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+ - Comcast Pays Overdue Fees, Free Stuff For Time-Warner Merger Approval

Submitted by WheezyJoe
WheezyJoe (1168567) writes "In seeking more support for its mega-merger with Time-Warner Cable, Comcast has been going across the country giving local governments a chance to ask for favors in exchange for approving a franchise transfer. In Minneapolis, this turned up an unpaid bill of $40,000 in overdue franchise fees, so Comcast will have to pay the city money it already owed in order to get the franchise transfer. Comcast will also throw in $50,000 worth of free service and equipment.

"Thirty Minneapolis city buildings will get free basic cable for the next seven years as part of a package of concessions the city wrung out of Comcast in exchange for blessing its proposed merger with fellow cable giant Time Warner," Minnesota Public Radio reported. "Comcast has also agreed to pay Minneapolis $40,000 in overdue franchise fees after an audit found it underpaid the city for its use of the public right of way over the last three years." The article notes that getting any kind of refund out of a cable company is not easy.

Part of the deal with Minneapolis involves the spinoff of a new cable company called GreatLand Connections that will serve 2.5 million customers in the Midwest and Southeast, including Minnesota. After the deal, Comcast's franchises in those areas would be transferred to GreatLand. Such goodwill concessions may seem impressive as Comcast seeks to foster goodwill, but one wonders how Comcast/TimeWarner will behave after the merger."

Comment: The real problem (Score 1) 171

by zippthorne (#48725531) Attached to: Doxing -- Something To Expect More of In 2015

The ones who get elected will be the the ones that the holders of the information choose - they simply won't reveal their video rental habits or out-of-context emails.

So, if, hypothetically, some agency were logging all of the internet activity of everyone, they'd have a lot of power over anyone who wanted to do something that required public approval. At a minimum they'd probably be able to make sure that their agency survived despite scandal after scandal, including those which reveal the existence of this very plan, and even documented nefarious use of the collected information, whether for manipulating politicians, or more mundane extortion, or stalking ex's, etc.

A world in which people look past the weird habits of their neighbors instead of looking for a reason to feel superior to them is a pretty lofty idea to hope for. Possibly the only remaining option is to have enough competing organizations using this tactic that it affects everyone, eventually inoculating society from the tactic.

Comment: Re:They all suck (Score 1) 190

by zippthorne (#48684963) Attached to: Know Your Type: Five Mechanical Keyboards Compared

This. 1000x this. Laptop keyboards are often much better than regular keyboards in terms of minimizing the amount of effort required to get a word from your head into the machine. The only thing missing is for them to be full-size and ergonomic. (My preference would be a split keyboard where both units are separate bluetooth modules, or at have at least 6' of cord connecting them.)

Comment: Re:It's in the image (Score 2) 187

by zippthorne (#48668671) Attached to: Human Eye's Oscillation Rate Determines Smooth Frame Rate

Movies don't look smooth. They look like a staccato of motion-blurred still frames. 24fps was simply the minimum (read: cheapest) frame rate at which most of the population would perceive as mostly motion-like. Motion blur helps, but it hardly makes up for the deficiency.

Technology has advanced quite a bit since the advent of motion picture cameras, to the point that the "film" is pretty far from the most expensive line item in the budget. Why not record at a more natural frame rate?

The conceit of the movie industry is conditioning he movie watching public to believe that 24fps looks "more cinematic." How convenient for them that it is also "less expensive." But how disappointing, too, when those hard to-obtain establishing shots from high over the countryside don't really show any of the beautiful detail to the viewers?

Comment: Re:Start with copyright (Score 1) 116

by zippthorne (#48668455) Attached to: How Laws Restricting Tech Actually Expose Us To Greater Harm

3/5ths was about proportionment of representation among the states, not the treatment of individuals. The problem was the existence of states where non-free persons were not eligible to vote, so any proportionment of representation made on their behalf was exercised by the free, land-owning male citizens.

If you think disenfranchisement is unfair, how do you feel about disenfranchisement that grants your own deserved electoral power to the very parties that are oppressing you?

3/5ths was a compromise, but its fundamental unfairness was not that it was too low, but too high. States with non-free populations should never have been rewarded with the ability to exercise electoral power of the people they oppressed.

Comment: Re:What a nightmare (Score 1) 332

Instead we have a "Star Trek" universe that JJ has TOTALLY F*&*ed up where people can use the transporter to get anywhere in the galaxy, super-magically powerful "Red Matter", lame plots and passable acting etc. etc.

and magic blood that cures any disease or ailment including death from extreme radiation exposure, yet the episode wasn't about the ethics of a systematic rare-blood harvesting operation or the distribution of its products.

Comment: Re:One reason: Annoyance (Score 1) 237

by zippthorne (#48662983) Attached to: The Slow Death of Voice Mail

You don't have to wait through all that crap. Most voicemail systems have a key assigned to skip the header and jump straight to the message. It's always a different one, though, as far as I can tell. Next time you're at the main menu of your voice system, try listening through to the end of the options and choose the help one if it exists.

Nothing succeeds like the appearance of success. -- Christopher Lascl