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Comment Answer the phone and just ask them to stop (Score 1) 216

I don't understand some of the people that keep complaining about marketing and debt collector calls and robocalls. It just means you don't know the law and don't know how to answer them. With marketing calls, I've always answered the calls and ask them to put me on the do not call list.

Back before robocalls, I took the 2 minutes to get a live person and pretended to not hear them clearly. I ask who the are, then sound confused and ask what company they're calling from. As soon as I have that I tell them I have their information and took notes and ask them to put me on their Do Not Call list. They never call back. The National Do Not Call list is a scam for politicians to get your number and call you. I've never been on that and maybe twice a year I get a new marketing call.

When robocalls started, I tried to listen to the full message for the Do Not Call information at the end. I listen to the message and found that they mostly used 2, at first, then 9, to automatically be put on the do not call list. As soon as I hear the robocall in English, I press 9 and the call hangs up. Even quicker than talking to a real person.

I also had debt collectors call before for different people. I listen and ask them whom they're looking for and tell them to update their information and stop calling. I think they cycle through a half dozen debt collectors before they get fully updated. One year, someone gave out my number as their number, or someone mis-entered a digit and I started getting calls for a little bit, but I put a stop to it immediately. Before robocalls, there may have been a dozen companies that called, but when robocalls started less than a handful of calls was enough to put an end to all unsolicited marketing. I did have to listen to the first few robocalls all the way through to figure out the number to press.

If everyone does what I do, then they will start tracking when you asked to be put on the list and start calling again after a year. The majority of people are too lazy to do the initial work to get peace of mind later, so until I change my number, I won't be hassled by marketing and robocalls. Once you get on someones Do Not Call list, they rarely remove you. It's just extra work for them to track, when they have 10's of millions of people that don't know the law.

Anyone that wants a new law to block them doesn't know the law. The laws exist already to block all these unwanted calls. Make the law work for you. I rarely get any unsolicited robocalls now. On the rare occasion that I do, I follow procedure.. I even moved a few times and got a new number that initially got these calls, but I put a stop to them within a month on any new number I have.

Comment Re:Abandoned calls - heh (Score 1) 247

You should really just press 9 right at the beginning of the robocall. Most of the robots use that as a way to automatically put you on their Do Not Call Lists. I sat through the first few when they first started robocalls to figure out the menu structures. In the beginning it was a mix of 9 and 2 for the robocall DNC, but I think they've mostly standardized to 9 and I haven't been getting calls. I did recently get a Spanish robocall at work that used 2 instead of 9 for their DNC, but once I figured that out, I've stopped getting them.

The original way to stop calls was to ask for their name, company and call back number for the company. Then you asked to be put on their local DNC list and note the date somewhere. They are legally required to keep on their list for a year. If they call back within the year, you have the right to take them to small claims court for $500. They usually won't ever bother removing you from their lists because it's too much trouble and you're likely to ask to be put back on the list. They also don't want to go to the trouble in case they did mess up the date and you do happen to sue them outside their state. You just need to put in 1-2 month of effort in actually answering the call and the calls will stop. It's much easier with a robocall; just push 9 as soon as you hear the robot and it hangs up immediately and you don't have to hear the whole spiel.

The National Do Not Call list is a scam by the politicians. It was created for the stupid people that don't understand that there was already a Do Not Call Protection in place or the lazy people that didn't want to put in a tiny amount of effort to stop the calls. Putting yourself on the DNC list puts you on the political call lists. You've given them a valid number to look up. They put in an exemption for themselves. I know some people that did used the DNC list and they're now getting nuisance calls during election season.

Comment Re:floppy disks don't contain silicon ICs (Score 1) 252

Old Floppies were made to be very reliable. They became unreliable when AOHell started dumping their software all over. They needed the cheapest media possible for one time use distribution and the suppliers accommodated them. Once the cheap floppies were being produced, the suppliers decided they could sell them to regular consumers and undercut the other manufacturers in pricing. When they failed, consumers would just buy another batch I still have old floppies from before the dumping that were quiet heavily used and still read just fine on a few antique systems I've kept. Floppies that came on the market after the AOHell dumping would die after a few read/write cycles, just enough for a dumb consumer to load AOHell onto their system. AOHell basically destroyed floppies.

Comment Re:Clothes Dryers Re:user error (Score 1) 710

Don't set the dryer on high heat. Use medium or low and your clothes will last a little longer. Don't overload the dryer and they dry a bit faster without the excess wear experienced by all the heavy wet items rubbing against each other. That's how the clothes get worn out. They rub against each other end up in the lint trap.

Comment Re:Kind of like supermarket loyalty schemes (Score 1) 353

Mandating insurance forces premiums _down_ because the pool of insured people becomes much bigger. By now most car insurances are near the lowest possible values - most car insurance companies are barely profitable. It's not yet true for health insurance, but it's already happening there.

Not true.

Prior to the mandate, the insurance companies wouldn't insure any high risk individuals, keeping premiums lower for those that they qualify for coverage.

I remember my insurance premium went from $500/year to $1100/year immediately after the passage of the mandated insurance law, with no change in policy coverage or any change in our risk factors. There are enough high risk individuals that will more than offset any increase in the pool and cause an increase in premiums.

Insurance companies are in this to make money first. Insuring you comes 2nd and is how they hope to make money. If you have too many points or claims, they'll do their best to cancel your coverage if they can. With the mandates, they can't drop you just because you've become higher risk, so they'll raise everyone's premiums to make back their profit margins.

Comment Re:OR (Score 1) 579

In many Asian countries, they put pedestrian bridges or pedestrian tunnels across all the really busy, wide intersections. It keeps the cars and pedestrians away from each other's stupidity. Why don't they do that in the US? It makes a lot of sense and can save a lot of lives. I know of one in the US. New York City and parts of San Francisco could definitely benefit from something like this at many intersections.

Many major Asian cities also connect their city blocks underground, so that pedestrians can travel between buildings away from heavy traffic. Vehicular traffic travels on the surface streets and pedestrians are banned from the surface streets in many of these areas. I don't remember really seeing anything like this is New York City, except at a few intersection where subway lines meet, but those were relatively short and didn't really have any major shops like they do in Asia. I did see one section of San Francisco at the Powell Street Station that had shops like in Asia. Nordstrom was the hub, but it only covered one block of Market Street. Nothing like the vast networks in Asia that covered several blocks for pedestrian only traffic. Even at these places, pedestrians are allowed to cross at intersections in the US. It's brain dead city planning that caters far too much to vehicular traffic even in a place like Manhattan.

Comment Re:Overpopulation (Score 2) 118

According to Isaac Asimov, lower birth rates are attributed to giving women more power in all aspects of society. When women are empowered in more than just being a good mother, they don't feel the need to have all those children.

See his interview with Bill Moyers from 1988

Comment Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (Score 1) 490

Whoa, what country are you from? Blinking yellow is a yield, just like any 2 way stop intersection. When you don't have a stop sign in your direction, it is, and has always been, an implied yield. The yield signs just emphasize the point because a lot of people won't yield properly and think they own the road.

Comment Re:stopping vs yielding (Score 1) 490

So, have you ridden a bicycle in a commuting type situation? I've read before that converting many stop signs to yield signs, even for cars, would save all sorts of energy without significant increases in accidents.

With a bicycle it's all about energy conservation. When I'm biking it takes me significantly longer to get up to speed, and my top speed is still well below that of the vast, vast majority of cars.

As such, I typically have much longer to assess an intersection before I reach it, my stopping distance is extremely short, but if you make me stop it extends the time I'll be in the intersection when I DO cross significantly. If I'm allowed to use a stop sign as a yield, I'll attempt to time my passage such that I'll cross near my maximum speed, clearing the intersection expediently. Being through quicker reduces the chances I'll be involved in an accident there.

As a bonus, this way I'm less in driver's way, making me less likely to piss them off.

If you're taking significantly longer to get to full speed from a stop, it likely means that you don't know how to properly shift gears. I've always come to a full stop at the stop sign even on my bicycle, and other than the time stopped waiting for the other person to cross, it does not take a significant amount of time to cross the road from a full stop. I'm usually near my full speed and switched to my highest gear before I cross the first lane.

You do not own the road. You share the road and part of the courtesy is to obey the rules and stop for someone else when it's their turn to go, not hog the road as if you're the king of the road. If you expect drivers to share the road with bicyclists, you should share the road with the driver and let them pass you when you can give them space. A little courtesy goes a long way. Just because you can't manage to properly speed up, does not mean that you have the right to block someone else and cause them to waste energy too. What do you do when another bicyclist is also crossing? Do you cut him off too?

Comment Re:Are you kidding (Score 1) 818

Then start voting 3rd party and upset the system.

In California, it's already overwhelmingly "democrat", so you might as well start voting 3rd party.

In Texas, it's already overwhelmingly "replublican", so you might as well vote 3rd party.

Republicans & Democrats are bought and paid for now. It's time to get away from them.

Write to your representatives. Even if you didn't vote for them, they are supposed to represent you. If enough people wrote in, then it would cause a change in their behavior. They don't interact with their constituents enough, so they only see the money from the lobbyists.

Comment Re:"hacking charisma" (Score 1) 242

People also "grow up" a bit after high school and don't act as jerks as much as they did in High School. Some of that is training, some isn't. It may partially have something to do with officially being an adult at 18. Some kids never act like jerks, because their parents already taught them how to behave as adults even as teens. You don't just magically become an adult the day you turn 18. Maybe you learned by observation because your parents never taught you how to behave in social settings.

Kids have to be taught "common sense", otherwise they'd continue to act like the selfish brats that they were when they were babies. Parents have to teach kids to share with their siblings. Parents also need to be taught how to be parents too.

Comment Re: Will succeed post driverless (Score 2) 144

No. SUVs are popular because you can transport your entire family in one. I.e. so you can all go to church or the park in it. Slashdot metrosexuals wouldn't understand.

Not quite. Minivans do that with much better gas mileage and frequently carry more people. SUVs are more status symbols in the suburbs, where there are much more people than in the rural areas. Both were developed because the law requires seatbelts for ALL your passengers. Most SUVs, especially the more popular models do not have quite as much passenger space as a minivan. If you're in rural America, SUVs do make sense, but suburbanites like the larger gas guzzler status of the SUV.

The days where you could cram 6 into the back seat on each other's laps, or fill 15 kids into the back of the pickup truck, are long gone.

Are you having fun yet?