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Comment: Re:Something smells fishy here (Score 1) 95

by dougmc (#46817383) Attached to: Scammers Lower Comcast Bills, Get Jail Time

Debts can "expire" (i.e. cease to be legally enforceable) if ignored for several years, but if he's paying $50/year or so, each payment probably renews the debt and will keep it from expiring.

As for a new lawsuit, I don't know how that would work. But the debt probably isn't expiring if the guy is making periodic token payments just to appease his probation officer.

Comment: Re:It's been a lot longer than 2007 (Score 3, Interesting) 217

by dougmc (#46736767) Attached to: FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

Current guidelines already include rc aircraft. The only difference here is 'commercial.' The FCC has guidelines for non-commercial use, but haven't done anything for commercial use.

And the "guidelines" they have for this non-commercial use of R/C planes that you're referring to says nothing of commercial or non-commercial use, and it's *advisory* -- not binding.

The FAA is basically just making up their rules as they go along, and they can't even bother to write them down so that people will know what the rules are. Instead, people get letters from the FAA saying that they're breaking the rules. Now, from that, people have sort of deduced what these unwritten rules are now, but it's still messed up.

Which is probably what prompted this ruling against the FAA ... they can't enforce laws that they haven't even made yet. (That said, they continue to try, and other courts may agree with them. But they could fix this by actually writing down their rules and making them official.)

Comment: Re:If this is not a bribery then I don't know what (Score 1) 133

Comcast isn't quite a monopoly, and won't be even if they've merged with Time Warner. That said, the number of choices for cable/internet/phone to a specific person tend to be pretty small ... and sometimes the number of choices is one, but often it's two or three. For example, I live in the suburbs of Austin, and can get service from Time Warner, AT&T, Direct TV and Dish Network. Now, the last two are really only good options for cable and not phone/internet, but even so, there's still two choices for that. And Grande is available in some parts of town (but not where I live), and Google is coming too.

And that said, if enough people get pissed off at a true monopoly, the government has been known to step in and tear them apart. They certainly want to avoid that.

Comment: Re:If this is not a bribery then I don't know what (Score 1) 133

Indeed, our own dear supreme court asserts the view that this sort of activity does not even create the impression of impropriety...

No, the view that they asserted was that it did not violate the Constitution, not anything about the "impression of impropriety".

For the most part, the Supreme Court doesn't rule on if things are right or wrong, good or bad, just or unjust -- they rule on if they're allowed or prohibited by the Constitution (or other laws, but most of the time they seem to work based on the Constitution.)

Comment: Re:Good for you. (Score 1) 641

by dougmc (#46710653) Attached to: Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

Yet, there is nothing that will protect you against the amount of 0 days XP is going to be vulnerable to.

There's nothing that will protect you against the amount of "0 days" that Windows 7/8/2008/whatever is going to be vulnerable too either. That's what "0 days" pretty much means -- it hasn't been fixed because the people who would fix it have just learned about it, or not learned about it yet at all.

Now, granted, at least if a "0 day" hits Windows 8, Microsoft will probably make a patch for it after a while, where they won't for XP ... so it should eventually be fixed after it's hit "1 day" or "20 day" or "296 day" or whatever status where XP wouldn't ... but don't go thinking that keeping up to date on patches will stop "0 day" exploits.

Comment: Re:Good for you. (Score 1, Insightful) 641

by dougmc (#46693133) Attached to: Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

Not turning the box on would protect 100% of users but that doesn't make it a viable solution

So what?

That may not be a viable solution, but what he's doing is. He has a usable computer, more secure than most, that does what he needs it to do.

You aren't trying to claim that what he's doing isn't a "viable solution", are you?

And even if he did upgrade ... he'd probably still want to do all that stuff.

Comment: Re:"Free" Windows (Score 1) 387

The problem is it has no real relationship to the Windows operating system that users relate to.

Actually, it does.

The Windows 8 "metro" UI is very similar to what the Windows phone uses (and that's the term they use, so it's why I used it.) And it gets a *lot* of flack on a desktop, and rightfully so -- as you said, it doesn't do windows (the ui feature) at all and each app is full screen. Which is great on a phone, but kind of silly when you've got a 23" monitor or two and all the app is doing is telling you the time.

But other than the Metro UI, Windows 8 is very like Windows 7, and indeed ... Windows 8 on a PC is likely acceptable for somebody familiar with Windows 7 if you install Classic Shell and never go into the Metro UI stuff.

Now, perhaps the government shouldn't have given Microsoft a trademark on that word, but that's not Microsoft's fault, and the PTO gives out lots of trademarks on generic words.

But if your biggest complaint about Windows 8 and the Windows phone OS is that Microsoft should have picked a better name ... that's high praise, indeed. Most others have much more significant complaints than the *name*.

Comment: Re:"Free" Windows (Score 1) 387

did you ever try the Compaq iPaq?

Yes, I did.

It's been a long time, but I remember the interface being OK, but the hardware being what was wonky -- things wouldn't work after going to sleep and resuming, for example.

The Windows phone I have is way, way more functional than that thing ever was, however.

Comment: Re:"Free" Windows (Score 5, Informative) 387

Windows on a phone works pretty well -- I picked up a Nokia 520 because it was $40 and why not, and it's actually quite decent.

The tiles based interface works quite well for a small device like that. I certainly don't like it on a PC with a big screen (or two), but for a little screen it works quite well.

In fact, the only real problem I had with the OS is that there aren't many apps available compared to iOS and Android.

Comment: Re: No. (Score 1) 246

Snooping on plaintext is not snooping at all.

That's a pretty creative position.

So if I pick up another (analog, wired) phone in the house and listen to somebody else's phone conversation, that's not snooping? It certainly used to make my sister upset ...

How about if the government adds some wiring to listen to these conversations back at the phone company? That's not snooping? (Hopefully they had a warrant for it, but that's another matter.)

Now, if my sister was talking in pig Latin rather than plain English, would *that* elevate it to snooping? Does it matter that I can decrypt pig Latin without additional hardware in realtime as long as the data rate is relatively low?

Comment: Re:Laws to protect us from drones? (Score 1) 78

by dougmc (#45850369) Attached to: Feds Announce Test Sites For Drone Aircraft

There's a huge difference between "it would be hard to find out who to charge with a crime" and "it's legal".

And yes, if a object crashes into your house and damages it, the owner or operator is probably liable for the damages. This is not specific to unmanned aircraft -- it applies to manned aircraft and even to things like cars or errant golf balls too.

In any event, I'm no lawyer, but my advice would be to not fire at aircraft flying above your property, no matter how low they may be, how justified you may feel you are or how unlikely you think it is that they could prove it was you. A smarter plan of action would be to call the police if it's causing a problem.

Comment: Re:Laws to protect us from drones? (Score 1) 78

by dougmc (#45831751) Attached to: Feds Announce Test Sites For Drone Aircraft

It's not. Those permits were a joke, possibly literally.

And even if that city says it's OK because you have a permit, that won't override the state or federal laws that prohibit firing at aircraft or destroying other people's property. (It might override local ordinances against discharging of firearms in city limits, for example, depending on how it was written and what the local laws are, however.)

Luck, that's when preparation and opportunity meet. -- P.E. Trudeau