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Comment Re:I'd hate to own a mobile phone in Canada (Score 2, Interesting) 214

It seems to be the worst country when it comes to vendor lock-in (firmware branding, sim locking), long contracts, high costs and craptastic prepaid packages. The one GSM network they have there (Rogers) is only GSM by technology, they use IMEI numbers to make sure people are using the right branded device for the data plan they're on. In any country where there is no CDMA that shit wouldn't fly, of course the Gubmint there don't feel like doing anything about it.

This is BS.

I moved to Canada 18 months ago and got a Rogers SIM card that I just popped into my unlocked european phone and it worked. I eventually changed over to Fido for a better plan (no contract) and bought an unlocked phone, no worries. You can get prepaid SIM cards basically anywhere and they'll never, ever ask for the IMEI.

If you only need a cheap prepaid, I recomment Speakeasy that's sold by 7-11. Credit lasts for 1 year and you can get a nearly free phone if needed.

I do agree that the cell phone market in Canada totally sucks and blows. Bell is hell, I had the misfortune of dealing with them and they're the absolute worst company I've ever dealt with. Rogers is a pain to deal with, but they do deliver on the product in a more satisfactory way than Bell or Telus.

Now there's a thing to take into account: the sheer size of the territory. Canada's HUGE. Maps don't do justice to its immensity, only second to Russia. I would think that installing and maintaining such a huge network to cover such a small population does have a rather high cost... but that's no excuse for the ways those companies gouge us!

Comment Re:Close the borders (Score 1) 337

When counting by percentage of population, Sweden would actually be pretty much on par with the USA (12.3% and 12.81% respectively). Germany's immigrants are 12.31% of the whole population, in Austria there are 14.9%, in Canada 18.76% and in Switzerland 22.89%.

All of the countries I have listed do have socialized medicine.

Switzerland doesn't have socialized medicine. Every resident of Switzerland *must* subscribe to a MANDATORY PRIVATE health insurance. While the insurance companies can't deny the basic coverage, the extra coverage (dental, care in private clinics/hospitals, etc.) is up to the insurer's whim. There are public hospitals, but they require insurance. The premiums for the basic, mandatory coverage are not indexed on revenue like in the other countries you cited, a poor family will pay the same as a billionnaire. Think $300/month per person, minimum, whether your unemployed or are making good money. If you're poor, the state will help you pay for it but you can't opt out.

Since the country is home to big pharmaceutical firms and large insurance companies, drugs are commonly priced 3 to 10 times more expensively than in neighbouring countries and, in general, health care in Switzerland is one of the world's most expensive. It is IMHO one of the most flawed system, just after the American one due to the collusion of insurance companies and pharmaceutical firms.

I don't think any health system should be designed to be profitable. Maintaining your population in good health is expensive but it's a small price to pay for a prerequisite to prosperity. Mind you, it would cost a whole lot less to have a universal health coverage in the USA than to wage war for a month in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Comment Re:Hey Taylor, out of the gene pool! (Score 1) 517

Maybe a $1000 ticket and a license suspension

So, what does that mean in the US? Like, you can't drive for 1 hour?

I'd say make it like in Europe: 3 months suspension for a first offence, 6 months for the second, 1 year for the third and then void the license altogether with a 3 years driving ban after that (after which you'd have to pass the exam and start as a new driver).

United States

Submission + - Helium crisis approaching (

vrmlguy writes: "In ten years, the National Helium Reserve will be depleted, according to an article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. An article in Science Daily echoes the concern, quoting Dr. Lee Sobotka, of Washington University in St. Louis: "Helium is non-renewable and irreplaceable. Its properties are unique and unlike hydrocarbon fuels (natural gas or oil), there are no biosynthetic ways to make an alternative to helium. All should make better efforts to recycle it." On Earth, Helium is found mixed with natural gas, but few producers capture it. The US created a stockpile in 1925 for use by military dirigibles, but stopped stockpiling it in 1995 as a cost-saving measure."
United States

Submission + - The Utopia Project

shadowmage13 writes: "So with the internet and all, we've been able to accomplish some amazing things by harnessing the powers of "crowd-sourcing" through things like free software and wikis. My question for you, Slashdot, is about how much this can be applied to, how much we can do with this. With everything we've learned from the worlds mistakes, could we draw up, from top to bottom, the closest thing to a Utopian society that we've ever come to? It could start as several very small projects that would grow and change with what makes the most sense. Some of them would fall apart and others would continue to grow. The final product would be the details of how we could have this perfect society for the people and by the people and evolving with their needs, a society founded on the principals of free software, transparency, and democracy. Can it be done? With enough interested, driven, and creative minds, can we really do anything?"

Submission + - Italian parliament passes draconian law proposal

Hecatombles writes: "The Italian parliamen passes a proposal that, if approved, will require a registration to the ROC (Register of Communication Operators) of all the sites which provide "editorial content" to the pubblic. The vague definition of "editorial content" means that all BLOGS, INFORMATION SITES, TECHNICAL SITES, will require: the registration, a "Responsible Journalist", the payment of a registration TAX and complicate bureaucratic procedure. This proposal will shift the crime of "defamation" to a new level "defamation by means of printed paper" with much higher consequences. If the proposal will became law, 99% of internet sites will require to be registered. This will mean the end of free speech and Internet in Italy. (Original news in italian language"
The Internet

Submission + - Prosecutor makes mockery of online privacy

netbuzz writes: "A special prosecutor in Arizona has issued a subpoena for all known data about every visitor to a newspaper's Web site going back three years. IP addresses, sites they came from, choice of browser, even the cookies. All because the paper published the home address of a sheriff, an address that's readily available on other government Web sites."

Submission + - Canada may tax legal music downloads 3

FuriousBalancing writes: MacNN reports:

Canadians may soon pay a small tax on every legal music store download, says a new measure (PDF) sanctioned by the Copyright Board of Canada. Requested by the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), the tax would apply at least 2.1 cents to every individual song download and 1.5 cents per track for complete albums. Subscription download and streaming services would themselves be charged between 5.7 and 6.8 percent of a user's monthly fees. Minimum fees would also apply for every larger download or subscription. The new tax would be retroactive to January 1st, 1996.

Submission + - Launched (

OpenSourceNut writes: The International Debate Education Association (IDEA) announced today its launch of, a wiki with the ambitious mission of becoming the world's "Wikipedia of debate and reason". On Debatepedia, at, people can help edit and co-create an encyclopedia of debates by adding pro and con arguments and compiling bodies of supporting evidence within a unique pro/con "logic tree" structure. Debatepedia is also a place for documenting the positions of leaders and organizations.

The site uses a modification to the MediaWiki software.


Submission + - Google vows to increase Gmail limit ( 1

Lucas123 writes: "Google said that people are devouring capacity with photos and other attachments on its Gmail e-mail service faster than the company can add to it at its current pace. So Google said on Friday that it would increase the rate at which it is adding capacity to its Web-based service. There's only one problem, Google's main competitors — Windows Live Hotmail and Yahoo Mail — far surpassed Gmail this year with their own capacity."

Submission + - ATA Detains Passenger Over "Flight Mode" i

URSpider writes: "C|Net, among others, is reporting that an ATA passenger was detained by police after arriving in Hawaii after repeatedly refusing to stop using his iPhone during the flight. The passenger claims that his phone was in "airline mode", which disables WiFi and cellular transmissions and renders the iPhone no different than an iPod. This comes hot on the heels of the recent announcement that Japanese airlines are banning the use of PSP's and headphones on all flights. With the proliferation of wireless-enabled devices, can flight attendants be expected to know which ones can be disabled? Can passengers be trusted to turn off WiFi and Bluetooth on their smartphones and gaming consoles?"

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