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Comment Re:Maybe, but risks offending high paying customer (Score 2) 318

Hell, even my credit card company doesn't screw me over

Or you don't notice. Remember that money is not the only thing they can screw you with.

For example, I'm getting more and more angry every time YouTube tries to convince me to use my real name, and it never goes away. The best you get out of it is "ok, we'll ask you again later". No, you stupid piece of crap, I want you to accept my answer once and for all, period.

But, Google wants your personal data, because that is what they are selling to their customers (which isn't you, you're the product). So they keep insisting as much as they can get away with. Because my account data with my real name on it would be more valuable then without.

Some companies screw you on service fees, some on quality, some on customer service - but they all screw you somewhere.

Comment Re:Economics 101 (Score 4, Informative) 318

While this is true, I think the author was pointing out one of the 'flaws' of capitalism; Technology and infrastructure makes offering such amenities a very cheap proposition. And yet, you wind up paying through the nose for them in certain situations;

What makes you think that's a flaw, and not a feature?

It is basically a misrepresentation of the true cost of the good or service being provided.

Ah, you are thinking free market and capitalism are the same thing. Yes, the rest of your comment pretty much indicates that as well. Well, time to wake up and realize that they aren't.

Capitalism simply means that the means to production are in the hands of private entities (companies or individuals), in contrast to ownership by cooperatives, the state, or the nobility.

The Free Market theory is about how trade and exchange of goods happen. Nothing in the theory requires the buyers or sellers to be capitalists. You could easily have socialist collectives exchanging goods between them on a free market, for example.

A true free market system works best when all the agents have equal access to the data needed to make informed decisions;

Wrong. It seems to be a detail, but it is one of the most important ones: A free market doesn't work "best" under this condition, it is a precondition. If you do not have total information, you do not have a free market, period. Which, yes, means each and every single market in the real world is not a free market, but an approximation.

That's not just semantics. When dealing with the real world, you should never forget that the conclusions from the free market theory may or may not apply.

Comment typical blog rant (Score 2) 318

What could've been a good article is, unfortunately, just your typical uninformed zero-research blog rant.

What's missing is what journalism is all about: Going deeper, finding the causes, even if they are more then one step away.

For example, why do some hotels charge for Internet and others don't? No, it's not the price, that is counterintuitive (cheap hotels often offer free Internet, expensive ones charge, as the article also says). So what is it? Well, other articles on the topic that did some actual research dug up the answer years ago: It's not the price, it's the guests. Hotels that are largely frequented by business travellers will charge, because a) their guests really need Internet and b) are ready to pay for it because it's business expenses anyways. Hotels that are largely frequented by tourists offer free-of-charge, because their customers would probably go to a nearby Starbucks instead if they charged and Internet or not may be the deciding factor between this hotel or the other one down the road as in the low price range there are fewer actual differences between the hotels.

If stuff like that had been in the article for the other 4 items as well, it would've been a good read.

Comment Re:Police and Judges. (Score 1) 871

For example, if you locked your keys in your car and had to break a window to get them, would you really not tell the cop this and instead remain silent?

The best thing to do is to call the police, tell them about the situation, and then proceed to open your car.

The police isn't always your enemy. I've worked with the police in business situations, and in that case everything changes. But if you are approached by the police, the first rule to remember is that the police officer is not your friend. At best, he is currently trying to figure if he wants to be your friend or not, i.e. if you're a criminal.

Submission + - Aereo required to testify about non-public patent info

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: In ABC v Aereo, a copyright infringement action against Aereo, the Magistrate Judge has overruled Aereo's attorney/client privilege objection to being forced to divulge non-public details about its patented technology. In his 15 page decision (PDF) he ordered the continued deposition of the company's CTO and CEO about their patent applications. My gut reaction is that this sets a very dangerous precedent, giving the big copyright plaintiffs yet another 'in terrorem' device to use against technology startups — the power to use the lawsuit as a chance to delve into a defendant's non-public tech secrets.

Comment Re:Police and Judges. (Score 2) 871

For my money, I will take the advice of every defense attorney who has spoken on whether one should talk to police which is DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE WITHOUT THE PRESENCE OF YOUR ATTORNEY.

I dimly remember (never been in that situation, fortunately) that you don't talk to the police, period. You talk to your lawyer, and your lawyer talks to the police.

Comment Your arithmetic skills are sorry indeed (Score 1) 1

Oh bullshit. Sequestration was only a puny cut in projected spending increases, not an actual cut in year to year spending, and certainly not the 20% budget cut it would have to have been for 20% of scientists to look for greener pastures.

I bet if you asked any group of employees if they were considering looking for another job, 20% would say yes regardless of any external conditions.

Sagging federal research my ass. You are just another chicken little.

Comment Re:Potential problem (Score 1) 55

It looks like I'll have to start keeping track of the lies.

Use mnemonics - if you invent an address, make the first letter of the street and the town identical. If you invent a birthday, use the same day and vary years, or the other way around. Some people use spam-catch email addresses including the sites name - e.g. - so if they get spam they know who sold their address. You can use the same trick in your invented personal data. So your G+ address is 1 Google Ave. while your FB address is 1 Facebook Road. Stuff like that.

Comment Re:More useful (Score 3, Insightful) 55

Depends on what they are using it for. If the purpose is individual identification, the data doesn't have to be correct, just unique. If they want to track you, behavior is more important than data, and so on.

But in general, I agree. When those "bonus card" systems for the supermarket etc. came to Europe, I was the guy at the CCCamp to propose everyone in the room stand up and exchange their cards with someone else at random.

But life is turning into a cyberpunk story in one important regard: The vast majority of the population doesn't know nor care about fighting this crap. Those of us who do, we are very few. We are the 1% in this aspect. Your and my data polluting doesn't change a thing in the big picture.

And that's where you are right on the money: If someone came up with a device that does that automatically, and had some other benefit related to this feature so it is of interest to grandma to use it, then you'd have ruined the current Internet top dogs business model in one brave stroke.

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