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Comment Apologies for banks? (Score 1) 72

Seriously? I'm a "sheep" for hating the banking system we've got in place?

Let's talk about that "interest collected on savings", shall we? It's so little these days, it's pretty much worthless. Meanwhile, you let the bank use your money while it sits there, to lend out to someone else at a FAR higher interest rate than you're being paid on it.

Or let's talk ATM machines.... Ostensibly deployed for customer convenience, they're ALSO quite popular with banks because it allowed them to stop hiring nearly so many tellers to help people in person with transactions. That means, a big cost savings for the banks. All fine and good, except why then do I get dinged for $2.00 or more each time I try to take my OWN money out of my account using a machine not owned by my particular bank? And why, in most cases, will the bank who owns that ATM *also* add on a $2.00 or more fee for withdrawing the money? If I only need $10, that's a good 40% of what I'm withdrawing they want as a cut for doing it! With almost all of these machines in the same "network", it should be a trivial process for banks to sort out who owes who for a "foreign transaction" and straighten that out on the back end. Maybe worth a 25 cent surcharge, at most.

In fact, pretty much ANY interaction with a bank involves surcharges tacked on. Want a new box of checks ordered? You can be sure they'll sell them to you for at least 2x the going rate from any of the custom check printing services that advertising in the local newspaper and elsewhere (and get less choice about how you want them to look). Accidental overdraft? Now we're really talking extra charges! I guess they figure since YOU made the mistake, they can soak you with impunity on those, right?

I have no problem with a lender verifying a person is reliable and statistically likely enough to repay them before agreeing to the loan. But loans are where banks really should be making all the money they need to survive and thrive! All of the savings or checking accounts should just be tools to gather up some of that money to lend back out, and not viewed as MORE ways to profit from people. Most of the people opening one of those accounts will eventually need an auto loan, a home loan, or some kind of personal loan anyway.

And lastly -- I never found a bank that would lend me money at an interest rate as low as a local credit union. They're simply not competitive with them!

Comment Re:The problem is user error. (Score 1) 571

I agree. The technical problem here was that the user managed to enter an incorrect destination. Common sense *should* come into play once you've driven a good bit further than what you expected to reach the place .... but that's kind of irrelevant to the point. A GPS is supposed to navigate you to the correct location.

My experience using many different GPS systems over the years is that all of them fail in various ways at handling user input well. For example, I have a RHR-730N GPS stereo in my 2014 Jeep Wrangler right now. This radio has been used in a number of Chrysler vehicles for the last few years including their mini-vans, and I believe in some Dodge vehicles too. Supposedly, it was their "high end" premium stereo option -- though now, they have a nicer, more modern one they're starting to include in Jeep Grand Cherokees and other new vehicles.

The 730N, even with the latest map upgrade for 2016 and the latest available firmware update still has problems with voice navigation commands. If I go through the voice command "tree" until I reach the point where it asks me to speak a location name, it often comes back telling me there are no matches, or decides to offer me 2,000 plus results, with the top result on the first screen being 800-900 miles away from me! It renders the feature completely worthless. If I key in a point of interest or an address directly, though, it works pretty much as expected.

I have a Clarion GPS stereo in my other car, and that one has its own set of issues. It doesn't even try to support voice commands, but when keying in an address, it sometimes takes a number of attempts to get it to find what you're searching for - just because it's so inflexible with matching input. (EG. Say you need to locate 150 E South Street? You might have to spell out 150 EAST SOUTH ST, or maybe it wants 150 E S ST, or it could be 150 E SOUTH ST. And don't forget to watch out if you're just trying to enter a partial address and let it auto fill the rest. If there's an 150 E SOUTH AVE or 150 E SOUTH SPUR or what-not, it'll probably grab the wrong one.) Then, to top it off? The voice synthesis is pretty bad too. It'll likely pronounce your destination as "One-Fifty Eeesss Street" if they had it in the database as "150 E S ST."

Comment re: perception and reality (Score 1) 72

People are generally upset with our banks because while they accept them as basically essential, they don't approve of much of what they do.

The banks can and do screw me, from time to time, yet yes - I leave my money with them. I might not have an "obligation" to do so, but it becomes very difficult to go around them. Most employers prefer to pay with direct deposit to a bank account, for example. If you opt out? They might cut you checks which you've got to go to check cashing places to cash, and incur fees for doing so right off the bat. Then you incur the risk of carrying that much cash around with you everywhere too.

Try to make a major purchase and the country flags you as a terrorist suspect the minute you make a large cash payment for it! Try to take cash on an airline flight and again, you're flagged and pulled out of the security line. If you ever do try to make monthly payments with a business on something, they typically run your credit and find that your credit score stinks too -- since there's no record of you having your name on a savings or checking account or any other real credit history.

I'm not suggesting all of us think bank robbers are "heroes". I know I don't. There's still a system in place that those people think they're "above everyone else", bypassing it, and costing everyone else in the long run. (Banks that lose money are covered by FDIC insurance, but eventually -- it's we the taxpaying public who gets to pay to keep that insurance program going.)

Submission + - Push To Hack: Reverse engineering an IP camera (contextis.com)

tetraverse writes: For our most recent IoT adventure, we've examined an outdoor cloud security camera which like many devices of its generation a) has an associated mobile app b) is quick to setup and c) presents new security threats to your network.

Submission + - Patent troll VirnetX awarded $626M in damages from Apple (arstechnica.com)

Tackhead writes: Having won a $200M judgement against Microsoft in 2010, lost a $258M appeal against Cisco in 2013, and having beaten Apple for $368M in 2012, only to see the verdict overturned in 2014, patent troll VirnetX is back in the news, having been awarded $626M in damages arising from the 2012 Facetime patent infringement case against Apple.

Comment IMO, valid complaints (Score 5, Insightful) 339

This is just getting blown up into a bigger deal than it should be because one crowd is eager to defend Tesla Motors against any negative press, while the other is eager to make Musk look like an arrogant jerk (a la the late Steve Jobs).

The way I see it though, Stewart Alsop didn't really bring up any complaints that weren't valid. He's right... Who starts a product launch event over an hour late and doesn't even acknowledge they ran behind? And really, it's poor planning at best to promise participants a test drive when you clearly have too many people signed up for one than you can accommodate. (He said he had number 1,344? Come on! You might not get through that many people in an entire day at an auto show -- much less an event at night that already started an hour late!)

If Tesla wants to cancel his pre-order, fine. Maybe that helps send a message that they won't be pushed around by people making a lot of demands, and that will help them eliminate some problem customers. But I think it also shows some of us that their leader isn't very good at taking criticism. That's unfortunate because the ability to do so helps make a better product and improve customer service.

Submission + - Stephen Elop Assumes Position In McMaster University

jones_supa writes: Technology maven Stephen Elop is coming home. McMaster University has officially announced that the former alumnus and Microsoft and Nokia executive has been named the distinguished engineering executive in residence at the school's faculty of engineering. It is an advisory position, where he will give insights into new research and teaching opportunities, as well as helping to translating academic knowledge to a wider audience. He will also give lectures twice a year, as well as sit on the dean's advisory council and act as an advisor to the dean. Elop is an alumnus of the McMaster Computer Engineering and Management Program, where he graduated in 1986. The faculty also awarded him with an honorary doctor of science degree in 2009.

Comment They know something's wrong, but .... (Score 1) 832

I think there are sensible solutions that preserve the basic concepts of a Democratic Republic. The *problem* is, most people running for office right now are too extreme to the "left" or "right", while others dropped out early because they just weren't cut out to do public speaking and debate.

I'm not at all convinced the "Nordic model" is the answer for the United States.

While he's not ideal, Rand Paul has been consistently talking common sense and at least by the judgement of many bloggers -- winning the debates. Problem is, he doesn't raise his voice or say anything "crazy" that creates a media frenzy of attention around him. Essentially, he doesn't make entertaining enough "political reality TV" for the networks like Trump does, so they just try to tune him out. IMO, he'd do far more for people, if elected, than Trump ever will.

And who are all these people who supposedly scoffed at millennials for complaining of 60 hour work weeks and no benefits? If anything, I'd say that much of this claimed "difference of opinion about jobs" between generations is manufactured B.S. Whenever you get the Gen X, the Gen Y and the millennial crowd together in an argument online about jobs/careers, you find a pretty even distribution of people who think alike across the entire age spectrum. The only thing I've ever been able to identify as different with millennials is that because they're young and typically single, their priorities naturally revolve around the things that matter to young, single people. No rocket science there .... (So, for example, they aren't faced with the time pressures of older people raising families. That means they might claim to prefer to "blend work and free time" together as a ball of multitasking. Doesn't mean Americans are doomed because "we've all been suckered into taking our work home with us and can't separate the two anymore", or any of that nonsense.)

What's wrong is pretty simple. We don't have enough businesses in America able to hire people at "middle class" wages, vs. the number of people who WANT that type of employment. If you look at the list of the top 10 employers in America today, you see that by a HUGE margin, #1 is WalMart. Nobody I know expects to make a good "middle class career" out of a WalMart job. And who is #2 after WalMart? Oh, it's Yum Foods, Inc. -- owners of chains like Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Same problem. We need to encourage small business growth, especially for people in rural America where the only employment nearby is the local gas station or WalMart, or maybe a local hardware store. (And it's absolutely possible. Remember Gateway computers? They started in rural Iowa, hence the Holstein cow patterned shipping boxes for all of their PCs.)

Canada

A Legal Name Change Puts 'None of the Above' On Canadian Ballot (foxnews.com) 171

PolygamousRanchKid writes: The ballot to fill a legislative seat in Canada next month includes none of the above—and it's a real person. Sheldon Bergson, 46, had his name legally changed to Above Znoneofthe and is now a candidate for the Ontario legislature, the CBC reports. The election is Feb. 11. The ballot lists candidates in alphabetical order by surname so his name will be the 10th of the 10 candidates as Znoneofthe Above, according to CBC. One of his opponents is running on the line of the None of The Above Party. Maybe the American folks can learn from their cousins up north? Shouldn't every election have a line for "None of the above"? I can't wait until Little Bobby Tables hits 35.

Submission + - Candidate's legal name change puts 'none of the above' on ballot in Canada (foxnews.com)

PolygamousRanchKid writes: The ballot to fill a legislative seat in Canada next month includes none of the above—and it’s a real person. Sheldon Bergson, 46, had his name legally changed to Above Znoneofthe and is now a candidate for the Ontario legislature, the CBC reports. The election is Feb. 11. The ballot lists candidates in alphabetical order by surname so his name will be the 10th of the 10 candidates as Znoneofthe Above, according to CBC.

One of his opponents is running on the line of the None of The Above Party.

Maybe the American folks can learn from their cousins up north . . . ?

Submission + - Developers gather to help charities at massive virtual hack.summit() conference (hacksummit.org)

An anonymous reader writes: hack.summit (https://hacksummit.org) looks like a very interesting event — a pure virtual conference with a speaker roster that's surprisingly strong. The kicker is that it's all for charity to help coding non-profits. Lots of credible tech companies are behind it (Github, StackOverflow, IBM, etc). Part of the event is a global hackathon, where developers can hack over a weekend to help charities and win prizes.

Submission + - 18TB of Fraternal Order of Police data hacked (thecthulhu.com) 1

Dave_Minsky writes: Yesterday, someone by the name of Cthulhu released 18TB of sensitive data from the Fraternal Order of Police. The FOP is America's largest police union with more than 325,000 members in more than 2,100 lodges nationwide.

According to Cthulhu's website, the data were "submitted to me through a confidential source, and have asked me to distribute it in the public interest."

Submission + - How do I get Microsoft to get up off their asses & look at a Windows 10 prob (live.com) 4

mykepredko writes: My product communicates with a host system via Bluetooth (using the Serial Port Profile) and each time a device is connected to a PC a couple of serial ports are allocated. Windows has always had a problem with not automatically disposing of the allocated ports when the connection is removed, but until Windows 10, there were processes for deleting them. This isn't possible for Windows 10 (which apparently has new Serial/Com port and/or Bluetooth drivers) — but individuals, who are apparently working for Microsoft, periodically reply with useless suggestions or attempt to promote questions and ideas as solutions to the problem: http://answers.microsoft.com/e... I suspect that this is an issue for all Windows 10 users (although I guess few people are plugging/unplugging devices) — so how do we get Microsoft to take notice (and not have to pay for them to fix their bug)?

Comment They need different standards for cellular, IMO. (Score 1) 218

Net Neutrality is a complicated, sticky bunch of legislation that has some benefits, but also a lot of rough edges, IMO.

This "Binge On" fiasco with T-Mobile is a great example. Here you have a service which is beneficial to the consumer, really. (I have T-Mobile and it's a win for me. I'm not a huge user of video on mobile devices in the first place, but I may as well get the bonus of un-metered viewing of content from any providers on-board with their program, just like they did with unlimited music streaming with "partners".) I do understand how by "the letter of the law", they violate Net Neutrality as it stands currently.

BUT, why are we so worried about this for cellular data at this time? We all know cellular is a very different animal than something like FiOS or cable broadband or even AT&T U-Verse service. Cellular bandwidth is very limited, based on only having so many towers in a given area and only so much capacity each tower can handle. You generally pay for cellular data in a metered fashion, and it's generally understood you use data on it a a supplement to a land-based Internet broadband service. (Heck, that's what the cellular services are really doing in the first place .... picking up Internet connections from land based services and adding value for you by putting it out over the airwaves for your subscribed device to use wirelessly.)

When I'm on an unmetered cable or fiber based circuit, I expect to be able to pull data from any place I can connect to that serves it out, without interference from my ISP (or one upstream) artificially limiting some of it. On cellular? I expect a slow, somewhat unreliable connection that may drop out as I travel around (nature of the beast), and know that I'm probably getting billed by pre-paying for some small allotment of megabytes of data per month. At that point, it doesn't negatively impact me if some carrier is "playing favorites" by forming partnerships to let me stream some of the partner content without it counting against that cap. It just improves my total experience of how much I can do for a given monthly cost.

If there's *anything* T-Mobile might do to be more in line with the law? Perhaps they should make Binge On an "opt in" vs. "opt out" option? When you're not using it, everything works as per usual for all cellular carriers.....

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