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Comment Re:Uh...it's still there, you know (Score 5, Insightful) 255

I have to agree. I've been around long enough to remember when people built their own Web sites. First, they built crappy sites on the space their ISP gave them, than, when sites like Geocities and Tripod came along, many of them moved there. Facebook isn't really that much different. Well, it is in that you can't actually build a page/site to look the way you want, but many people couldn't do that anyway, which is why those site-builder tools at Geocities and Tripod were so appealing. And what did they do with the sites they built? Often, they posted pictures of their babies, dogs, cats, etc.; you know, the same thing they're doing on Facebook now.

But OK, we have lost something if you look at it from the perspective of people getting out there, building sites, sharing all sorts of useful info, or whatever it was that we thought people were going to do on the Internet. That never really happened, but is that so surprising? We've tended to misunderstand how every new technology will be used, so why should the Internet be any different? And besides, creating content takes time, and creating quality content takes lots of time. Most folks are tired when they come home from work. They want to read others' content, not create their own. And yet, we still manage to see content posted online. Look at all the forums out there. In fact, I had to do some research on seizures yesterday, and I found the info that I needed in some of these forums.

And if, after reading this, someone is still lamenting what we've lost, then they can get out there and try to get it back. It's going to be hard to change user behavior, but there's nothing stopping them from trying.

Comment What an idiot (Score 1) 150

This guy is completely delusional. OK, suppose he's actually out of Belize. Now what? At some point, he'll surface, and Belize will issue an international arrest warrant via INTERPOL, and whatever country he's in will likely pick him up and begin the extradition process. What's he going to argue in response? That the police there are out to get him? Based on what? And it certainly won't help his case that, instead of hiring a lawyer, he chose to run, and, not only that, he started a blog chronicling his little adventure. And, despite his claims, Belize isn't some corrupt hell-hole where people are made to disappear. Yes, it has its problems, but, if I were going to be arrested in any country in that region, Belize would be my choice.

In short, he's going to be caught, he'll almost certainly be extradited, and this whole thrill ride won't look good if he ends up going to trial.

Comment Re:Udopeian Paradise (Score 1) 367

No, Belize is in no way a police state. There is plenty of petty political bickering there, but it's actually one of the most stable democracies in Latin America. If he really thinks he was set up, he ought to go tell his story to Amandala, which is one of the leading newspapers there. And it's strongly anti-UDP. They'll take that story and run it over and over and over.

Comment They get it...and yet, they don't (Score 5, Interesting) 648

Don't think for a moment that these guys don't understand why people are using Hulu. This action today shows that they understand quite well. The cable companies are scared shitless that people will cancel and use Hulu instead, and that's why they're doing this.

And yet, they don't get it. They seem to think that this scheme is going to stop people from dropping cable. In fact, all it's going to do is flush Hulu down the toilet. People will still drop cable, but they'll find alternatives to Hulu, both legal and illegal.

You really have to hand it to the entertainment industry. These guys aren't afraid to walk up to their customers, spit in their faces, piss all over them, and then hand them a bill for the privilege. And I'd be willing to bet that the ONLY reason they don't hire Guido, Vinny, and Rocco to handle collections is because the lawyers told them that doing do is a liability issue.

If I worked at Hulu, I'd be updating my resume about now.

Comment This calls for a classic (Score 1) 196

This article calls for a classic post, and I'm actually surprised no one else has done this already.

From the LA Times, way back in 1993...

The Day You Discover That Your House Is Smarter Than You Are
November 25, 1993|MICHAEL SCHRAGE | Michael Schrage is a writer, consultant and research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He writes this column independently for The Times. He can be reached by electronic mail at schrage@latimes.com on the Internet

Tele-Communications Inc., the nation's largest cable television company, is in talks to launch a pilot project in conjunction with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and Microsoft Corp. to design a "smart home." The home automation industry is expected to triple in size from $1.7 billion this year to more than $5.1 billion by the year 2000.

Nov. 28, 1995:

Moved in at last. Finally, we live in the smartest house in the neighborhood. Everything's networked. The cable TV is connected to our phone, which is connected to my personal computer, which is connected to the power lines, all the appliances and the security system. Everything runs off a universal remote with the friendliest interface I've ever used. Programming is a snap. I'm, like, totally wired.

Nov. 30:

Hot stuff! Programmed my VCR from the office, turned up the thermostat and switched on the lights with the car phone, remotely tweaked the oven a few degrees for my pizza. Everything nice & cozy when I arrived. Maybe I should get the universal remote surgically attached.

Dec. 3:

Yesterday, the kitchen crashed. Freak event. As I opened the refrigerator door, the light bulb blew. Immediately, everything else electrical shut down--lights, microwave, coffee maker--everything. Carefully unplugged and replugged all the appliances. Nothing.

Call the cable company (but not from the kitchen phone). They refer me to the utility. The utility insists that the problem is in the software. So the software company runs some remote telediagnostics via my house processor. Their expert system claims it has to be the utility's fault. I don't care, I just want my kitchen back. More phone calls; more remote diagnostics.

Turns out the problem was "unanticipated failure mode": The network had never seen a refrigerator bulb failure while the door was open. So the fuzzy logic interpreted the burnout as a power surge and shut down the entire kitchen. But because sensor memory confirmed that there hadn't actually been a power surge, the kitchen's logic sequence was confused and it couldn't do a standard restart. The utility guy swears this was the first time this has ever happened. Rebooting the kitchen took over an hour.

Dec. 7:

The police are not happy. Our house keeps calling them for help. We discover that whenever we play the TV or stereo above 25 decibels, it creates patterns of micro-vibrations that get amplified when they hit the window. When these vibrations mix with a gust of wind, the security sensors are actuated, and the police computer concludes that someone is trying to break in. Go figure.

Another glitch: Whenever the basement is in self-diagnostic mode, the universal remote won't let me change the channels on my TV. That means I actually have to get up off the couch and change the channels by hand . The software and the utility people say this flaw will be fixed in the next upgrade--SmartHouse 2.1. But it's not ready yet.

Dec. 12:

This is a nightmare. There's a virus in the house. My personal computer caught it while browsing on the public access network. I come home and the living room is a sauna, the bedroom windows are covered with ice, the refrigerator has defrosted, the washing machine has flooded the basement, the garage door is cycling up and down and the TV is stuck on the home shopping channel. Throughout the house, lights flicker like stroboscopes until they explode from the strain. Broken glass is everywhere. Or course, the security sensors detect nothing.

I look at a message slowly throbbing on my personal computer screen: Welcome to HomeWrecker!!! Now the Fun Begins . . . (Be it ever so humble, there's no virus like HomeWrecker . . . )

I get out of the house. Fast.

Dec. 18:

They think they've digitally disinfected the house, but the place is a shambles. Pipes have burst and we're not completely sure we've got the part of the virus that attacks toilets. Nevertheless, the Exorcists (as the anti-virus SWAT members like to call themselves) are confident the worst is over. "HomeWrecker is pretty bad," one tells me, "but consider yourself lucky you didn't get PolterGeist. That one is really evil."

Dec. 19:

Apparently, our house isn't insured for viruses. "Fires and mudslides, yes," says the claims adjuster. "Viruses, no." My agreement with the SmartHouse people explicitly states that all claims and warranties are null and void if any appliance or computer in my house networks in any way, shape or form with a non-certified on-line service. Everybody's very, very sorry, but they can't be expected to anticipate every virus that might be created.

We call our lawyer. He laughs. He's excited.

Dec. 21:

I get a call from a SmartHouse sales rep. As a special holiday offer, we get the free opportunity to become a beta site for the company's new SmartHouse 2.1 upgrade. He says I'll be able to meet the programmers personally. "Sure," I tell him.

Comment Here's a source link (Score 0) 164

My boss just sent me a link to an article about this. However, it's a Fox News link, so I feel sort of dirty even clicking on it and even more so for posting it. Please don't mod me down, since it's the only link I can find.


Comment Re:Wonderous (Score 1) 371

You make excellent points, and your solution would make the studios lots of money. Unfortunately, they believe that their way will make them even more money, and they really don't give a damn whether or not they piss off people in the process.

That's the problem with most big companies these days: they have no desire of building good will among their customers. It used to be--and still is for many small businesses--that you treat your customers with respect. Some businesses do this because the owners think it's the right thing to do, but even those who don't care so much about morality might still do it because happy customers tend to be repeat customers, and, even if these businesses get less money per transaction, they will make it up in the long run. However, many large companies don't give two shits whether their customers like them. Their goal is to get as much money as they can per transaction. Will the customer be happy and come back? Fuck that! We'll find a way to make them come back, no matter what it takes. You'd think these companies would have figured out that a good deal of piracy is a direct reaction to that, and, honestly, I do think they've figured it out. It's just that they've decided that they're going to fight fire with fire and attempt to beat the dirty pirates into submission. It's turned into an arms race, and no one is willing to back down, since backing down in our society is seen as a sign of weakness.

Comment Fuck you, Warner Bros.! (Score 3, Interesting) 371

Yeah, I know this post really adds nothing new to this discussion, but I just have to say it. Fuck you, Warner Bros.! I'll rip my DVD's--you know, the ones I paid for--on my own computer, in the comfort of my own home, on my schedule, and I'll watch them anywhere I please. And you know what, if I take a notion, I'll even set up a media server and stream them all over my house. And you won't see one extra penny from any of this.

Oh, and I'll show others how to do the same thing.

You guys had a golden opportunity here. You could have offered digital copies of the movies people already bought for a reasonable price, maybe as a streaming option, but no, you not only decided to charge them, but you went out of your way to make it more inconvenient than it would be if they simply do it themselves. You really are a bunch of geniuses. Please tell us where you got your MBA's so we can all go there and develop the acute business acumen that you obviously possess.

Comment Re:Just browse porn on the company laptop. (Score 1) 671

I'd love to see where you work, because I've never encountered an IT department like yours. Most IT people are so overworked that they don't give two shits about what someone is doing online, with one big exception. They will most certainly care if you do something that causes problems that they then have to fix, especially if you were explicitly told not to do it. They may also care if they've been explicitly told to block certain activities by management, and you try to get around those blocks, but, again, you're doing something that's creating problems for them. If you think that they're the only people who can be dicks, then go fuck with accounting, HR, or legal, and you'll get the same reaction.

Comment Re:Is it really their "right"? (Score 1) 671

First of all, have you asked if you are permitted to do these things while you're on the clock? Maybe your job is structured so that you can, but not everyone's job is. But, at any rate, while I don't think a company that allows you to telecommute is going to care if you go in the kitchen and make a sandwich, going to the gym is really pushing it, don't you think?

But, at any rate, using a company laptop to browse the occasional personal Web site is a damn far cry from intentionally altering it to prevent the company from knowing what you've been doing. That's like the difference between using the company car to stop at the store to grab some milk as opposed to using it to take a weekend vacation and then rolling back the odometer so no one will know. I know someone who does use her company car for taking personal trips, and the company pays for the gas, but the difference is that she has been told that she can do these things. It's one of her job perks, and she and her boss are on the same page about it. That's a far cry from what this guy wants to do.

Comment Here's exactly what to do (Score 1) 671

I'm going to tell you exactly what you need to do, and it's extremely simple.

1. Reimage that bad boy to your heart's content and install whatever you want.
2. Reply to this post with your position and company name. That way, anyone reading this thread will be able to watch your company's job site to see when your job comes open after they can you.

If you think I'm kidding, go ahead and put your plan into action. You think you'll have time to return your laptop in pristine condition, but what's your plan when your boss stops by your house on a weekend because his laptop died two hours before he's scheduled to fly out for a meeting, and, since he went by the office and didn't see yours in your office, he knew you must have it at home? How are you going to stall him, and, even if you can reimage it while you pretend to take a very long dump, how are you going to explain that it doesn't have that mission-critical application that IT pushed out last month and asked everyone to install when they were prompted to? And what will you do if the laptop gets lost and IT can't contact it to do a remote wipe? If that happens, you'd better pray the thing isn't found and returned, because it likely won't come directly back to you, and IT is going to be pissed when they see what you did to it. And these things do get returned on occasion. My department just had one that was returned after going missing 14 YEARS ago.

Is saving a few hundred bucks by not buying a netbook or tablet worth possibly losing your job?

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