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Comment: Re:Was impressed until.. (Score 4, Informative) 142

by RobinH (#48405017) Attached to: What the US Can Learn From Canada's Internet Policy
At least in Canada I know what I'm buying then. I get X GB per month, and there is (at least in my area) 3 different ISPs (1 cable, one DSL, and one independent) that I can go to. I go to the one that gives me more bandwidth, higher caps at a lower price (duh). It's $48/month for 300 GB, and there's an unlimited package for about $60, but we just don't seem to ever break that cap. (We came close once but reduced it by lowering the bandwidth settings on my wife's Netflix profile :)

Comment: Not just cameras (Score 5, Interesting) 321

Cameras are a problem, but it's not just cameras anymore. Nest thermostats, for instance, have occupancy sensors and they connect to the internet to work. So your thermostat tells a server on the internet if anyone's home (potentially). Smart meters have similar problems. We recently bought a temperature sensor (AVTECH brand) for our small server closet, and it automatically connected to as soon as I got it on the network, and started uploading sensor data. There was nowhere in the device's built-in web interface to enable or even disable this "feature". Nothing in the documentation. I looked online and found a forum where it explained that you had to telnet to the device, and at the main menu you had to select a hidden menu item, and then type a command to turn off this feature. It's that kind of absurdity that makes the whole "internet of things" just a house of cards waiting to collapse.

Comment: Re:Crock o' beans (Score 1) 739

by RobinH (#48279915) Attached to: Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare
I'm a Canadian who, for a time, worked in the US and had a US health insurance plan (early 2000's), before the ACA. I paid for that health care plan because it had a drug plan and the Ontario health coverage does not. A few times it was convenient to go see a doctor in the US because it was close to the office, and I clearly remember wondering what all those people were doing behind the desk of the doctor's office. In Canada you might see 1 or 2 people in the administrative side of the office, but in a US doctor's office, there seemed to be an army of clerks. I looked into it and it seems like it was all to do with handling all the paperwork due to everyone having a different insurance company. In Ontario there's only one health insurance... the government one, and they just pay for exactly what the doctor bills, there's no "is this covered, is this not", etc. The administrative overhead is much, much lower. The ACA can't possibly have fixed this problem, so you're still paying a lot more overhead for your health care in the US than we are in Canada. Remember, the only "service" an insurance company provides is dividing the costs of a group of people evenly over that entire group. A publicly run insurance scheme doesn't need to pay for advertising, salespeople, lawyers or lawsuits. It's very inexpensive to run, and a lot less hassle for the people who use it.

Comment: Re:They tried to raise prices 20% unnanounced (Score 1) 392

Yes, we went to a Rogers HD DVR for a while after TiVo and couldn't believe how much the UI sucked. I never really learned how to use it well, and relied on my wife to do the various incantations to get it to record what we wanted. A lot of the menus made no sense, especially trying to get it to not record something, or to wait and not switch the channel when it wanted to record something. Then we got rid of cable and first tried Boxee, then finally broke down and just put a PC there. Best decision ever.

Comment: Re:They tried to raise prices 20% unnanounced (Score 3, Interesting) 392

by RobinH (#48270065) Attached to: Cutting the Cord? Time Warner Loses 184,000 TV Subscribers In One Quarter
GP said they weren't in the US, so CableCard might not be an option. I am in Canada and nobody here offers CableCard, which is why we had to give up TiVo when it came time to get an HDTV. TiVo is CableCard only (and there's a good reason for it). The real reason they want to encrypt everything is to rent you the DVR.

Comment: Re:They tried to raise prices 20% unnanounced (Score 1) 392

by RobinH (#48270021) Attached to: Cutting the Cord? Time Warner Loses 184,000 TV Subscribers In One Quarter
When I tell people we don't have cable TV, and just stream, they're always interested in it, but few of them want to compromise. When I tell them you can't easily get sports though, then they usually say, "that wouldn't work for me." Plus, I know a lot of people that have tried streaming on their own, and they definitely end up on the "wrong" site and end up with a malware infested nightmare on their PC. We just stick with Netflix and Hulu mostly, with the occasional "rented" streamed new release and we have no issues.

What the world *really* needs is a good Automatic Bicycle Sharpener.