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Comment: Re:Free as in ads for beer (Score 1) 74

they have no expectation to value my privacy

That's not true. They do care about privacy, which is why they have that tracking antifeature that I mentioned before. You can't discount that! The only difference between what they're doing and what you apparently want them to be doing is that they don't assume that just because something is using an unnecessary permission it means it's violating the user's privacy. You can argue that maybe they're wrong for failing to assume that, but you have to acknowledge that there's a difference between F-Droid not being perfect vs. F-Droid not giving a shit.

Have you ever tried bringing this issue up with the F-Droid folks? If you haven't, I wouldn't be surprised if they're more receptive to it than you think, especially since you have patches to submit instead of just an idea.

Comment: Re:Free as in ads for beer (Score 1) 74

They flag git apps for having github integration with giant "promotes non-free services" ads, even if there is no actual promotion, just API support, and yet they have versions of things where the effort has been made to compile without google libs, but that still ask for device ID. For example, their version f the google sky map app, they go to the trouble to compile with certain libraries replaced, but they leave in the part where it asks for the device ID, etc. It is a totally passive app with no legit use at all for device ID. No warnings.

I've just done a search in F-Droid for 'git' and looked through all the results. I found the following:

  • Github, the "official Github Android App" has a red warning that says "This app promotes non-free network services."
  • OctoDroid, described as a "GitHub Client" (not a "git client," a "GitHub client") which says that it "supports all the basic github.com features" does NOT have a red warning.

Having never used either app I don't know how fair F-droid's choice to display the warning in one case but not the other actually was, but it at least seems plausible to me that the "official" app would be more likely to "promote" the service than other apps.

As for Sky Map, if the program is indeed using the Device Id for some nefarious purpose, I'd expect a red warning saying "this app tracks and reports your activity" (or whatever message was appropriate). In the absence of such a message, I would assume that either the app isn't actually doing anything (and the F-droid people think it's sufficient to let the Android permissions dialog handle informing the user of a permission that doesn't matter) or the lack of warning is an oversight on F-droid's part (I mean, clearly, if F-droid has an tracking anti-feature, failing to mark an app that does tracking with it is certainly a bug).

I would also say that even if we don't *know* that the app is doing something nefarious, the existence of unnecessary permissions itself merits a red warning message (or at least a yellow caution message), and would like to see such a policy/feature implemented. However, I don't think the lack of such a feature constitutes "false claims" on the F-Droid maintainers' part.

The bottom line is that if your allegations about F-droid are true, then you're justified in being upset, but I'm not sure those issues deserve to be ascribed to malice when there's still enough reasonable doubt (IMO) to ascribe them to accident.

Comment: Re:cheaper to get TV (Score 1) 136

by mrchaotica (#49631307) Attached to: Internet Customers Surpass Cable Subscribers At Comcast

Don't let them give you a set-top box. Make them give you a CableCard instead, and take a stand for the spirit of "any lawful device" (which should have been applied to cable companies, but hasn't).

Also, they'll tell you the box is "free," but if you swap it for a CableCard they should give you a discount.

Comment: Re:Stats (Score 1) 136

by mrchaotica (#49631253) Attached to: Internet Customers Surpass Cable Subscribers At Comcast

I'm honestly not even sure where the cable box is; I asked them not to send me one but they did anyway.

Send it back and demand a CableCard. Not only is it a good "fuck you" to those who hate the idea of people having the audacity to hook up their own equipment, it should also get you a small discount (because contrary to what they tell you, that first cable box is only "free" in the sense that the rental fee is built into the advertized price).

Comment: Re:Some good data... (Score 1) 398

by mrchaotica (#49625895) Attached to: Google Can't Ignore the Android Update Problem Any Longer

This is not an issue of incapable hardware. That's proven both by the fact that there's no reason why Google couldn't have kept the minimum system requirements the same from 2.2 to 5, and the fact that plenty of manufacturers were already abandoning their 2.2 shit before 2.3 came out, let alone anything actually more advanced!

Comment: Re:No suprise. Comcast TV is poor value for money (Score 1) 136

by mrchaotica (#49624315) Attached to: Internet Customers Surpass Cable Subscribers At Comcast

Alright, here are some of my experiences with Comcast's evilness (not including the "normal" and endemic DNS hijacking, Bittorrent and Netflix throttling, and secret data cap issues that Slashdot has reported on, of course):

1. I called up Comcast to negotiate my rate, and the customer service rep offered me $19.99/month (for I think 20Mbps internet). When I got my first bill, it was for $60+. I called to complain, and (after escalating to a manager) was basically told that they did not offer such a rate, that I was a liar for claiming to have been offered such a rate, and that they refuse to go listen to their own recording of the phone call (which would have proven that I was correct). Once I filed the BBB complaint, I was contacted by somebody higher up in Comcast (some kind of VP... it was over a year ago and I'm going by memory) who said they'd reviewed the recording of the call and would honor the rate for one year. Then, after 6 months, they jacked up the rate again, so I filed a second BBB complaint to get them to finish honoring their original agreement.

2. After that previous rate had ended, I changed my plan to a $39.99 plan that included Internet + basic cable TV (because Comcast is so desperate to inflate their TV subscriber numbers that they often offer that plan cheaper than Internet by itself). I refused to let them give me a cable box, opting instead to use my digital-cable ready TV's built-in QAM tuner instead. Then my PERFECTLY-GOOD built-in tuner stopped working, because Comcast decided to start encrypting the signal (which is nothing more or less than a blatant power and money grab, to force people to use set-top boxes and drive business for 'on demand'). Of course, Comcast will tell you the government forced them to do it -- trying to conflate it with the over-the-air digital transition -- but that's a big fat fucking lie. Long story short, I ended up filing the following FCC complaint:

Per FCC 12-126, Comcast is required to provide free set-top-boxes (STBs) OR CABLECARDS (CCs) to those affected by basic-tier encryption. However, Comcast appears to have a systematic corporate policy of making it as difficult as possible to obtain a CC, including lying to customers.

1. Comcast began encrypting WGTV weeks BEFORE sending the notice required by Title 47 SS. 76.630 (a)(1)(vi)

2. Service call technician would not admit that encryption caused the WGTV outage but only told me to use a STB

3. I called to request equipment compatible with my HTPC (without specifically asking for a CC). The rep insisted that Comcast did not support non-TV equipment, and that the only thing available was a STB

4. Comcast mailed me an unsolicited and unwanted STB

5. I called to request a CC (and return the STB). Several reps and supervisors insisted variously that a) unlike STBs, CCs could not be mailed (CC users are 2nd-class), or b) there would be a monthly fee (variously $5 or $10) for using a CC

Once I eventually obtained a CableCard -- which required physically going to a Comcast office, and was such a painful experience that I started yelling at the service rep and almost got arrested by the county sheriff's deputy that Comcast apparently employs to keep the peace because their customer service is apparently THAT BAD! -- I found out that having the CableCard actually entitled me to a discount vs. having the "free" set-top box. In other words, 1. the "free" set-top box isn't actually free, and 2. Comcast overcharged me for the several months between signing up for the plan and getting the CableCard registered on my account.

Comment: Re:Industry attacks it (Score 1) 314

Are there any? negative externalities that people have an obligation not to impose on others

There are a couple of ways to answer that:

  • One answer could be "no, by definition." If the person has an obligation not to impose it on others, then it's internalized and no longer counts as an externality.
  • Another answer could be "yes, namely, the set of externalities that are regulated by government." For example, car owners are prohibited from imposing excessive pollution on others via emissions laws.

Of course, these are really the same answer (because in answer #1, it would be the government who created the obligation); it just depends on perspective.

Comment: Re:No suprise. Comcast TV is poor value for money (Score 3, Insightful) 136

by mrchaotica (#49620209) Attached to: Internet Customers Surpass Cable Subscribers At Comcast

What's my upload? I'd rather not upload one goddamned thing. How does my upload matter? I don't give a shit.

Upload speed matters in the sense that the Internet was supposed to be a democratized peer-to-peer infrastructure that would enable global dialogue, while you're apparently content for it to be "just another entertainment service" dominated by oligarchic commercial interests.

Comment: Re:The 30 and 40-somethings wrote the code... (Score 1) 541

by mrchaotica (#49615579) Attached to: Recruiters Use 'Digital Native' As Code For 'No Old Folks'

Indeed. I, too, grew up in the '90s, and remember (briefly, in elementary school) the library still having an actual [paper] card catalog instead of an electronic database. Does that make me somehow not a "digital native?"

I even used DOS when it really was DOS (on my first computer, a Tandy 286 with DeskMate). In fact, I think I was learning to use the computer at the same time I was learning to use the card catalog...

Comment: Re:Time (Score 1) 311

by mrchaotica (#49611247) Attached to: Tesla's Household Battery: Costs, Prices, and Tradeoffs

I can see self-driving technology, but all-electric powertrains? Other than aircraft, long-haul trucks seem to me to be the hardest things to run off batteries. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that even the future of "green" trucking is standard Diesel engines running on biodiesel or synthetic diesel, not electricity.

Weekend, where are you?