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Comment: Break existing contract? (Score 1) 353

by the_nightwulf (#44784701) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You Fight Usage Caps?

I'm also a Mediacom subscriber. This week they've been injecting the occasional notice into web traffic stating that they'll be implementing this cap. I don't like it, but I can live with it. 250 GB cap, with a $10 charge per extra 50 GB used. That's more reasonable than other ISPs, and it's not like I can go to another provider. Monopoly aside, I live in a town of 1500 people. We're probably lucky to have any high speed options.

All that said, like every cable company their rates are exorbitant. I'm currently under a two-year contract expiring in March 2014 in exchange for lower rates. This added fee doesn't jive with me as, per the contract, rates and service cannot change. My usage last month was about 270 GB (I do a lot of streaming, and yes, the occasional torrenting). I wouldn't lose a lot of sleep over the extra $10 for my usage, but not with this contract in place. I'm thinking about giving them a call and offering two solutions -- no overcap charges until the contract expires, or terminate the contract (thus letting me cancel TV service). I decided earlier this year it's time to cut TV when the contract expires; that decision has nothing to do with this cap.

Not like I have a lot of leverage here, and I'm sure they know that. I can threaten to complain to the municipal authority I suppose. Any thoughts on this idea? My biggest problem is that I don't know what this "contract" consists of as a printed copy was not provided; first step is to request and review that.

Comment: MS Family Safety (Score 1) 646

I bought my niece (12) and nephew (11) laptops for Christmas, and I had the same problem. If you're running Windows as well, I found the answer in MS Windows Family Safety. As others have mentioned, a filter isn't really a replacement for parenting. I fully expect that when the boy's hormones start running wild he'll find a way to see boobs, and I'm not losing sleep over that. This (and MSE, and no admin access) keeps them reasonably safe from accidental malware installs.

It's also nice for time limits. Set a time to keep them from getting stupid on YouTube all night. They're told they'll be logged off 15 minutes prior, and they're logged off at the appropriate time. Their login is basically not functional, but you can still log in with your account. The filters are nice too -- you can manually white/blacklist sites (and occasionally some strange things are blocked for no reason -- Google searches will sometimes be blocked even though safesearch is forced on) or use their categories. The girl is currently banned from social networking as she went batshit crazy on Facebook. This wipes out FB, Myspace, etc. It also kills all webmail, though they have Google accounts (on my domain) and Google is whitelisted for that.

You can configure and monitor everything from anywhere with an internet connection. It's not perfect, and again not a replacement for parenting, but it's "free" (with a valid Windows license) and definitely "good enough."

Comment: Re:Irrelevant (Score 4, Insightful) 183

by the_nightwulf (#40205837) Attached to: Nintendo Reveals Wii U's Miiverse Social Network

I moved on from Nintendo after I played Mario Kart 96 and Zelda 47.

Went back to Halo 67, Rock Guitar Band Hero 82, and Call of Duty 391, eh?

Oh, and Final Fantasy MCMX-37 part 24 disc 13.

How about Resident Evil 113?

Street Fighter 602 Gamma EX Super Turbo Edition perhaps?

Crash Bandicoot Bros. Racer part 88? Ok, that's really stretching.

I never understood people's incessant bitching about Nintendo milking their best franchises. Please name the companies that don't. Wouldn't be much of a company if they didn't.

Science

Most Detailed Photos of an Atom Yet 229

Posted by timothy
from the one-downmanship dept.
BuzzSkyline writes "Ukrainian researchers have managed to take pictures of atoms that reveal structure of the electron clouds surrounding carbon nuclei in unprecedented detail. Although the images offer no surprises (they look much like the sketches of electron orbitals included in high school science texts), this is the first time that anyone has directly imaged atoms at this level, rather than inferring the structure of the orbitals from indirect measurements such as electron or X-ray interferometry."

Comment: This is just now news? (Score 5, Interesting) 243

by the_nightwulf (#27528749) Attached to: GameStop Selling Games Played By Employees As New

I cannot believe this is just now becoming a "scandal."

I was a Gamestop assistant store manager in the early 2000's. This was policy way back then, and we abused the shit out of it. Yes, policy said you could only check out one thing at a time for a certain period of time (I remember it being six days, maybe things have changed ...) and you could only check out any given product once, and no products like OSes or consoles. In practice, we took whatever we wanted whenever we wanted for however long we wanted. All the managers covered for each other and the other employees when the district bigwigs came by. On inventory days everyone brought in a list of things to add to inventory. This was SOP for all the stores in my district, and pretty much every store nationwide if you believe the chit chat at the annual store manager meetings.

"Gutting" has been policy for at least that long too. Per policy, you'd "gut" one copy of a game and when it came time to sell, you'd repackage and re-shrink wrap it. We were supposed to shrink wrap the shit out of everything (Dreamcast software for example: pull the entire CD tray out of the jewel case, shrink the case and put it on the sales floor, shrink the CD tray and secure it behind the counter), but in practice that was too much work once there were 500+ PSX titles, 200+ DC titles, etc. I made sure there wasn't anything obvious left over (stickers with SKU numbers on CDs, for example), but many people didn't. We were also instructed when selling the gutted copy to just walk it to the back and shrink wrap it without offering any explanation. The old pre-EB POS system (which was written in QuickBASIC Professional, and I swear I am not making that up) used to say "Gut checks save lives!" as a part of the screen saver.

This is been going on for well over 10 years. CD-based software borrowed out and scratched. Cartridge-based software borrowed and sold as "new" with saved data on it. Ask any Gamestop employee if they pay for magazines or tax software. Ever wonder why every Gamestop has a shrink wrapper in back? Do you not know how to tell the difference between factory shrink wrap and re-wrap? Factory wrap is "crinklier" ... and there's always a seam somewhere where a small machine with a glorified hair dryer can't produce one (usually down the middle of the back of the package).

Oh, and my apologies to whoever ended up buying that one copy of XP Home we had. I didn't realize at the time that the product key couldn't be reused.

Science

Fictional Town "Eureka" To Become Real? 337

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the next-terrorist-targets dept.
Zarath writes "The fictional town of Eureka (from the TV series by the same name) is going to potentially become a real life town as the University of Queensland, in Australia, plans to build a multibillion-dollar 'brain city' dedicated to science and research. The city, hoping to hold at least 10,000 people, is looking to attract 4,500 of the brightest scientists from around the world to live and work there. The city is planned to be built west of the city of Brisbane, in Queensland. While not funded by the Department of Defense (like the [city of the] TV series), the potential for such a community is very interesting and exciting."

Comment: Re:Shocking News (Score 1) 103

by the_nightwulf (#20472667) Attached to: Analysts See 80GB PS3 Dropping To $499 For Holidays
Maybe I'm just getting too old, but why are people still arguing back and forth over what their system can do graphics-wise instead of gameplay? The shininess of your textures and number of polygons whizzing around on the screen has little to do with whether the game is actually fun to play.

I'll take a good SNES game over yet another "beat up whores ... in 3D!" game any day.

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