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Comment: Re:Opt them in to a service (Score 1) 405

by catfood (#46037969) Attached to: Network Solutions Opts Customer Into $1,850 Security Service

I actually did something like this with my local AAA office. It worked, in a way.

My home phone number is one digit off from that of a popular local towing company. One particular night dispatcher at AAA had a bad habit of misdialing, and no amount of reminding or "educating" or calling her boss in the morning would get her to stop. So I sent an official-looking sales letter to the office manager advertising my new 24/7 dispatch dispatch service. "Best of all, there's nothing to sign! Just call us any time at xxx-xxx-xxxx, which is actually not the towing company. We'll handle the rest and bill you later!" Etc., etc.

That's right, a dispatch dispatch service. For only $500 per call, I will take down all the information about your stranded AAA member, make and model of car, location, that sort of thing, and then call the actual towing company for you. The next time my little friend called, I logged all the information, thanked her, and passed along all the information to the towing company as promised.

A few days later, their accounts payable person called about this invoice for $500. I explained the nature of my service and said "we" were very happy that AAA chose us for their dispatch dispatch needs. They never paid the invoice, and I never heard back again from accounts payable, but I also never got called again by my little friend either.

True story.

Comment: That's the exact opposite of the point. (Score 1) 353

by catfood (#45970389) Attached to: Programmer Privilege

If you look and act like Guo, and you don't know what you're doing, you lose.

What he's saying is that if you don't look and act like him, you often don't even get the chance to try. You lose before anyone gets to see what you know.

It's not an all-or-nothing thing, but it's probably accurate that if you're a white or Asian dude of a certain age, people are willing to give you a shot that they won't necessarily give to others. That's the privilege.

Comment: Re:In other words ... (Score 1) 265

by catfood (#45956933) Attached to: Engineers: Traffic Studies Use Simulation Software, Not Lane Closings
Which was probably overly generous to them. You can't seriously tell me that all of the thousands of little organizations with variations of "tea party" in their names were all compliant with their tax-exempt status. Even in the absence of a deliberate overarching strategy to break the law, people just aren't that good at following rules when they're not expecting special scrutiny.

Comment: Re: Isn't this the ultimate goal? (Score 1) 732

by catfood (#45951353) Attached to: If I Had a Hammer
If we can solve the problem of "how the hell do people get income to live on if nobody really needs to work?" then the problem of "what the hell will everyone do with all that free time?" should be pretty easy. I imagine there will be a lot of competitive self-improvement projects, such as trying to be the best-sculpted person at the gym; a lot of mediocre music being played because it's fun; some really outstanding home gardens; and, well, probably a lot of people spending all their time on sex and drugs.

Comment: Re:Cheap architecture + short cuts = DOOM (Score 4, Insightful) 250

by catfood (#45943209) Attached to: Target Confirms Point-of-Sale Malware Was Used In Attack
That's because they're not paying the full costs of the damage they allow through poor security practices. If they reimbursed you and me a millions of other people for our time and effort to clean up their mess, it wouldn't be cheaper than solving the problem.

Comment: Re:There must be a very good reason... (Score 1) 579

by catfood (#45799453) Attached to: Utilities Fight Back Against Solar Energy

(Yes, I know there's a short 'peak' when people get home from work and cook dinner and stuff.)

Additionally, if society is really feeling an urgency to use renewable energy sources, it's a lot easier to shift people's living and consumption patterns than it is to change the daily cycle of sunlight. Maybe we'll start arranging our lives around more power being available during the middle of the day and less at night. Habits and structures change over time for many reasons; this may be one of them.

Work expands to fill the time available. -- Cyril Northcote Parkinson, "The Economist", 1955