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Comment Re:That isn't the problem with AT&T (Score 1) 156

I think AT&T's network issues must be highly localized in the northeast, because I've been an AT&T user since before they were using GSM, and I've never had an unexplainable dropped call anywhere I've traveled. My cell is and has always been my only phone; I don't have a landline. However, I keep hearing about all these dropped calls on AT&T.

Sure, if I'm way out in the woods and I lose signal, it drops. If I go through a deep tunnel and lose signal, it drops. But if I've got signal, the call goes through and the line stays open.

I've never used anything but a free-with-contract handset with the service, either. I HAVE developed a deep loathing for LG handsets, though. My first 3g handset was a free Cu575 that was absolute shit - laggy buggy interface, OS crashes, strange "call failed" messages, etc.. I actually went back to using my old 2g Motorola rather than wait out the 2 year contract with that thing. I could not replace it fast enough when the contract expired. My fiance had similar problems on her Verizon LG handset.

I've primarily used my phone in Seattle.

Comment Re:Shocking! (Score 1) 216

This form of financing is actually legit, and a common practice. It's been dying out as credit got cheaper and easier to get, but has been starting to make a comeback recently.

The scam part is where they didn't actually send out the computer after the 13th payment. And the part where they charge thousands of dollars for a bottom-of-the-line dell.

Of course, it's foolish to get a computer on layaway - by the time you've made the payments and recieved the computer, it's probably outdated. Not like a vacuum cleaner or something.

Comment Re:Checkbooks (Score 4, Interesting) 86

Having worked in retail and foodservice industry, I hate checks. I'm flabbergasted that any retail outlets still take them.

The rate of fraudulent checks accepted at retail is astronomical; in foodservice it's even worse. The last check-accepting restaurant I worked at that had nearly a 50% rate of fraud on them; mostly from checks being written against closed accounts. The vast majority of these bad checks we never saw a cent from.

The corporate office required that we accept checks as a form of payment; they were located in some rural ghost town, where debit card use still hasn't caught on, and set national policy based on that. In a modern urban area, Visa/MC logo'd debit cards have all but replaced paper checks, and the only people who still use them are the fraudsters.

Checks are terrible, for both those using them and those accepting them.

Comment Re:Why should I care? (Score 1) 319

Why would they possibly look at 30 Million people who aren't buying their product and support a bill that will require everyone, by force of law, to buy their product?

Because it would also require them to insure the sick. It would end lifetime benefit caps, too. Go ahead and get cancer right now, then see how fast you hit the lifetime cap on your insurance policy. If you're lucky it might take a few years. If your unlucky, they'll just drop your coverage before you can start racking up the bills.

Insurance companies discovered a long time ago that their product is only profitable to sell if they target the healthy and exclude the sick.

Comment Block lifted; moot provides details. (Score 2, Informative) 342

moot has posted the details on

Basically he confirms all the speculation that AT&T blocked 4chan because of ACK bouncebacks from a DDOS. Real /b/tards probably already had off-network proxies at the ready to deal with it.

Also, being on AT&T and unable to access 4chan doesn't necessarily mean that it's been blocked. 4chan is up and down all the time, because they're under constant DDOS attacks, at pretty much all times, from various sources. It seems that DDOSing 4chan is a basic holding pattern for botnets that aren't otherwise occupied.

Here's what happened:

For the past three weeks, 4chan has been under a constant DDoS attack. We were able to filter this specific type of attack in a fashion that was more or less transparent to the end user.

Unfortunately, as an unintended consequence of the method used, some Internet users received errant traffic from one of our network switches. A handful happened to be AT&T customers.

In response, AT&T filtered all traffic to and from our IPs (which serve /b/ & /r9k/) for their entire network, instead of only the affected customers. AT&T did not contact us prior to implementing the block. Here is their statement regarding the matter.

In the end, this wasn't a sinister act of censorship, but rather a bit of a mistake and a poorly executed, disproportionate response on AT&T's part. Whoever pulled the trigger on blackholing the site probably didn't anticipate [nor intend] the consequences of doing so.

We're glad to see this short-lived debacle has prompted renewed interest and debate over net neutrality and internet censorshipâ"two very important issues that don't get nearly enough attentionâ"so perhaps this was all just a blessing in disguise.

Aside from that, I'll also add that there is some big news due later this week. Keep an eye on the News page, Twitter, and global message for updates.

As always, I can be reached at


PS: If any companies would like to hook us up with some better hardware, feel free! The architecture we've got powering this large and influential beast is really quite embarrassing. ( ._.)

Comment Re:so what about google then? (Score 1) 370

IIRC, Google doesn't use top-end "server" chips in their servers. They use consumer grade, midrange chips that they can get at cheap commodity prices, and load balance everything across a ton of machines.

He implies the problems are due to Intel and AMD not delivering with their server chips; these are not the chips that Google is using.

Comment Re:You're Computin' for a Shootin' Mister (Score 1) 370

In the automotive industry, where they have been dealing with 12vdc power in long cable runs for a century, they have dealt with that by having the voltage regulator sense and adjust the voltage based on reading taken at the largest load, rather than at the source. Thus the voltage drop in long, thin cable runs is automatically compensated for. The alternator just puts out more voltage.

Comment Re:Qualified Immunity (Score 3, Interesting) 528

Here in the US, public schools are typically surrounded by barbed wire, and not a small number have metal detectors at the doors. There's typically even a local police officer patrolling the halls in addition to the hired security.

The general perception of a school in the US as a locked-down secure facility really blurs the line. "Reasonable" persons have a completely different frame of reference over here than they do over there..

Or are your schools just as fucked up as ours? If they are, my hypothesis is totally wrong.

Comment Re:DRM ? UART? (Score 1) 403

I remember when people with Fords were hacking the "proprietary" OBD-1 service connector on the newfangled fuel injected cars with the EEC-IV.

People just jammed jumpers and multimeters in the connectors and figured out how to make it output the codes.

Of course, it helped that the super-secret Ford diagnostic tool was a push button connected to two pins, and a lamp connected to the another two pins. Service technicians pushed the button, and counted the flashes.

Of course, Ford didn't raise a stink when people published instructions on how to read the codes without buying the tool. And third parties make boxes that just display the number, which Ford continues to allow.

But that may have simply been a marketing decision, made in a day when a lot of mechanics mistrusted electronic engine management. However, nowadays it's an assumption; no one wants to go back to fiddling with carburetors and distributors. Manufacturers can start to lock them down and try to wrangle more money from the independent mechanics.

Comment Re:some comments on OBD-II (Score 4, Informative) 403

If the mix is rich, and the computer KNOWS that the mix is rich, that narrows it down quite a bit. Then the only possibilities are the airflow sensor, or possibly the fuel pressure regulator. (Of course, if it's a car without an airflow sensor, it could potentially be the throttle position sensor or maybe the manifold air pressure sensor. But most cars rely on a MAF sensor nowdays.)

If the mix is rich, and the computer claims "fuel mixture lean" or believes nothing at all is wrong, the problem is most likely the O2 sensor, and the computer is being fooled into enriching the mix.

I think the codes are quite useful. They let you know what the car is thinking.

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