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The Irksome Cellphone Industry 272

gollum123 writes "David Pogue of the NYTimes wonders why Congress is worrying about exclusive handset contracts when there are more significant things that are broken, unfair, and anti-competitive in the American cellphone industry. He lists text messaging fees, double billing, handset subsidies, international call rates, and 'airtime-eating instructions' among the major problems not being addressed by Congress. 'Right now, the cell carriers spend about $6 billion a year on advertising. Why doesn't it occur to them that they'd attract a heck of a lot more customers by making them happy instead of miserable? By being less greedy and obnoxious? By doing what every other industry does: try to please customers instead of entrap and bilk them? But no. Apparently, persuading cell carriers to treat their customers decently would take an act of Congress.'"

Comment Gcc ... (Score 1) 739

Red Hat 5.2, sometime around 1999, I installed it so I could compile my homework, for a C programming class, instead of having to use hyperterminal to connect to school, from which I then had to telnet to the CS dept's Solaris system. Later moved to Debian and never looked back, and now using Debian & Ubuntu on different computers. Wow, 10 years using Linux! :)

Star Trek Premiere Gets Standing Ovation, Surprise Showing In Austin 437

MrKaos writes "Proving that science fiction can still be great entertainment, J.J. Abrams appears to have impressed Star Trek fans at the official world premiere of Star Trek, who gave the film a five-minute standing ovation at the Sydney Opera House in Australia today. Meanwhile, mere hours beforehand, flummoxed fans at the Alamo Drafthouse theater in Austin, TX, deceived into thinking they were seeing a special, extended version of Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, were pleasantly surprised when a disguised Leonard Nimoy greeted them and announced they would be seeing the new film in its entirety. ILM's influence on the film is reported as visually stunning, and lucky Australian fans are scheduled to see the movie first, as it opens a day before the American release."
The Internet

Dial-Up Users "Don't Want Broadband" 593

Barence writes "The majority of dial-up Internet users say they don't want to upgrade their connection to broadband, according to a new study in the US. The Pew Internet & American Life research found that 62% of dial-up users had no interest in upgrading to a high-speed connection." (CNN is carrying the AP's story on the study, too.)
Wireless Networking

OLPC Mesh Networking Tester Explains How It Works 92

An anonymous reader writes "James Cameron is an engineer working on the OLPC project, specifically testing the wireless network capabilities of the OLPC XO laptop. Cameron lives in a small town called Tooraweenah in a remote region of the Australian outback. There is little noise in the spectrum in the area, so it's perfect for testing the wireless networking capabilities of the XO as it mirrors the kind of rural, spacious environment the XO is intended to be deployed in. Cameron breaks down exactly how the OLPC XO's mesh networking works, including the cheap US$35 solar powered mesh nodes that can be mounted on top of a tree to further the network's reach. Testing in the Australian outback, Cameron discovered that the range of the XO could go up to 1.6km 'quite easily' at 1.5m above ground. 'Assuming a range of 1.6km holds true, (the mathematical formula for area of a circle) Pi R squared tells us one well placed mesh node will cover up to eight square kilometers.' The article also includes numerous pictures of the mesh nodes and testing of the XO."

Submission + - The New Facebook Ads: Another Privacy Debacle? (concurringopinions.com)

privacyprof writes: "Facebook recently announced a new advertising scheme called "Social Ads." Instead of using celebrities to hawk products, it will use pictures of Facebook users. Facebook might be entering into another privacy debacle. Facebook assumes that if people rate products highly or write good things about a product then they consent to being used in an advertisement for it. But such an assumption is wrong. When Facebook created a system that notified people's friends about new changes to people's profiles, the result was outrage. Facebook thought that there wasn't a privacy problem since the information was public. But as I argue in my book, The Future of Reputation,, Facebook didn't understand that privacy amounts to much more than keeping secrets — it involves controlling accessibility to personal data. With Social Ads, Facebook is again misunderstanding privacy — just because people say positive things about a product does not mean that they want to be used to shill it. People whose images are used in an advertisement without their consent might be able to sue under the tort of appropriation of name or likeness: "One who appropriates to his own use or benefit the name or likeness of another is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy." Restatement (Second) of Torts 652C."

Submission + - 1977 gets its ass kicked! (blogspot.com)

Cap'n.Brownbeard writes: Man finds JC Penney catalog from 1977. Man pees pants. Man blogs.

"A JC Penney catalog from 1977. It's not often [that] blog fodder just falls in my lap, but holy hell this was two solid inches of it, right there for the taking... The clothes are fantastic."


Submission + - Illiteracy is a disability?

mcgrew writes: "The St. Louis Post Dispatch is running a story about a man who is suing his former employer under the Americans with Disabilities Act for firing him for his illiteracy, saying that illiteracy is a disability.

I'm wondering how the guy knew about the ADA if he's illiterate? Maybe it's not that disabling in this day and age of audio-visual stimuli and educational materials? Perhaps one of you who don't know the difference between "loose" and "lose", or "there", "their", and "they're" can enlighten me as to just how disabling your condition is?

And could being a nerd be considered a disability? It certainly keeps women away more than a wheelchair would!"

Submission + - Joe Trippi on British politics and the web

00_NOP writes: Joe Trippi, past adviser to Howard Dean and, much more discretely, Tony Blair, has told British politicians that the web is going to blow their playhouse down. His comments seem more directed at the ruling Labour Party than the opposition Conservatives but both parties have had their difficulties — Labour's internet offering looks very web 1.0 and the Conservatives tried to be fancy with Webcameron — a personal site for their leader, but they actually have scaled that back in recent weeks. In the meantime, grassroots sites like Conservative Home have led intra-party insurgencies. Labour's web 2.0 grassroots efforts are less influential or troublesome.Web based politics is big in the States, but is it really going to take off in Britain?

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I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman