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Comment Re:Spoof the line as disconnected.. (Score 5, Interesting) 497

I did this a few years ago when I had a similar problem with a collection agency that was looking for a former renter. I changed my answering machine message to the intercept tone sequence, followed by a scratchy message that sounded similar to the telco's automated message:

"We're sorry, your call cannot be answered at this time. Please check the number or contact the operator... (3 second delay) Or if you're a friend just leave a message at the beep." *BEEP*

My friends thought it was hilarious and the collectors usually hung up long before the part about leaving a message kicked in. It took a couple of months, but the calls finally stopped.

Now a friend of mine who was being harassed took a different track. He would answer the phone and listen politely to find out who they were looking for. Then he would start yelling at the collector, claiming he was owed a large sum of money from the same person. He would accuse them of being a friend of the debtor, demand they reveal where he was and threaten to sue them to get his money back. The calls stopped soon afterwards.

Your mileage may vary, etc. etc.

Submission + - EU wants enshrine network neutrality in law (

Bismillah writes: Following the example of the Dutch who enacted laws supporting network neutrality, EU is now looking at doing the same. No throttling or blocking over the top providers such as Skype and Whatsapp in the EU and there will be a service transparency requirement for ISPs so that people know what they're buying — like minimum speed. Be interesting to see how this pans out.

Submission + - New drugs trail many old ones in effectiveness against disease ( 2

Lasrick writes: Interesting. From the article: "While experts agree that tougher trials and similar factors explain some of the decline in drugs' reported effectiveness, "something real is going on here," said Olfson. "Physicians keep saying that many of the new things just aren't working as well," and therefore prescribe antidepressant drugs called tricyclics (developed in the 1950s) instead of SSRIs (from the 1980s), or diuretics (invented in the 1920s) for high blood pressure instead of newer anti-hypertensives."

AT&T: Don't Want a Data Plan for That Smartphone? Too Bad. 798

An anonymous reader writes "Joel Runyon recounts a tale that will be familiar to many people who have bought secondhand smartphones. After his old dumbphone died a few months ago, Runyon picked up a used iPhone. He just needed it for basic phone capabilities, and used it as such, turning data off. However, AT&T eventually figured out he was making calls from a smartphone, and they decided he needed a data plan, even if he wasn't going to use it. They went ahead and opted him into a plan that cost an extra $30 a month. Quoting: 'According to AT&T: They can opt me into a contract that I didn't agree to because I was using a phone that I didn't buy from them because it had the ability to use data that I wasn't using (and was turned off). To top it all off, they got the privilege of charging me for it because I bought a differently categorized device – even though the actual usage of their network did not change at all and I never reconstituted a new agreement with them.'"

Comment No First Names (Score 1) 383

Eliminating an identifiable first name prevents random creeps stalking the female employees. (Yes, it can be a problem, both internally and externally.)

Our company eliminated first names and went with first initial, middle initial, last name with no separator: John C. Doe becomes
For duplicates, the longest-term employee is assigned jcdoe, the next is jcdoe1... etc. Over 10,000 employees and only 7 conflicts that I know of and 3 of them are rcsmith. One is R.C. senior, one is R.C. junior and one is an unrelated woman.

The online company directory uses this policy as well: J. C. Doe - Director of purchasing, J.C. Doe 1 - Legal aide.

Comment It's a start (Score 1) 289

But I'm disappointed they wouldn't implement my suggestion: to make all robo-calls add an option to their menu.

Here's how it would work:

"This is Rachel from Cardholder Services. There is no problem with your account.
Please press "1" to protect your account,
Press "2" to hear about our other exciting offers,
Press "9" to have 10,000 volts applied to the owner of this company's genitals."

9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 ...

I suppose they were right to reject my suggestion, though. The country couldn't afford to repeatedly replace all the "9" buttons on everyone's phones. /only half-joking

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