, stream up to five HD videos simultaneously.’

+ - Comcast Pays Overdue Fees, Free Stuff For Time-Warner Merger Approval

Submitted by WheezyJoe
WheezyJoe (1168567) writes "In seeking more support for its mega-merger with Time-Warner Cable, Comcast has been going across the country giving local governments a chance to ask for favors in exchange for approving a franchise transfer. In Minneapolis, this turned up an unpaid bill of $40,000 in overdue franchise fees, so Comcast will have to pay the city money it already owed in order to get the franchise transfer. Comcast will also throw in $50,000 worth of free service and equipment.

"Thirty Minneapolis city buildings will get free basic cable for the next seven years as part of a package of concessions the city wrung out of Comcast in exchange for blessing its proposed merger with fellow cable giant Time Warner," Minnesota Public Radio reported. "Comcast has also agreed to pay Minneapolis $40,000 in overdue franchise fees after an audit found it underpaid the city for its use of the public right of way over the last three years." The article notes that getting any kind of refund out of a cable company is not easy.

Part of the deal with Minneapolis involves the spinoff of a new cable company called GreatLand Connections that will serve 2.5 million customers in the Midwest and Southeast, including Minnesota. After the deal, Comcast's franchises in those areas would be transferred to GreatLand. Such goodwill concessions may seem impressive as Comcast seeks to foster goodwill, but one wonders how Comcast/TimeWarner will behave after the merger."

+ - Computer chess created in 487 bytes, breaks 32-year-old record->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The record for smallest computer implementation of chess on any platform was held by 1K ZX Chess, which saw a release back in 1983 for the Sinclair ZX81. It uses just 672 bytes of memory, and includes most chess rules as well as a computer component to play against.

The record held by 1K ZX Chess for the past 32 years has just been beaten this week by the demoscene group Red Sector Inc. They have implemented a fully-playable version of chess called BootChess in just 487 bytes."

Link to Original Source

+ - FCC calls blocking of personal Wi-Fi hotspots "disturbing trend"->

Submitted by alphadogg
alphadogg (971356) writes "The FCC on Tuesday warned that it will no longer tolerate hotels, convention centers or others intentionally interfering with personal Wi-Fi hotspots. This issue grabbed headlines last fall when Marriott International was fined $600K for blocking customer Wi-Fi hotspots, presumably to encourage the guests to pay for pricey Internet access from the hotel."
Link to Original Source

+ - Latest Windows 10 Preview Build Brings Unexpectedly Large Number of Enhancements

Submitted by Deathspawner
Deathspawner (1037894) writes "Following its huge Windows 10 event last Wednesday, Microsoft released a brand-new preview build to the public, versioned 9926. We were told that it'd give us Cortana, Microsoft's AI assistant, as well as a revamped Start menu and updated notifications pane. But as it turns out, that's not even close to summing up all that's new with this build. In fact, 9926 is easily the most substantial update rolled out so far in the beta program, with some UI elements and integral Windows features seeing their first overhaul in multiple generations."

+ - Why was "Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?" accepted by 17 medical journals->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "As a medical researcher at Harvard, Mark Shrime gets a very special kind of spam in his inbox: every day, he receives at least one request from an open-access medical journal promising to publish his research if he would only pay $500.

"You block one of them with your spam filter and immediately another one pops up," Shrime, an MD who is pursuing a PhD in health policy, tells me.

These emails are annoying, for sure, but Shrime was worried that there might be bigger issues at stake: What exactly are these journals publishing and who is taking these journals to be credible sources of medical information?

Shrime decided to see how easy it would be to publish an article. So he made one up."

Link to Original Source

+ - YouTube Ditches Flash For HTML5 Video By Default

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "YouTube today announced it has finally stopped using Adobe Flash by default. The site now uses its HTML5 video player by default in Google’s Chrome, Microsoft’s IE11, Apple’s Safari 8, and in beta versions of Mozilla’s Firefox browser. At the same time, YouTube is now also defaulting to its HTML5 player on the web. In fact, the company is deprecating the “old style” Flash object embeds and its Flash API, pointing users to the iframe API instead, since the latter can adapt depending on the device and browser you’re using."

+ - FCC Fines Verizon for Failing to Investigate Rural Phone Problems

Submitted by WheezyJoe
WheezyJoe (1168567) writes "Verizon agreed to a $5 million settlement after admitting that it failed to investigate whether its rural customers were able to receive long distance and wireless phone calls. The settlement is related to the FCC's efforts to address what is known as the rural call completion problem. Over an eight-month period during 2013, low call answer rates in 39 rural areas should have triggered an investigation, the FCC said. The FCC asked Verizon what steps it took, and Verizon said in April 2014 that it investigated or fixed problems in 13 of the 39 areas, but did nothing in the other 26.

"Rural call completion problems have significant and immediate public interest ramifications," the FCC said in its order on the Verizon settlement today. "They cause rural businesses to lose customers, impede medical professionals from reaching patients in rural areas, cut families off from their relatives, and create the potential for dangerous delays in public safety communications." Verizon has been accused of letting its copper landline network decay while it shifts its focus to fiber and cellular service. The FCC is working a plan to protect customers as old copper networks are retired."

+ - Koch Brothers Budget $889 Million for 2016 Election

Submitted by (3830033) writes "Nicholas Confessore reports at the NYT that the Koch Brothers and their political network plan to spend close to $900 million in the 2016 election, an unparalleled effort by coordinated outside groups to shape a presidential election that is already on track to be the most expensive in history. The group’s budget reflects the rising ambition and expanded reach of the Koch operation, which has sought to distinguish itself from other outside groups by emphasizing the role of donors over consultants and political operatives. Hundreds of conservative donors recruited by the Kochs gathered over the weekend for three days of issue seminars, strategy sessions and mingling with rising elected officials. These donors represent the largest concentration of political money outside the party establishment, one that has achieved enormous power in Republican circles in recent years. “It’s no wonder the candidates show up when the Koch brothers call,” says David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to Mr. Obama. “That’s exponentially more money than any party organization will spend. In many ways, they have superseded the party.”

Espousing a political worldview that protects free speech and individual and property rights with equal protection for everyone under the law Koch says: “It is up to us. Making this vision a reality will require more than a financial commitment. It requires making it a central part of our lives.” Told of the $889 million goal, Mark McKinnon, a veteran GOP operative who has worked to rally Republican support to reduce the role of money in politics, quipped: “For that kind of money, you could buy yourself a president. Oh, right. That’s the point.”"

+ - Tesla P85D g-forces hold iPhone against seat and elicit surprising reactions->

Submitted by FikseGTS
FikseGTS (3604833) writes "DragTimes puts a few unsuspecting riders in the seat of a 691HP Tesla P85D while using the Tesla's "Insane" mode launch. An iPhone goes flying out of a kids hand and sticks to the rear seat from the g-forces and others have some interesting choice of words from the experience. Clean and Explicit versions of the video are availalbe."
Link to Original Source

+ - Comcast Ghost-writes Politician's Letters to Support Time Warner Mega-Merger

Submitted by WheezyJoe
WheezyJoe (1168567) writes "As the FCC considers the merger between Comcast/Universal and Time-Warner Cable, which would create the largest cable company in the U.S. and is entering the final stages of federal review, politicians are pressuring the FCC with pro-merger letters actually written by Comcast. According to documents obtained through public records requests politicians are passing letters nearly word-for-word written by Comcast as their own, politicians are passing letters nearly word-for-word written by Comcast as their own. "Not only do records show that a Comcast official sent the councilman the exact wording of the letter he would submit to the FCC, but also that finishing touches were put on the letter by a former FCC official named Rosemary Harold, who is now a partner at one of the nation’s foremost telecom law firms in Washington, DC. Comcast has enlisted Harold to help persuade her former agency to approve the proposed merger."

Ars Technica had already reported that politicians have closely mimicked Comcast talking points and re-used Comcast's own statements without attribution. The documents revealed today show just how deeply Comcast is involved with certain politicians, and how they were able to get them on board."

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. - Edmund Burke