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Comment Re:well then it's a bad contract (Score 1) 329

I can guarantee that if Comcast decided to dump NBC during their next negotiation NBC would be willing to do any deal Comcast wanted a couple weeks later.

Your example actually disproves your point. NBC is owned by NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast Corporation, which happens to be the elephant in the room for both U.S. TV and broadband service. Until last week, Comcast thought it had a snowball's chance in hell of buying up even more market share (Time Warner Cable) and put even more of the cable companies in the same bed as the content companies. Clearly the business model is working for Comcast -- no reason to think it won't stop any of the publicly-traded cable companies (e.g. Charter, Cablevision) from merging with one of the publicly-traded content companies (e.g. AMC Networks, Starz, Fox).

If Verizon can afford to drop The Weather Channel (a NBCUniversal property) from FiOS TV without warning, without lowering the monthly price for subscribers, replacing it with an inferior product (Accuweather, and I can't figure out which is more useless, their TV channel or their inaccurate forecasts), and with barely a fight from Comcast, that's a win for consumers, right? Bueller?

Comment Re:So offer a cost effective replacement (Score 1) 185

This is why you never, ever use a debit card at anything other than an ATM. (Not even at the grocery store for cash back.) That limits where your card details can be skimmed from.

I don't understand why you thought Newegg would do anything? If the bank "lost" the paperwork, you send a certified letter to follow up, and if they still play possum, send a letter to the regulators and (within the U.S.) state attorney's office...

Comment Re:Chip & Pin (Score 1) 106

Chip and Pin has already been comprimised in the wild:

Nothing in the article states that the fraudulent charges were run as Chip+[Sig/PIN] transactions, though. They were processed in a way that bypass the chip:

  1. 1) Card not present transactions (mail/phone/internet)
  2. 2) Cloned magstripe-only card on a non-chip terminal (I had a chipped Visa fraudulently used in the US with this method)
  3. 3) Same as #2 but with a PIN at a merchant terminal for cash back or at an ATM for cash withdrawal or advance

I've yet to hear of a case where a fraudulent chip transaction came from a cloned card.

Forcing everything in the card present transaction chain -- cards, POS devices and ATMs, card processor networks, banks -- to require the chip, eliminating the use of the magstripe, should (at least in theory) eliminate methods 2 and 3. But there's still the issue of card not present transactions. Until you find a viable solution for that, the scammers will always have an avenue for fraud.

Comment Re:What the Hell??? (Score 1) 376

USA Today is making that up. There's an unlimited calling, unlimited texting, 300 MB data plan but

  • 1) it's only for basic phones (not smartphones)
  • 2) it costs $70 per month (not $80)

VZW's PDF ( excludes smartphones from the "Share Everything Plans for Basic Phones" and "Data-Only Plans," therefore the minimum charge per month is $90 -- $40 for the device, $50 for 1 GB data. I'd argue the minimum is $100, since (if you keep reading) it's worded like a family plan with a two-device minimum, and the cheapest 2nd device is a tablet @ $10.

What isn't clear is if there will be single-line pricing, though the wording ("Select one smartphone and up to nine more devices", emphasis mine) implies that it'll exist. Most of the multi-line scenarios I can think of, however, are running $10-$30/mo higher with SE, with the biggest hit to basic phone non-texting customers. In my case, it's $110 now (2 basic phones, 1 smartphone w/unlimited data, no texting) vs. $150+ on SE (1 smartphone, 2 basic phones, 1 GB data, which I would definitely use in a month) so that's a ~33% increase.

Comment Re:Enforceability? (Score 1) 388

Silly Fonts aren't even copyrightable let alone trademarkable

The U.S. Copyright Office catalog would beg to differ. Run a quick search in there for Myriad Pro -- one example is document TX0005308118 registered on 2000-10-30 to Adobe Systems, Inc. You can also see registrations for ClearViewHwy, the new font for highway signs, plus if you search USPTO you'll find a trademark application filed in 2003 for the name of the font.

Comment Re:Once apon a time (Score 1) 387

and additionally have advertising: their shows are all standard "44 minute hours" with the remaining time taken up letting us all know about how this show was made possible by a grant from the buystufffromus corporation

Now that is just false. The New York Times just ran an article today about PBS's programming model:

And, [John F. Wilson, the chief programming executive for PBS] noted, PBS shows would still be “the longest hour in television in terms of content,” with as much as 54 minutes of programming, compared with about 40 minutes for commercial networks.

Not to mention, the current programming format means that unless you're watching something over an hour long (e.g. Masterpiece, Great Performances) you don't have to sit through any sponsorships or use a DVR to skip them during the actual program -- the exception being membership drive broadcasts. From what I recall, the best the broadcast networks have done was the "limited commercial interruption" model -- last one I remember was "24" and they still had one or two cheesy Ford commercials during the actual show, probably 2-3 minutes each in length. Plus there's all of the in-show advertising/branding Ford got, in addition to their commercials.

(The article linked above explains that PBS will test programming breaks within the one-hour window, possibly once every ~15 minutes. Even if that becomes the norm, what you call "advertising" on PBS is a far cry from the advertising on broadcast/cable networks. It's a step removed from premium cable -- e.g .HBO, Cinemax -- but just barely.)

Comment Re:Get a sunday subscription, it's cheaper. (Score 3, Informative) 127

for $3.75/week you can get a sunday NY paper delivered in the US, and that gives you a free on-line subscription. By itself the on-line subscription is 3.50/week. SO for less than the postage you get the delightful dead tree version too.

I thought about that too, until I found out that for the D.C. metro area, that's the intro price and only good for 8-12 weeks. After that, it doubles to $7.50/wk. Last time I checked -- granted, it was several years ago -- the newsstand price for the Sunday NYT was only $5.00. (In my case, since I own a smartphone but no tablet, I would be better off taking the Sunday NYT for 12 weeks, then switching to digital.) I'd be curious to know what the NY/NJ/"home area" rate is compared to D.C., or if other parts of the country have cheaper "standard" rates.

Comment Re:Probably not. Sorry. (Score 0) 215

- Various other major bugfixes, particularly a fix to the "can't alt-tab out of full-screen mode" bug, which was present in FFXI as well.

Would people stop propagating this myth that Alt+Tab is a bug? It's not a bug and Square-Enix said so. The PC version of FFXI was intended to be full-screen only without the ability to Alt+Tab, and the linked notice clearly implies it was implemented to prevent the use of cheating tools. (The effectiveness of that is beside the point.)

Comment Re:I Talked to a Couple of Beta Testers (Score 1) 401

Pretty good job? It was hard enough just pulling down patches and logging in during the limited alpha/beta windows, usually only 5-6 hours at night a few days a week, with the game blacked out the rest of the time. I tried to file bug reports and the form gave me an error, with no secondary way to contact them. Then they only wanted to solicit certain types of feedback per testing period, and if you didn't post within a few days you were SOL -- they locked the discussion thread. It was like going down a checklist: we've asked about item x for two weeks, now we'll move on to item y, we don't want to hear about item x again.

I played FFXI for several years after the North America launch. The game wasn't perfect, but eventually I got the hang of the controls and could navigate the UI without looking. Even with the lack of English-language sites documenting the quests, missions, jobs, weapons, etc. at the NA launch, most of the game mechanics made sense. With FFXIV, it's like they tried to come up with a more in-depth, customizable version of FFXI and ended up with a horribly complex and convoluted system. The XP system was unclear, they were offering job classes which were unplayable during the early stages of beta (and not warning people or removing the class option), and then there were the laggy menus with laggy submenus containing laggy submenus leading to laggy submenus ending in more laggy submenus, etc. In FFXI, attacking a monster with the keys was simple: tab to it (target name in bottom-left corner, monster highlighted with an arrow above it) and then Enter x2 (confirm target & issue attack command) to attack. I could keep my left hand over WASD and my right over the arrows and still comfortably play thief -- a class which required a lot of positioning and timed macros to play effectively. The controls in FFXIV just never made sense -- this coming from a PC gamer who has never felt the need for a gamepad.

I was appalled by the beta. It looked and played like some piece of concept code. At least in its day, FFXI was a notable contender in the MMO space, with its international reach (auto-translate was vital for playing outside of your region's peak hours) and broad player base (console & PC). FFXIV just looks like something S-E threw together to meet a deadline.

Comment Re:Why do traders have such worst-case rules? (Score 1) 460

You can easily lose more than what you set because of situations like this. If it moves faster than you can sell for that amount, you will sell at below your stop loss number. You can set it at 40% and lose 99%

And this is why you only use a stop-limit order. You can place your stop at a price reflecting a 40% loss with a limit reflecting a 45% loss. Using May 6 as an example, a stock trading at $50.00 that printed at $0.01 would trigger the 40% stop, but your order wouldn't fill below $22.50, limiting your loss to 45%. (And your trade would not have been busted by the Clearly Erroneous Ruling Policy, since the criteria was price deviation greater/less than 60% from the last print at or before 2:40 PM ET.)

Some brokerage firms offer both stop and stop-limit order types. In a world of millisecond trading, using a stop-loss is playing with fire.


Psystar Activation Servers Down? 245

An anonymous reader writes "I purchased Rebel EFI in support of Psystar's crusade back in October. Just 3 short months later, I have no support. I found this out when I upgraded my hard drive and installed Snow Leopard using Rebel EFI. The program can no longer 'phone home' to activate or download/install drivers. This is a direct contradiction to Psystar's promise posted on their website: 'Psystar will continue to support all of its existing customers of hardware and software through this transitional period. Warranties on hardware will continue to be honored as long the customer has a valid warranty. Rebel EFI support for existing customers, as always, will remain exclusively available through email and the built-in ticket interface.' Has anyone else run into this issue? It has been 9 days with no response from Psystar by e-mail or phone."
PC Games (Games)

EA Shutting Down Video Game Servers Prematurely 341

Spacezilla writes "EA is dropping the bomb on a number of their video game servers, shutting down the online fun for many of their Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3 games. Not only is the inclusion of PS3 and Xbox 360 titles odd, the date the games were released is even more surprising. Yes, Madden 07 and 08 are included in the shutdown... but Madden 09 on all consoles as well?"

Comment Re:Fairness? (Score 3, Informative) 319

Why are people complaining? Take a basic individual plan and a basic (Moto W755) phone on Verizon:

  • 2-year contract
    • Monthly plan: $39.99/mo
    • Phone: $0
    • Cancel after 1 year: $654.88 ($479.88 + $175 termination)
    • 2-year cost: $959.76
  • Month-to-month contract
    • Monthly plan: $39.99/mo
    • Phone: $249.99
    • 1-year cost: $729.87
    • 2-year base cost: $1209.75

It's still cheaper after one year to pay the full $175 ETF on-contract than go month-to-month because they inflate the "real" cost of the phone. The month-to-month plan is nothing more than a veiled warm-and-fuzzy to the people who want to "stick it to the phone company."

Comment Re:Except for Domain Controllers.. (Score 2, Informative) 201

Agreed...when I was reading up for one of the Server 2008 AD MCTS exams, I cloned a base VM image of Server 2008 to simulate two DCs, a file server, an IIS/application server, etc. I had to download and run NewSID because every server I joined to the domain (i.e. the "primary" DC) had problems getting joined correctly. I don't recall the specifics but Server 2008 did throw a hissy fit and I had to run NewSID on each VM prior to joining before I could do anything else.

Data Storage

The Sidekick Failure and Cloud Culpability 246

miller60 writes "There's a vigorous debate among cloud pundits about whether the apparent loss of all Sidekick users' data is a reflection on the trustworthiness of cloud computing or simply another cautionary tale about poor backup practices. InformationWeek calls the incident 'a code red cloud disaster.' But some cloud technologists insist data center failures are not cloud failures. Is this distinction meaningful? Or does the cloud movement bear the burden of fuzzy definitions in assessing its shortcomings as well as its promise?"

Computers can figure out all kinds of problems, except the things in the world that just don't add up.