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Comment: Similar experience with Rogers yesterday (Score 1) 231

by aclarke (#47568529) Attached to: Comcast Confessions
I needed to find out when a wireless contract ends. Of course they don't seem to show this anywhere on the customer service web portal or on the bill. So, I tried their live chat system. The chat basically went something like this:

Me: I'd like to know when this contract ends.
Rogers: Why would you like to know that?
Me: I'm not interested in going through a dog and pony retentions script rigamarole to qualify why I want to know the answer to the question. When you answer my question, I'll answer yours.
Rogers: I'm sorry, I can't tell you without you giving me a reason why you want to know.
Me (annoyed, so I typed the first thing that entered my head): I'm moving to Albania.
Rogers: I can't give you your contract expiration date. You need to call xxx or go into a store.

Why do these companies hate their customers so much? I had to qualify why I wanted to know in order to even get an answer that she wasn't allowed to answer me? WTF?

Comment: Pinched nerves (Score 1) 506

by aclarke (#47551501) Attached to: Suddenly Visible: Illicit Drugs As Part of Silicon Valley Culture
I'm pretty good at ignoring pain, but when I had a pinched nerve in my neck, I was lying on the ground, writhing in pain, practically screaming. It was terrible. Three days later I was in surgery. I'm not sure that level of pain deserves breaking out the Spinal Tap Scale, but it's the worst pain I've experienced in my life.

Comment: That's just understood (Score 1) 509

by aclarke (#47508303) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Future-Proof Jobs?
If I got a 3% (or really > 1%) discount using cash, I'd probably use it. As it is, I usually don't get that discount so I use my credit card, where I DO get the discount.

In cases where I'm buying from a person I know well, or a business i paritcularly want to support, I'll often pay cash to help them out a little extra. If I'm buying from BigCorp, I'd rather give myself 1% than give them 2%.

I would imagine that most of us understand this concept, that the money used to pay for rewards are coming from the fees that the credit card companies charge vendors.

Comment: Small enough, track workouts without phone present (Score 1) 427

by aclarke (#47324987) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?
I'm considering replacing my iPhone 4 with something bigger, as my eyes are getting worse. If I get a larger phone, I'm not going to want to take it with me as much when I'm running or skiing. Give me something that can still track my workouts without my phone being present, and isn't stupid large and I might consider it. It also needs to be reasonably inexpensive, durable, waterproof, and have battery life long enough that it won't always be out of batteries when I go to wear it.

Comment: Re:invisible hood is "beyond criticism" (Score 2) 172

by aclarke (#46707157) Attached to: Land Rover Demos "Transparent Hood"
Do you actually drive off-road? This addresses a real issue, which is how to safely straddle obstacles in the road to protect your undercarraige. You may only see Land Rovers driven by "soccer moms", but they are one of the few companies producing vehicles that can genuinely be driven off-road.

I'm a curmudgeon driving an '80s Land Rover completely devoid of computers, but I have a large and increasing amount of respect for the capabilities of new Land Rovers.

Comment: Rocks (Score 1) 172

by aclarke (#46707077) Attached to: Land Rover Demos "Transparent Hood"
The other advantage is where you place an obstacle under your vehicle. If there's a large sharp rock, you want to drive over it such that it doesn't rip open your differential, for example. Now, all modern Land Rovers have independent suspension, but you still want to be straddling obstacles in the safest way possible.

Comment: Parts are too small (Score 1) 251

by aclarke (#46572931) Attached to: 3D Printing: Have You Taken the Plunge Yet? Planning To?
Anything I can think of wanting to spend the time designing and printing is too big to fit in hobbyist printers. I thought about printing a replacement dash for my '80s Land Rover. Clearly even breaking that into pieces it was going to be too big for most printers. Then I looked at the cost of having it made, and decided I'd rather just go to a metal shop and have them bend something up for me out of stainless steel or aluminium.

Then I just puit my crappy old dash back in.

Comment: Work for free (Score 2, Insightful) 133

by aclarke (#46559091) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Moving From Tech Support To Development?
Way back a long time ago I graduated from university with an engineering degree unrelated to programming. By that point, however, I had decided that I wanted to be a software developer. This was the mid '90s, and I took a job with an un-funded startup for equity and no pay. From there I worked at a friend's company doing Perl, again for no pay but I crashed with my friend and he paid for my food. So in that sense it's not that different from your situation.

Things are different now, as there are plenty of sites where employers offer contracts for unreasonably low wages. You could start bidding on those, and take some smaller projects and complete them. There's also the option to put your time into some sort of labour of your own love. Write some sotware that demos well, and bootstrap yourself up from there. A lot of companies would be happy to hire an enthusiastic junior Java developer with demonstrated experience that they had the drive to accomplish themselves.

Just do everything you can to pick up as much experience as you can. Keep a positive attitude, and work on all the "soft skills" like listening to your boss and coworkers, doing what you say you're going to do, communicating effectively, etc. With a year or so of this, you should find yourself very employable, assuming there are jobs where you're looking.

Comment: Range Rover (Score 0) 521

by aclarke (#45796357) Attached to: Ford Rolls the Dice With Breakthrough F-150 Aluminum Pickup Truck
It's true that Ford sells probably 10x as many F150s as Land Rover sells Range Rovers. However, Land Rover is probably selling about 50k Range Rovers a year (vague number as I couldn't find specifics). They saved 700lbs off their previous model by going to all aluminium. Sound familiar? The 2014 Range Rover Sport is also aluminium and they are moving all Jaguars and Land Rovers in that direction.

Land Rover currently runs the world's largest aluminium body shop, so they're hardly a "niche manufacturer". It's great that Ford is going this way with the high-volume F150, and they are breaking new ground in that they are going to produce MORE aluminium vehicles than other manufacturers. However, because many of the engineering challenges have already been solved by manufacturers like Jaguar Land Rover, it's a shame that none of the referenced articles even mention the word "Rover".

Comment: Re:Seat weight (Score 1) 466

by aclarke (#45163695) Attached to: Redesigned Seats Let Airlines Squeeze In More Passengers
Why shouldn't I expect you to keep your seat upright? I have no problem making a trans-continental redeye flight with my seat upright. It's not what I'd call "comfortable", but it's not "comfortable" with the seat back either.

I could contend that if you want a more comfortable seat with reclining room, then YOU should be the one buying the more expensive seat.

I also make allowances for the fact that a larger person is going to want more reclining space than a smaller person, and what time of day/night it is. My point remains though, if you're 5'1 and the person behind you is 6'4, you should take that into consideration before you put your seat all the way back, right after take-off, in the middle of the afternoon.

Comment: Re:My spider sense in tingling.... (Score 3, Interesting) 634

by aclarke (#45163443) Attached to: British NHS May Soon No Longer Offer Free Care
We had a similar experience (sort of) in the UK earlier this year. We had a 4 day stopover, and my daughter was sick with a fever and throwing up after getting off the plane. My wife took her to the emergency room, where she received top-knotch care from sympathetic and helpful medical staff. She received prescription antibiotics, and the entire process cost us a total of £0. Healthcare in the UK is free for children, whether they are citizens, residents, or visitors. We were really impressed and appreciative. Thanks, UK taxpayers!

I imagine that there's some limit, like maybe only emergency room visits are covered for visitors or something like that. Still, the process was simple, the staff were helpful, and my daughter got what she needed and she was fine as soon as the antibiotics kicked in.

Comment: UK (Score 1) 634

by aclarke (#45163397) Attached to: British NHS May Soon No Longer Offer Free Care
That's an interesting post, but did you notice that the article is talking about the NHS? Regarding advertising, in the UK, states that "The Regulations prohibit the issue of any advertisement to the general public which is likely to lead to the use of a prescription only medicine (POM)."

Since you're talking about the US, that's an idea you Americans could take and run with. Once you've done that, we can all start dealing with the pharmaceutical industry's marketing towards doctors.

Comment: Seat weight (Score 2) 466

by aclarke (#45163345) Attached to: Redesigned Seats Let Airlines Squeeze In More Passengers
I've wondered for a long time why airline seats are so (seemingly) heavy. It seemed like a no-brainer that they'd be spending money on lighter weight seats. So, I was really surprised upon reading the article that the guy from Recaro said that 5 years ago, their seats weight about 29 lbs. That's surprisingly light for a seat that size and apparent heft when you look at them. Even more incredible is they've managed to save a further 9 lbs off that with their lightest current seat.

At 6'4 I'm pretty protective over my legroom. In my opinion they should improve coach by just not allowing reclining seats. I know that will never "fly", but it really pisses me off when some 5'1 person in front of me reclines their seat all the way back into me once the plane takes off. I just pretend the seat is back in its upright position, and if that means they get bumped every two minutes, they can just move their seatback forward. I guess it's only going to get worse. Or, I have to get a lot richer and start flying in a more expensive class.

I came, I saw, I deleted all your files.