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Comment Re:Simple answer: Cut the cord. (Score 1) 167

Tell that to the (206), (360) and (971) area code spammers that have been hitting my cell multiple times per week.

If you'll pardon the plug: Call Control by has been an excellent caller-id-blocker for my Android phone. It handles wildcard blocks, so those jerks don't get through anymore regardless of which number they've picked each time.

Comment Re:They have no intention of really doing anything (Score 2) 167

Your case is different from the robocall problem. The problem is not with automatic systems that targeting individual customers with customized messages. The problem is scams and businesses that call anyone and everyone with the same message. So, all robocalls are bad. Appointment reminders are not robocalls.

Comment Re:Strange sense of morals (Score 2) 263

Meanwhile, the 29.97% interest rate that the payday loans people charge (and that only because 30% is considered usury and is illegal) is in no way wrong?

Don't forget the mystery math that lets them charge that percentage against your payment, not your principal.

$100 principal loan at 29.97% of the principal owes the obvious amount of $129.97 in payment.
$100 principal loan at 29.97% of the payment costs the more common amount of $142.80 in payment, an effective (and legal) 42.8% interest rate.

Submission + - Lamar Smith & Bosses Call Wikipedia Blackout A (

sfcrazy writes: Lamar Smith, the sponsor of SOPA, was elected to represent the people, but he is doing a nice job representing the MPAA. Not only he is he 'ignoring' the opposition of the 'people' against SOPA and PIPA, but also he is mocking organisations like Wikipedia. Now this is what Lamar has to say about Wikipedia's blackout against his black bill:

“It is ironic that a website dedicated to providing information is spreading misinformation about the Stop Online Piracy Act," Smith said in a statement on Tuesday. "The bill will not harm Wikipedia, domestic blogs or social networking sites. This publicity stunt does a disservice to its users by promoting fear instead of facts. Perhaps during the blackout, Internet users can look elsewhere for an accurate definition of online piracy."


Submission + - Google joins SOPA protest, but no blackout ( 1

SpectraLeper writes: CNET is reporting a Google spokeswoman has confirmed that the homepage will have a link highlighting the SOPA and PIPA bills, but will not go completely dark. The spokeswoman also confirmed that the protest link would not be tied to the companies logo. With a total Wikipedia blackout and Google participation, the SOPA/ PIPA issue will almost certainly find a broader audience tomorrow.

Submission + - I live in China, let me tell you what life is like (

An anonymous reader writes: Imagine having no Google, no Youtube, no Facebook, no Vimeo, no Twitter...being forced to use Bing to search, no accessing any sites hosted on blogspot or wordpress, Gmail having intermittent outages, sites using Google Analytics taking ten times longer to load, Dropbox only working on occasion, and no other file sending services.

Imagine that there are equivalents of these sites that are state-owned and controlled: a search engine that only returns government approved sites, a censored twitter where you must register with your real name and passport number, and an internet radio site that is forced to play "red" songs celebrating the government. Imagine that these government-sanctioned alternatives are shoddily and hastily assembled and have none of the quality or convenience the originals had.


Submission + - How Stephen Hawking Has Defied the Odds for 50 Yea

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Now aged 70, Prof Stephen Hawking, winner of 12 honorary degrees, a CBE and in 2009 awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, is an extraordinary man but what is perhaps most extraordinary about Hawking is how he has defied and baffled medical experts who predicted he had just months to live in 1963 when he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), a disease that only 5% survive for more than a decade after diagnosis. Hawking started having symptoms shortly before his 21st birthday. At first they were mild — a bit of clumsiness and few unexplained stumbles and falls but, predictably, by the very nature of the disease, his incurable condition worsened. The diagnosis came as a great shock, but also helped shape his future. "Although there was a cloud hanging over my future, I found, to my surprise, that I was enjoying life in the present more than before. I began to make progress with my research, and I got engaged to a girl called Jane Wilde, whom I had met just about the time my condition was diagnosed," says Hawking. "That engagement changed my life. It gave me something to live for." Another important thing in Hawking's life has been his work and at the age of 70, Hawking continues working at the University of Cambridge and recently published a new book — The Grand Design. "Being disabled, or physically challenged, makes no difference to how my scientific colleagues treat me apart from practical matters like waiting while I write what I want to say." Finally the grandfather-of-three continues to seek out new challenges and recently experienced first-hand what space travel feels like by taking a zero-gravity flight in a specially modified plane. "People are fascinated by the contrast between my very limited physical powers, and the vast nature of the universe I deal with," says Hawking. "I'm the archetype of a disabled genius, or should I say a physically challenged genius, to be politically correct. At least I'm obviously physically challenged. Whether I'm a genius is more open to doubt.""

Submission + - Mathematicians Solve Minimum Sudoku Problem (

An anonymous reader writes: Sudoku is a number puzzle consisting of a 9 x 9 grid in which some cells contain clues in the form of digits from 1 to 9. The solver's jobs is to ll in the remaining cells so that each row, column and 3×3 box in the grid contains all nine digits.

There's another unwritten rule: the puzzle must have only one solution. So grids cannot contain just a few starting clues.

It's easy to see why. A grid with 7 clues cannot have a unique answer because the two missing digits can always be interchanged in any solution. A similar argument explains why grids with fewer clues must also have multiple solutions.

But it's not so easy to see why a grid with 8 clues cannot have a unique solution, or indeed one with 9 or more clues.

That raises an interesting question for mathematicians: what is the minimum number of Sudoku clues that produces a unique answer?

This is a question that has hung heavy over the Sudoku community, not least because they think they know the answer. Sudoku fanatics have found numerous examples of grids with 17 clues that have a unique solution but they have never found one with 16 clues.

That suggests the minimum number is 17 but nobody has been able to prove that there isn't a 16-clue solution lurking somewhere in puzzle space.

Enter Gary McGuire and pals at University College Dublin. These guys have solved the problem using the tried and trusted mathematical technique of sheer brute force.

Comment Re:Karma? (Score 5, Insightful) 117

How exactly does proving that standing around a bunch of X-ray equipment causes radiation exposure hurt those whose policies put those people there in the first place? No karma. Not hardly. OSHA should have been all over this from day one, to protect these employees.

I am a little disturbed they want to (appear to) do their own testing in this manner. I seriously doubt we'll see honest results out of the TSA management. Once again, OSHA needs to run this. Self-reporting will only toe the party line, that the machines are perfectly safe.

Comment Re:Mmmm not true (Score 1) 321

Google don't offer premium version of their services they make their money by showing ads to their free users.

This is not entirely true. My university-branded google apps account and my personal-domain-branded google apps accounts exist in addition to my free gmail accounts. They have a model for selling co-branded versions of the apps for a premium price. Admittedly this is not the lion share of their profits.

Comment Re:And once again... (Score 1) 538

"There is a finite amount of bandwidth. The options that have been presented to solve this problem are traffic shaping and capping, so please either throw your towel in with one of those or propose another idea."

Your premise isn't based on fact. The major ISP's have agreed that there is no bandwidth problem,

There is no such thing as an unlimited bandwidth router. Thus, at some level there is always a finite amount of bandwidth. What was "practically unlimited" 5 years ago is woefully limited as the media streaming gets more and more pervasive. Regardless of the true motives of AT&T the premise is still quite sound and relevant.

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