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Comment Counterfeit Electronic Parts (Score 1) 166

Export of e-waste is a major source of counterfeit parts. Counterfeit operations in Asia identify parts in the market that are of value, then scavenge parts of similar appearance from e-waste, wash them to make them appear as unused, put new markings on them, then sell them as NOS or new. They have been found in the supply chain of critical electronics such as aerospace and medical electronics and have cost industries a lot of money. From this article:

Counterfeits can come from trashed or recycled products as well as inexpensive products that are spiffed up and made to look like the new, higher-end products on the market.

More and more counterfeit parts are showing up in consumer, automotive, industrial, and any other industry that relies on electronic components. Federal law has been passed to confront the problem at the supplier end, but only for the military industry.

Comment Rhodes pianos (Score 2) 194

Harold Rhodes was famous for his electric pianos made in the 1960s to 1985, until digital keyboards rendered every electric piano obsolete. By the late 1990s, Rhodes pianos were becoming popular again and Harold was looking to put them back in production. Joseph Brandstetter took over the company and assets after Harold died of Alzheimers in 2001, and new Rhodes pianos went back into production under his watch.

Unfortunately Brandstetter turned out to be an aggressive trademark bully, suing any website or musical instrument company using the "Rhodes" trademark. He made the fatal mistake of making infringement threats against the largest collection of potential Rhodes customers - the website fenderrhodes.com where fans of the "vintage era" Rhodes piano hang out to discuss all things Rhodes. Brandstetter managed to p!ss off the members and site owners so much that no discussion of Brandstetter's pianos are permitted at all. In an act of defiance, the website never changed its name. News got around the web and sales dropped off. A few years later, Brandstetter was seeking buyers for his company. I don't know what became of it, but the outcome of that fiasco was that few of the new pianos ever made it out of the factory.

Comment US Environmental Regulations (Score 1) 271

Environmental regulations in the US (and likely the UK) has effectively shut down vacuum tube production in the US by the 1980s. Fabricating the heater/plate/grid/cathode elements is a toxic process. Besides acquiring the equipment, a hobby operation needs some way for disposal of the waste and the local landfill won't accept them. That's why vacuum tubes are made in countries with lax environment regulations (China, Russia, etc).

Comment Data Privacy Laws are unenforceable overseas (Score 3, Insightful) 338

Not only are health care data privacy laws not enforceable outside the US, but the data is vulnerable to breaches so brilliantly illustrated when a medical transcriptionist working in Pakistan threatened to expose patient records unless she got her back pay. It was revealed that the person who outsourced the work - and was responsible for the salary dispute - had ignored a prohibition from using offshore labor.

Comment Terrible track record (Score 1) 29

The FBI tried to pressure Apple into developing a back door to their iPhone. Whenever a company revealed that they provided a back door to the feds, their customers abandoned their devices. Obama and Nixon have both demonstrated the danger of abusing agencies as political weapons. It is safe the say that the federal government should stay the f--- out of cybersecurity standards, and OEMs already know it will be bad for business to rush to adopt them.

Comment Re:What is it that you say? (Score 1) 445

Taxing one private company for another's direct subsidy is just un-American.

And it has never worked. After WWII, governments had levied predatory taxes on railroads to subsidize highways and airports for decades. The airlines got their landing strips and airports free of charge, and trucking companies didn't have to maintain their roads. Railroads have to use their own revenue to maintain their tracks and pay property taxes, there was no way they could compete against subsidized transportation modes that was funded through their taxes. Amongst other reasons, this was a primary nail in the coffin for northeastern railroads as the taxes and unfair competition drove six major northeast railroads into bankruptcy and the entire rail transportation quadrant was in danger of closing down, threatening an entire mode of transportation. It took federal government intervention via Conrail in 1976 to dislodge predatory taxes and loosen the iron grip of asphyxiating regulation and labor restrictions/obligations, but the irreversible damage with miles of track routes wiped out was done.

Comment Repeat of old Bell Co tactic (Score 2) 198

Before cell phones and tablets existed, the Bell Companies sold their white page listings to third party marketers without customers' consent.

Then when customers started complaining about telemarketers, the Bell Companies offered to sell them tools to block them. They never told the customers about the sale of their personal data.

The Bell Companies pocketed money twice - from the marketers, then from the customers.

I'm seeing a similar pattern from Verizon. They sell direct install apps to marketers, then customers complain and Verizon offers to sell tools to block those apps.

Comment Scammers harvest LinkedIn for victims (Score 4, Interesting) 112

I was a (brief) victim of a dating scam. After I got wise and cut them off, I wondered where how they profiled me. My "date" claimed she found me on a FB group but scammers hide their tricks. Googling a quick ego surf revealed that the only place any profile of mine shows up is LinkedIn, which I thought was private. Seeing that I got zero benefit from LinkedIn and I had no other profile stored anywhere, I promptly deleted my LinkedIn account.

Comment Re:Tampa here, rejected move to Seattle (Score 1) 100

Similar story here, turned down a job offer near NYC for the same reasons. Not only did salary barely cover the outrageous living expenses, if that job were to go away there was no other company there where my skills were marketable. There was no way I could afford to own a house much less live there, and I don't make chump change for a salary.

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