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Comment Re:Mass SMS? (Score 1) 199

And the network already exists because it causes profit with other uses. Adding SMSes does not increase the cost of maintenance.

What causes you to arbitrarily state that causes profit with other uses?

Perhaps it's those other uses that are free, and SMS that is not.

No. Your notion that no cost should be attributed to SMS is just bs. When you have a capital asset that is used in multiple businesses, then it has costs are attributable to all the businesses, because all the businesses involved consume or require the presence of an incremental portion of resources.

Furthermore, you glazed over the support costs for SMS which are recurring, likely much larger than the equipment costs, and would not occur if SMS service was not being offered.

Comment Re:Their should be more options. (Score 1) 814

I disagree. For strictly medical purposes, if they wanted to be this creepy, there would never be the need for the last two

The distinctions should exist. Obviously, not all medical professionals, such as the dentist, would need the information, and if they don't need it and the information cannot be relevant: they should not ask for it.

On the other hand; the kind of sexual relations a person is having, can affect the disease diagnosis, as it may have a statistical bearing on certain medical problems..

The "Identification" gender is certainly important, as it should be used to provide the customer the proper service, for example: using the proper pronouns to address the person, and verification that their record matches the state ID's version of gender.

Comment Re:Mass SMS? (Score 1) 199

They aren't building a system to do this- the system already exists. So those fixed costs are already paid for,

No... they have to keep paying to maintain 'the system'... which includes repairs, and maintenance: hardware also has a finite lifetime.

For example, a typical storage system has an annual maintenance of ~10% per component. After 5 years, the annual maintenance price tends to go up precipitously, so in general, the systems will be refitted not too infrequently.

The reality is that fixed costs are not one-time costs, and they matter. The marginal costs are very small, but not zero, and they matter as well.

Any business has to profit to stay in business, and has to have a return commensurate with the risks involved in their spending the capital, for investors to allocate capital to the business in the first place ----- and the purchase of very large expensive infrastructure equipment (for which there are not subscribers yet) is quite high on the risk scale.

Morover, a percentage of the cellular infrastructure itself is directly attributable to SMS traffic. It is not valid to say all these expensive components were just purchased for voice and data, and that SMS is free

If cell phones just needed voice communications, the implementation would likely be more efficient, and not need as-frequent control traffic.

Therefore, SMS messages as a product create a requirement that dictates a certain network design that would be less-efficient, than if SMS communications could be eschewed.

Comment Re:Mass SMS? (Score 1) 199

"Kept on the display" would be a problem. The message has to be dismissable.

I've got emergency flash flood, tornado watch, and severe thunderstorm warning alerts on my iPhone.

The alerts are non-dismissable. They appear on the lock screen; they cannot be dismissed like other notifications. Every time you go to the notification center, the alert will be there.

The last time I received a tornado warning, that message stayed in my notification center for DAYS.

The alarm that is emitted when the message first received is very loud (much louder than the standard SMS message warning), annoying, and is emitted, even when the volume control on the phone's ringer/alert tones are at zero (In other words: the alert tone is annoying, and you have to wait a few seconds for it to stop, or completely turn off the phone's power to prevent it from occuring): you cannot make your phone be silent as easily with these warnings as with other alert tones.

Comment Re:Really object to emergency information ? (Score 1) 199

I missed the part where the delete button was disabled, and there was a quiz to determine that you had in fact read the text message prior to deletion. :-)

Excellent reply to anyone complaining about spam in general. Viagra ads can be perfectly justified, because there's still a delete button :)

Comment Re:Really object to emergency information ? (Score 1) 199

In a large scale disaster (hurricane, earthquake, etc) you would be irritated by getting a free text telling you where emergency relief (shelter, blankets, food, water) may be found?

They generally don't tell you that. You have to watch the news and listen to other radio programming to find where the shelters are.

By the way... they interrupt the news and other programming with the EAS alerts.

Even the really shitty EAS alerts like "severe thunderstorm warning", or "flood warning" (pertaining mostly to some county 20 miles away that has some really low-lying areas), that are about non-threatening conditions, or conditions known 24 hours in advance.

Comment Re:Not Big Brother, and long overdue EAS extension (Score 1) 199

It's always a non-costodial parent, not some random kindnapping. It scared the hell out of me when my phone started vibrating and yelling just because another kid went missing.

See... the AMBER alert laws, need to be changed, so an alert only goes out if the person reporting them missing swears that the kidnapper was unknown or "all custodial parents signed off on the report", or there was evidence (besides the kidnapping), that the child is in danger.

Comment Re:Very half-baked (Score 1) 199

This type alert should be reserved for "in progress" emergencies. What would be annoying is to get these alerts for days before (only to then possibly have it miss).

This type of alert should be restricted to unanticipated events that occured without notice, or clarity on when they would be occuring.

In other words: if the event was warned about within 24 hours. There should be no abuse of alerting systems to warn about what was already announced.

Comment Re:Not Big Brother, and long overdue EAS extension (Score 1) 199

You're an idiot if you're complaining about this. The EAS (and its predecessor, the EBS) has been around for almost 50 years and is a necessary, though at times potentially ineffective, capability to have. From the mid-90s into the late 2000's there was concern that the "traditional" methods of activation would be come less and less effective.

My biggest problem with the EAS is I think it's abused. I frequently have cable broadcasts interrupted in the middle of a program for "tests", or for "a severe thunderstorm warning" somewhere.

The fact of the matter, is it is an abusive intrusion that I should have a right to escape.

Comment Re:Mass SMS? (Score 2, Interesting) 199

And now you also know that any carrier charging you more than $0 for SMS is full of shit (it doesn't cost then anything)

Yes it does cost them.

You are perpetuating a fallacy, that fixed costs don't matter, only marginal ones per transaction; this is the same sort of flawwed argument some people use to rationalize music or software piracy to themselves. The reality is that in business, all costs matter, and products in the marketplace get priced based on both fixed and marginal cost.

The marginal cost to the carrier per SMS message are very low or close to $0. There is no additional cell network capacity used.

On the other hand... what is consumed, is capacity of systems involved in storing and forwarding the SMS content. That is to say, when you send someone a text message, there is an entry in a database created somewhere -- that record needs to get from your tower to the recipient's handset; there will be some cost in terms of magnetic storage.

If they are purchasing enterprise class storage arrays for branch locations where they route these messages, the average cost is about $25 per gigabyte. at an average length of 80 characters per text message, and each message passing through each system, each text message costs about $0.000004, in storage that will be temporarily tied up; now, each processor node that receives and forwards these text messages, also has a CPU capacity, and each text message has a fraction of CPU and RAM that will be temporarily tied up as well.

When all is said and done, you can make the argument that a SMS usage, probably takes up $0.0001 in marginal cost.

Furthermore, there is some equipment the carrier has to purchase and continuously maintain for SMS functionality to continue to work. They also have to provide support for their customers, so there is an average operational cost text per message per month (in support terms) for providing a SMS service.

The average fixed cost portion, eventually decreases with sufficient number of text messages -- at least until equipment capacity is reached, and better storage, forwarding, and accounting systems are needed to provide more capacity -- stair step pattern, if you need to buy a $500,000 storage array, the cost per text message ever sent will initially will be very high, and gradually average down over time.

They charge users of the service more than what it costs them, per message

That's called margin, and is a fundamental requirement for a service to be worth providing -- if there's no profit in it, then the carrier should not provide the service. And you could make the argument that they are taking advantages due to the lack of competition in the current market place, resulting from monopolistic practices, and the government's anti-consumer practice of auctioning "exclusive spectrum rights", to supplement the treasury's tax revenues.

However The cost per SMS message is not $0. The marginal portion is zero. The fixed portion is not.

Comment Re:Mass SMS? (Score 0) 199

Why cant emergency services just use plain old SMS service? "don't go outside, there is a hurricane if you havent noticed"

They need it as a primitive for the "mandatory alert characteristics"; such as prominent warning forcibly shown on the phone's display, and kept on the display regardless of the user's intentions (or desire to block/suppress), required non-blockability of the messages, and mandatory interruption of whatever the end user was doing with their phone.

Comment Re:Their should be more options. (Score 3, Informative) 814

There will be certain cases - a lot of medical data, for example - where gender truly is important.

For medical records, they should be gathering not just a simple "gender", but:

  • Genetic Gender: Male / Female / Other / Unknown -- Regardless of physical appearance -- are your chromosomes X, XY, or something strange? This would likely be a 2 or 3-dimensional scale, rather than a simple M/F.
  • Endocrine Gender: Male / Female / Other / Unknown -- Does your body hormonally act like a Male or Female? E.g. Does your body chemically have a female monthly cycle or something else? Again, this would be a 2-dimensional scale.
  • Physical Gender: Male / Female / miXed / None -- (E.g. Some genetic females, might for whatever reason, have some male physical bits; some males might for whatever reason, have some female physical bits)
  • Self-Identity Gender: Male / Female / Both / None -- What gender the person views themselves as, this may be influenced by their culture.
  • Sexual Gender: Male / Female / Other / None -- What gender the person determines them to be sexually. E.g. There may be people who are physically Female, and identify themselves as female, but sexually speaking -- they may be Male, as in, they will prefer to have a Woman as their sexual partner, even though they are physically a Woman.

There are potentially a few more things, that should be there.

The point is a simple "What gender?" question was a wrong question to begin with; based on a cultural sterotype that there are two kinds of people -- Boys and Girls.

Reality is much more complex; with all those medical "conditions"; which aren't really diseases per se, where you have androgynous people.

Comment Re:That's fine (Score 1) 161

I think I'll drop my drawers and spread my ass cheeks really wide for the camera. Hopefully that'll nauseate the folks on the other end watching. Knowing my luck, if there is targeted advertising then I might suddenly see advertisements for Charmin Ultra and Tidy Bowl.

Perhaps if you cause some of your copyrighted work to appear on the camera, and then start sending takedowns, demanding that their "recording/monitoring center" immediately destroy all copy of tapes with video captured from your STB.

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"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge." -- Bakunin [ed. note - I would say: The urge to destroy may sometimes be a creative urge.]