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Comment Re:I'd be excited too, if Comcast lost my address (Score 1) 68

I'm sorry your Mediacom bandwidth and reliability has been horrendous. As I said, our experience with Comcast bandwidth and reliability has been uniformly excellent. It's just the billing and similar that has been awful - and of course their monopoly/cartel tactics.

There is no DSL available at my house, so I can't use the swap tactics to get a better price.

Comment Re:Numbers are easy to manipulate (Score 1) 68

Comcast has a terrible reputation for reliability, but I've had three brief service outages in fifteen years and I live comfortably outside the closest city. So their service - internet, television, phone - has been rock solid when I used them.

Their sales and billing department are pure evil. They have to know they're pure evil. Every piece of junk mail I get from them has both "Existing customers only" and "New customers only" in the same paragraph of fine print, and I have to believe it's an intentional weasel play so that they can argue that any particular deal they offered didn't apply to the person who just got an unexpectedly large bill.

Comment Re:I'd be excited too, if Comcast lost my address (Score 1) 68

Cut the poor sap a break. I figure 99% of the evil at Comcast (or Mediacom, or AT&T, etc...) lives at upper management and above. The rank and file employees are just trying to pay the rent. I don't yell at anyone at Comcast on the phone, or even complain. Whatever problems I have come from someone who would never bother to speak with an actual customer.

Comment Re:Really, not that interesting .... (Score 1) 68

As many other people have already said, Comcast is artificially boosting its cable subscriber numbers by bundling. It's currently cheaper for me to buy internet plus television from them than it is to just buy internet.

Of course, it's partly a bait and switch scam. I can pay $80 for 75/5 internet or $65 for 75/5 internet plus television. But if I get the television, I'll probably want DVR service and that includes an equipment rental fee and a monthly service fee, and those push the price above $80. Still, I'm thinking of signing up for television for the price discount and then just leaving the TV equipment in a box.

Comment Re:FCC to save Cable TV (Score 2) 68

I don't want it to be saved. I hope Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime bury the fuckers.

I couldn't convince my wife to give up cable television, but two and a half years ago I finally convinced her to switch from Comcast to DirecTV. Our first two years at DirectTV were covered by a detailed contract, so I knew exactly what I was paying each month. Month 25 hits, and I get a bill for $107. Now, if anything I think the service cost of the first two years should be higher - they have to recoup the cost of equipment plus the travel time and installation labor costs. But no, the contracted price period is over so we're going to hope the customer is stupid and accepts prices higher than he paid Comcast.

So now, thankfully, I have a Tivo and an HD antenna. I should have just built a MythTV box, but the Tivo is good enough and now some of their boxes (Roamio) don't carry a subscription fee. I'm never going back, I don't care how good the pricing is.

Comment Re:Numbers are easy to manipulate (Score 1) 68

Agreed. With your Comcast internet bill, it has two parts: internet and modem rental fee (if any). With the television bill they will bury you in bullshit. "Your channel package changed." "The introductory rate expired." "We reduced your rate on the channel package $12 but our DVR service charge increased $14." "We added a special Fuck You, Customer Fee to your bill this month."

Where I live, Comcast is the only high speed internet option. The next time I move, I think I'll ask the seller to purchased two different high speed internet connections for the home and demonstrate both for me. That way I can at least play two vendors off against each other for service and pricing. If the seller can't do that, I'm not interested.

As an aside, I have a tip for anyone else stuck with Comcast: I can't speak for the rest of their coverage area, but near me the branch office staff are fast and competent.

Comment Re:Science is still vague and unsettled (Score 1) 609

I understand your argument, but I don't buy it. There haven't been any pharmaceutical researchers making the claim that drug X might have improved the quality of life of 95% of people with Lupus but caused liver failure in the remaining 5%, but the evil FDA stopped them from selling it. Or drug Y extends the life of 60% of cardiovascular patients, but 8% get leukemia.

And most important of all, these long term clinical trials help establish connections that the vendor might be able to conceal without them - maybe drug Z does wonderful things for the first four years and then causes a high rate of kidney failure.

So how can you prove that the type 2 losses are higher than the type 1 losses, especially when a profit motive is involved to downplay and otherwise conceal the former and emphasize the latter?

Comment Re:Science is still vague and unsettled (Score 2) 609

Yes, abuse. A human being's worth and right to a quality of life and happiness should not be tied to supply and demand like he's a sack of rice.

Further, the competition for labor pits people against each other. And worst of all, the employer/owner/investor has a financial incentive to treat employees as poorly as he can get away with without hurting productivity or driving the employee to quit.

Abuse.

You and I are lucky, we're in the tiny portion of the labor market where demand exceeds supply. So we can post to Slashdot during work hours and nobody cares. But by the very definition of supply and demand, this can't apply to most people. If another million Americans became as qualified to write code as I am, software development would become a minimum wage job. Likewise for nurses, doctors, dentists, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, and every other skill - as soon as enough people acquire it, it would become worthless.

Comment Re:Science is still vague and unsettled (Score 1) 609

First and foremost, I'm not saying I - or anybody - should be running anyone's lives. And to be clear, Marx wasn't either. He believed communism could be run as a community, more or less as a direct democracy. I find this particular criticism of communism and socialism frustrating, because it skips a step in explaining the flaw. It would be like saying, "People opposed to gun rights want government oppression of the population!" - it skips a critical step, people opposed to gun rights may or may not want government oppression, but if you take gun rights away then the risk of government oppression of the population skyrockets. Likewise, communists want communism, which in theory allows everyone to have more (not less) of a say in their own daily lives than they have today - but in practice creates a bureaucracy that's even more oppressive than a capitalist plutocracy.

The regulatory burden on pharmaceuticals is necessary because of the risks. And as bad as that burden is, sometimes it's not enough - remember all of the cholesterol lowering drugs being heavily promoted that didn't actually reduce the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or stroke?

Cars today are marvels of engineering. But it's difficult to prove either way whether the 200,000 plus mile span of cars today is something that could only happen due to engineering and technology pioneered in the 1990s. It's possible the world had to endure decades of unreliable garbage strictly because the automakers informally (or maybe even formally) agreed with each other that engineering for reliability was unprofitable.

With respect to smart phones, I agree that people are not prioritizing reliability. I think that's wrong. Again, I'm not asking for the ability to dictate what people want, but I would call it a failure of our education and a product of marketing that pushes blind consumerism over educated purchases.

Likewise with respect to SUVs, or trucks, or whatever, I'm not asking for the right to dictate anything. But I think it's not good for our society for people to be drawn to buying something so much larger than they need for the sake of vanity, and it's a product of marketing that pushes blind consumerism over educated purchases.

Comment Re:Science is still vague and unsettled (Score 1) 609

I misunderstood the previous comment, then. Competition is not antithetical to communism - competition for resources is antithetical, but not competition in work. You want to raise a better strain of grain, develop a better cure for the common cold, or design a better phone? Go ahead, the other communists won't stop you. You want to own the grain market? You want to own the rights to your cure? Then there is a problem.

Comment Re:Science is still vague and unsettled (Score 1) 609

Putting my money where my mouth is doesn't get fair treatment for most working class people, does it? If charity was going to solve unfairness, it would have worked already. So you're at best willfully ignorant and at worst intentionally dishonest with your suggestion.

Go back to your Ayn Rand romantic fantasy, where every capitalist is a hard-working, ethical genius made rich by their efforts and every altruist or even every poor person is an idiot, a liar, a whiner, and a thief.

Comment Re:Science is still vague and unsettled (Score 1) 609

It's not snake oil. Marx's solution - communism - is fundamentally flawed in its design. He misunderstands some crucial aspects of human nature and human social organizations. But his solution came after he diagnosed the problem, the fundamentally exploitative nature of capitalism. My summary of the key points:

- The employer/employee relationship is dehumanizing to the employee, because the employer is using them as a means to an end. And has an incentive to push them as hard as they can get away with to extract wealth from their work for the minimum possible payout.
- The value of the employee is controlled by supply and demand, not the basic human dignity of each person.
- The labor market pits people against each other, because anything that improves your value to a potential employer makes it less likely I can get good pay from that employer.

Someone more studied in Marx and his ideas may call these gross mis-characterizations of his ideas. That's just my understanding. But I think his ideas are right. My kids' teachers are influencing young minds, I'm playing code monkey for corporate executives. Supply and Demand says I get three times their income. If you consider human beings a resource no different from cattle, iron, or cotton then it makes sense. If you think every person has fundamental value no matter whether they work feeding chickens or performing brain surgery, then it's beyond stupid. Again, I'm not saying communism is the answer. It's not. But what we have today is wrong, and Marx saw and articulated how it was wrong.

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