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Comment: Worker Cruelty (Score 4, Interesting) 331

by Joe Gillian (#49357567) Attached to: Amazon Requires Non-Compete Agreements.. For Warehouse Workers

What I found most disturbing about the linked article on working conditions in the Amazon warehouses is that they were trying to get the temps to work harder with vague statements about full time employment. I work as a temp, and every single temp agency in existence has a provision in the contract they have with the employers that the employers will not hire the temp for a period (usually six months) after their last paycheck. I'm smart enough to know that anyone who promises me a full time job is lying, but to try and pull the wool over the eyes of these warehouse workers is unforgivable.

Comment: Re:Isn't that click fraud? (Score 1) 285

by Joe Gillian (#48557179) Attached to: AdNauseam Browser Extension Quietly Clicks On Blocked Ads

The real vector for malicious ads these days is on mobile devices. I can't tell you how many websites I see that will automatically redirect you to a full-screen ad asking you to "PLEASE INSTALL OUR MOBILE APP". In most cases, their "mobile app" consists of launching the site's "mobile page" but with additional advertising and tracking cookies. In the worst cases, the ad is designed so that touching anywhere on it will attempt to install the app, except for a tiny red X in the corner that is very difficult to touch without zooming in (which in some cases can be interpreted by the browser as touching the ad).

Sure, this isn't malicious advertising in that it's trying to install a worm or virus without my consent, but it's still software that I don't want and have no intention of installing.

Comment: Double Fine is a bad example. (Score 5, Informative) 215

With Double Fine, there's a lot of questions about how the money was spent - many of which have gone unanswered. For instance, Tim Schaefer initially said he would need $400,000 to make a full game. Granted, he arrived at that number using numbers from games he made in the early 90s, but then it spiralled out of control into a $3.3 million project. The numbers he HAS released show that he spent almost the entire initial amount - $400,000 - on "backer rewards".

The $3.3 million barely covered the first half of the game, and that was on top of another few million in crowdfunding that Schaefer did shortly before release date. They still don't have a released date set for the second half, other than "We're working on it and it might be out by the end of the year."

Comment: Stephen King and Rage (Score 3, Interesting) 441

by Joe Gillian (#47807643) Attached to: In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment For a Novelist

Stephen King did something very similar to this years and years ago, under virtually the same circumstances. He wrote a book called "Rage", under a pseudonym, which was about a fictional school shooting in a setting that would've amounted to the present when the book was written. Of course, the shooter in Rage was also portrayed sympathetically (he goes insane because all of his classmates are assholes). There were even cases where the shooters in actual school shootings were carrying around copies of Rage, which made him (voluntarily) pull the book from publication.

Yet strangely, I don't recall anything about Stephen King being arrested in the middle of the night and involuntarily committed to a mental hospital.

Comment: Fun with Printers (Score 1) 64

by Joe Gillian (#47786693) Attached to: Robot Printer Brings Documents To Your Desk

What I'd do with this thing is queue up several hundred copies of Goatse and have it follow me around, spewing Goatse across the entire building. This will accomplish two things:

1. Everyone will want to know where the hell the printer is, and come looking for it (and thus find Goatse).

2. I will finally get to hear someone say "Why is that man spewing Goatse everywhere?"

Comment: I don't know what's scarier about this article (Score 5, Insightful) 111

by Joe Gillian (#47784811) Attached to: How Big Telecom Smothers Municipal Broadband

The fact that a 67-year-old grandmother from Tennessee has more progressive views on municipal internet than a large portion of the rest of the country, or that AT&T stepped in and threatened a 67-year-old grandmother over her attempt to provide municipal internet to her community.

Comment: We already know how they do it. (Score 4, Funny) 248

by Joe Gillian (#47784157) Attached to: US Government Fights To Not Explain No-Fly List Selection Process

In a sub-basement of the Nebraska Avenue Complex, the headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security, sit a couple of men staring at a computer screen and talking to each other in heavily accented English. The screen fades to white for a fraction of a second as it refreshes, the image changing from a young white woman to a man of Middle Eastern descent - a dentist in Seattle, but these men would never think to look that up. One of the men, brown-haired with an average build, his arms and legs containing a bit of muscle from his time at what he proudly refers to as "Fort Buttfuck, Texas" but his slight gut telling the real story of years spent "analyzing" various persons of interest and inhaling massive lunches purchased on the government's dime turns to his friend, a slightly shorter man from a small town in Oklahoma who is missing one of his front teeth. Unlike his friend, he's purely lean, having spent a good chunk of his taxpayer-funded salary on an expensive gym in Maryland - one that's popular with some of the senators when they come down to Washington to do business.

"Hey Earl," the first man says, "You reckon this guy's a terrorist?" he asks, pronouncing "terrorist" as "turrorist".

"I dunno, Clete, I reckon he might be," the second man replies. "Think we should ask the NSA for some intel?"

Clete thinks for a moment. "Reckon we 'oughta. I'll make the call."

Clete reaches to his left, past a hill of Taco Bell wrappers, and picks up a single throwing dart from a beer can he'd cut in half one day when business had been slower. Just to the the right of the screen (but far enough away that the screen won't be hit, because Earl caught hell from their supervisor after he put a dart through the last screen) with a clear line of sight to Clete's chair, a dartboard hangs from a nail in the wall. A printed-out sign (Comic Sans, of course) above it reads "NSA". An identical dartboard, with an identical sign, hangs on the left of the screen for Earl's use.

With a deep inhale, Clete tenses his arm, letting it go as he exhales. The dart sails across the room and embeds itself in the wall half an inch from the rim of the dartboard. Clete could've sworn he had better aim than this - after five years of experience, he was pretty good at darts - but one look at Mt. Bud (Earl's pet name for the pile of empty beer cans they tossed into a corner for the janitors to clean up. Clete had always reckoned that they were illegals, but they picked up the beer cans well enough.) told him he'd probably had one or two too many. "Fuckin' shit!" Clete cried in anger. Earl was beating him by 10 points now, which meant Clete would be paying for the drinks after work. "Yeah Earl, reckon he's a turrorist."

Earl dutifully pulls out a small remote control, one that has only two buttons - the red button and the green button. Green means go, red means No-Fly list. He presses the red button, and a large red circle with a cross through it, the standard "NO" sign, appears over the face on the screen. There's a whirring from the back of the room as the computer prints out the paperwork to add the dentist from Seattle, who had never had any terrorist affiliations in his life, to the No-Fly list, complete with an automated version of Clete's hastily-scrawled signature at the bottom, with Earl's underneath as a witness. The image on screen changes to another photo, this one of a teenager. Earl takes a long pull from his beer. He's got this one.

Comment: Re:Why don't steam offer refunds. (Score 1) 139

by Joe Gillian (#47783817) Attached to: Australian Consumer Watchdog Takes Valve To Court

Correction to that: they do refunds, but only in one of two cases:

1. You bought the game as a pre-order and it has not yet been released.

2. They will occasionally do refunds as a "one-time customer support gesture".

I've seen a lot of stuff on Steam (and other distribution services that don't allow refunds) that makes me think we need a ruling like this in the United States.

Best recent example I can think of is a game called From Dust. From Dust had Ubisoft's always-online DRM on it, a fact that wasn't made clear for people who pre-ordered the game (it was like a $10 game and I had heard of the person directing it, so I bought it). I don't think a single mention of the DRM was made until a day or two after the game officially released. To make matters worse, the game ran like crap on pretty much every machine out there and had a whole bunch of stability issues. I logged almost an hour "played" trying to get the game to launch. There were people on Steam's forums calling for a refund due to the deceptive DRM practices. I actually applied for a refund, if I remember correctly, only to be told that I could get the refund as a "one-time customer support gesture".

Naturally, I didn't want to blow something like that on a $10 game, so I just kept it. I don't think Ubisoft ever actually fixed From Dust into a playable state, and I'm told it wasn't that great of a game anyway.

Comment: I can see it now (Score 5, Funny) 52

by Joe Gillian (#47783625) Attached to: Google Testing Drone Delivery System: 'Project Wing'

A hurricane hits the southern United States, as hurricanes tend to do. Thousands of people are without food or water, and desperate to get somewhere with food and shelter. Suddenly, a thousand Google drones descend from the sky, carrying much-needed supplies. The people rush toward the landing zones, only to hear:

"Please log in with your Google + account."

One brave man attempts to do so, and the voice continues.

"I'm sorry, but Google now offers new account options. You can choose to merge your existing account, xxNarutoFan93xx, with your personal email registered to Robert Smith. Would you like to do that now and get a free Google + page, or do you have an existing brand or company and not wish to change your displayed name at this time?"

Like the riddle of the Sphinx, the pointless options are too much for poor Robert Smith, alias xxNarutoFan93xx, who slinks back into the crowd, still hungry and thirsty.

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.