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Comment: Re:It true !!!! (Score 5, Insightful) 711

by jjhall (#47155543) Attached to: Apple Says Many Users 'Bought an Android Phone By Mistake'

My wife and I have had "smartphones" (starting with Palm and the older Windows Mobile) for pushing 10 years now. We'd had Android phones for about 4 years, then we switched carriers in October. My wife decided she wanted to give an iPhone a try. I have an iPad for work, and she liked how it worked. She liked it for a couple of weeks, then the limitations started to get in the way. No external storage. Certain apps not available that she wanted. Settings she wasn't allowed to change such as default apps. In March we got her a new S4 and gave the iPhone to my daughter. 6 months is all she could stand being locked into Apple's walled garden. She didn't realize how open the Android system is in comparison to iOS.

If anything, I think Cook has it backwards. People go in looking for a smart phone and get sold an iPhone instead. If people are looking for an iPhone and walk out with an Android device I think it is more likely because of the price difference from an entry-level Android vs. an iPhone. It is very doubtful that they don't understand the difference with all of the marketing and hype surrounding both platforms. That or Apple is seriously underestimating the cognitive abilities of its customers, which is insulting at best.

Comment: Strange take on the matter (Score 1) 1198

by jjhall (#47113441) Attached to: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds

He makes some good points. I can only imagine what a real-life "Laura" would think of an "Urkel" constantly stalking her. She shouldn't have to put up with that. To come out and say it is all men's (and more specifically "nerds'") fault for perpetuating this attitude of entitlement is absurd. Nearly everybody has had a crush on someone and has been rejected. There are respectful guys that just chalk it up to incompatibility between two people. There are nice guys that take that rejection and use it as an opportunity for introspection to see their own flaws. There are assholes that chalk it up to feeling entitled and that the woman should have given in. Then there are the mentally ill who go on a shooting spree. Lumping all "nerds" in to basically the last two categories, or enabling of them, is flat out wrong.

While (thankfully) I don't know of any women who have gone on shooting sprees because they were rejected, I do know women who fill all of the other categories. Women who feel entitled to date any man they want. Women who think a man "must be gay" if he doesn't date them. Women who write songs about sabotaging a man's vehicle because he went out with another woman (yes cheating, but that still doesn't justify the vandalism, Ms. Underwood.) And yes even some women who have murdered men because they were rejected, just non on a spree.

This is a mental health issue clearly. This is not a misogyny or misandry issue. Men can be assholes, but so can women. Love-scorned people of both genders have committed horrible acts against others.

To top it off, the article is factually inaccurate. The statistics he mentions are out dated. Newer studies are showing that victims of rape and domestic violence are closer to equal when divided by gender, not the 8 out of 10 numbers he used. The newer numbers take under reporting into consideration where men are discouraged from reporting, cases where by definition of local law men can not be raped, etc.

My heart really does go out to the families of the women, and men, that were killed or injured by Elliott Rogers. We need to stand together as men and women to do something about it and work on the real cause. The kid was mentally ill. He happened to be a misogynist asshole, but that that didn't cause him to go kill people.

Comment: It's about time! (Score 1) 626

by jjhall (#47049877) Attached to: Driverless Cars Could Cripple Law Enforcement Budgets

All I have to say on the subject can be summed up with one word: Good!

Speeding is a BS racket anyway. Speed alone never hurt anyone contrary to what the current ad campaigns say. Excessive speed for the conditions and/or vehicle is the problem. Someone going 85 in a 65 MPH zone on a straight freeway with light traffic on a bright sunny day isn't going to magically cause an accident. Someone doing 45 in that same 65 MPH zone on a rainy day in heavy traffic could kill someone.

I've always thought there needs to be a definite separation from the funds from traffic tickets to the agencies and municipalities that enforce them. Traffic fines should not be a profit center to fund anything, except maybe better driver's education (or more mandatory classes for habitual offenders) to reduce the infractions. Our police departments are supposed to be there for our protection, to serve us. They aren't supposed to be revenue collectors for alternative taxes. I hate seeing police officers sitting somewhere running radar/laser speed checks when they should be out patrolling to reduce overall crime.

Automating the majority of our transportation infrastructure will allow us to let the police focus on what they should be focused on, and if we get to cut some fat from the departments in the process so be it.

Comment: Re:Late on all fronts (Score 1) 210

by jjhall (#46894377) Attached to: Target Moves To Chip and Pin Cards To Boost Security

I remember reading a magazine article (possibly even an ad) years back with some company touting this exact technology. It went so far as to mask the card number itself or even allowing selection of multiple card numbers based on the buttons. Sadly I never saw anything past that initial piece.

Comment: Re:Late on all fronts (Score 1) 210

by jjhall (#46894357) Attached to: Target Moves To Chip and Pin Cards To Boost Security

No, but according to the Smartcard Alliance's FAQ (, the transaction will contain signatures proving the card is genuine, the correct PIN was used to access the chip, and "Third, even if fraudsters are able to steal account data from chip transactions, this data cannot be used to create a fraudulent transaction in an EMV or magnetic stripe environment, since every EMV transaction carries dynamic data." So while it doesn't include a key fob or rotating key the user must enter, it sounds like it implements it on a virtual level, thereby accomplishing the same goal. If the card data is intercepted, it is useless for future transactions.

Comment: Re:Late on all fronts (Score 2) 210

by jjhall (#46881259) Attached to: Target Moves To Chip and Pin Cards To Boost Security

It isn't the merchants dragging their feet. Chip and Pin has not been available to merchants in the US. The thing most people don't realize is that credit card fraud is a profit center for Visa/Mastercard/etc. Do you think Visa is eating the cost of a fraudulent transaction to cover the "$0 Fraud Liability" they offer to their customers? Of course not. It goes right back on the merchant. Now the merchant is out their merchandise, out the money they would have received from the sale, and they are hit with a fee (that goes to Visa) for the chargeback. Have a massive breach like Target? Now there are big fines to pay to the card companies on top of it all.

The entire security of the credit card system is based on keeping a 16 digit number secret. That same 16 digit number you have to share with everyone you give money to. Making it TONS more secure would be cheap and easy, and most merchants are already set up to handle it... A simple rotating PIN that is only valid for a length of time is all it would take. Have merchants run all transactions as Debit, and give the customer an app on their phone (or even a periodic SMS with a new PIN.) The card companies could use the fraud liability as an incentive to use the system. No rotating pin? $1000 fraud liability. Monthly? $500. Weekly? $100. Daily? $25. Rotating PIN app or new SMS after each transaction? $0. This would also secure online purchases as well.

Every time I see a story relating to credit card security, I laugh to myself over how much more secure my World of Warcraft account is than my credit card accounts.

Comment: Bad choice in name (Score 2) 88

by jjhall (#46653161) Attached to: Amazon's Fire TV: Is It Worth Game Developers' Time?

I knew the Fire TV name sounded familiar, and now I remember why. FyreTV is a set-top box for streaming pr0n delivery that advertised years ago in the back of Maxim magazine. I'd forgotten about them until Amazon reminded me, and am actually surprised to see they are still around. I wonder if Amazon will be forced to change the name of their box due to trademark concerns?

Comment: Re:nope! (Score 1) 496

by jjhall (#46650161) Attached to: Will Cameras Replace Sideview Mirrors On Cars In 2018?

I think it comes down to where the line is between utility and distraction. When driving, do you really need to see the independent pressure of all 4 tires, or just a warning if one of them falls below a certain threshold? I've not seen a (personal) vehicle in the last 20 years with a vacuum gauge. Most newer cars no longer have battery voltage/charge gauges, replaced with a "low voltage" idiot light. What utility is there to the driver knowing what the battery voltage is, vs. being alerted when there is a battery issues that needs to be resolved? I'd argue none, a "pull over and check your shit under the hood" is sufficient for everyday use.

Now I'm not saying you shouldn't be able to get that raw data, especially when trying to diagnose an issue. When the car is in park, it would be awesome to switch to a diagnostic display on the dash to see individual tire pressure, charge rate, actual coolant temp, manifold pressure, etc. Some of that is available now through the OBD port. I have a OBD-II to Bluetooth dongle that I use with an app on my smart phone. It lets me read the diagnostic codes, and can display (and more importantly log) real-time sensor data. It is very handy when trying to figure out an issue. I can start the app on my phone, and it starts saving sensor data to a CSV file every second. I can then go try to reproduce the issue, then I have all of the sensor data to determine the cause. I can't see tire pressures with it, but I think that is just a limitation of the car's computer, and may be available on some vehicles, I don't know.

I also agree that you should be able to set the warning threshold for certain sensors. Tire pressure is a good example. Some people run a different tire pressure than recommended. This can be for a multitude of reasons, such as aftermarket tires with a different rating, different climate/road conditions, or hypermiling. It would be great to be able to adjust it so your idiot light isn't on constantly when running 3 PSI lower than "factory" or having a false sense of security when a tire is actually 3 PSI low, but because you're running 5PSI high normally it isn't detected.

Comment: Re:You are wrong (Score 1) 423

by jjhall (#46403157) Attached to: RadioShack To Close 1,100 Stores

In RS's defense, the kit you're referring to is the Make magazine's Raspberry Pi starter kit, for $130. I looked it up and it is the same price Make sells it for. It includes the Pi, power brick and MicroUSB cable, breadboard, cable to go from it's GPIO pins to the breadboard, an SD card, jumpers, components, and I believe a case. Is it overpriced? A little, but for someone who is looking to buy a starter kit rather than sourcing the parts on their own, it isn't that bad. Personally I think it is great that they're stocking them. I hope it gets more exposure to young kids in there while their parents are looking for the latest cell phone. Where they fall short now is they don't have anything to really take someone beyond the kit.

Comment: Re:It Comes Down to Price and Convenience (Score 1) 423

by jjhall (#46403019) Attached to: RadioShack To Close 1,100 Stores

I needed a new MicroUSB cable to charge my phone the other day. I walked into radio shack and the cheapest one they had was $20. For a stupid cheap MicroUSB cable. The local convenience stores have cables for $7. It has MiniUSB, MicroUSB, and the 30 pin apple connector on the same cable so it will charge nearly every device. And RS wonders why they're failing. It is a sad day when a convenience store, known to have high markups because of the convenience factor, has a better price than the place that should have be best deals because it is their specialty.

When I was growing up, Radio Shack had an entire wall dedicated to electronics components, kits, 300 in One educational kits, etc. Tons of RC cars, walkie-talkies, scanners, even a few pieces of ham radio gear. Lots of good stereo equipment too. Most of the employees were ham radio operators who knew electronics and could answer any question you had, or point you to a buddy that was an electronics engineer somewhere that could. I used to love picking up a couple copies of their catalog every year, and would drool over things in it all year long.

They talked about getting "back to the roots" but they've not done anything to actually do that. Sure they added some Make kits, but that's about it. If they want to be marketable they need to add not only the make kits, but the components needed to actually do something with them. I can walk in and get a Raspberry Pi starter kit for $130, but no servos, no OneWire temperature sensors, no addressable LEDs, etc. They used to have project enclosures of all shapes and sizes, but now they have 1 or 2 and that is it.

Sadly Radio Shack today is nothing but an oversize cell phone kiosk. You walk in to buy a cable, and all they want to do is get your cell phone number so they can "check your account for available upgrades." They need to go back and actually serve the hobbyists as they have, or they need to close. As much as I'd hate to see a chunk of my past go away, it is better than watching it suffer.

Comment: Re:no (Score 2) 479

by jjhall (#46015411) Attached to: An Iowa ISP's Metered Pricing: What Will the Market Bear?

Part of the problem in my opinion is the way they're metering it. Take my cell phone for example. I get to "choose" ahead of time how much data I think I'll need for the following month. Right now my family is able to stay under 2GB every month. I could go the next step up and choose the 4GB plan for another $10 per month, or 6 GB for an additional $20 per month. The problem is I don't know what my data usage is going to be. What if I take an unexpected trip for work and the WiFi is unreliable. What if we go on a trip and send a lot of pictures back and forth to family members. I'm faced with a couple choices. I can leave the data plan where it is, and hope we don't end up going over. If we do, I'm charged at $15 per GB for overage. Oh, it's the last day of the billing cycle, and you used 300K too much? Too bad, pay $15, and no your extra data you just paid for doesn't roll over to the next month. I could bump up my data plan to the next notch if I know I'm going out of town, but then if don't actually end up going over the usual plan, I paid extra for the privilege of *maybe* going over. Again, no refund or carry-over.

I don't have to worry about that for my electricity. It is 100% metered, and I like it that way. There are no pre-planned packages, I use what I need and I pay for what I use every month. The billing unit is small enough that I don't fret over it. If cellular and/or hardline data providers would do something similar I think they'd see a lot less resistance to implementing metered billing. I use about 300 GB in a 30 day period on my home Cable connection. I'm not a light user, but I'm not what I'd consider a high-usage user either. Most of my data usage comes from the family using Netflix for the primary video choice. If I run the math, I'm paying on average of 20 cents per GB. If my service were metered at a similar price, I wouldn't lose any sleep worrying if I used an extra few hundred megs.

Honestly I wish my cellular provider did bill in this manner but billed on a KB or MB unit. I hate worrying at the end of the month if I am going to wind up paying an extra $15 and only being able to use a small fraction of what I just paid for.

Comment: Re: Fuck religion. (Score 1) 903

by jjhall (#45860115) Attached to: US Justice Blocks Implementation of ACA Contraceptive Mandate

Why not? If the law of the land requires all of it citizens to carry a certain coverage, and therefore all of the employers to provide said coverage, they shouldn't be exempt. It has been determined time and again that laws trump religious beliefs in most cases. There are people out there that refuse to pay taxes due to their religious beliefs. They get prosecuted for tax evasion. Some religions practice polygamy. Other than some grey area in Utah right now, it has been determined in court to actually be illegal and people get prosecuted. Otherwise what is to stop me from founding my own religion that says I can marry 10 women, make my own weed-infused moonshine, and ignore speeding laws? If I want to partake in those activities, counter to local law, I can either move somewhere that looks fondly upon such activities, or face the legal consequences of doing so here.

If this particular belief is so near and dear to them, they can make the same choices. They are free to move their business to another country where they aren't required to offer contraceptive coverage, or they can stay here and face the consequences.

Comment: Re:Fuck religion. (Score 2) 903

by jjhall (#45838751) Attached to: US Justice Blocks Implementation of ACA Contraceptive Mandate

I don't understand why the religious people are so up in arms about this. Are they getting some non-negligible discount on their current insurance plans because they don't offer contraceptive coverage? Logic says it would be the opposite because lack of availability of inexpensive contraceptives has proven to increase birth rates, and that is a lot bigger expense for insurance to cover. Just move to an ACA-compliant plan, and don't announce the "new" coverage. If the employees want to research and use that benefit on their own, that is their burden.

Just because a plan offers contraceptive care doesn't mean the employees are forced to use it. My plan has coverage for inpatient drug rehab. When that coverage was added it didn't make me go out and start smoking meth. Adding birth control coverage isn't mandating that these employees go out and start taking the pill. Do the employers have agents follow their employees around when they shop to make sure they don't buy condoms?

These employers need to understand that they don't own their employees. They have no say over what goes on in the bedroom when the employee isn't working. They can't force their employees to follow their beliefs. If an employee makes the decision that it is better for their family to use contraceptives to delay children (or prevent more) then that decision is between them and their particular deity.

Real Users find the one combination of bizarre input values that shuts down the system for days.