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Comment Re:Misleading campaign statements (Score 1) 340

Interesting information on the Nexus 6. Any links? My phone is a 6P. If you google "nexus 6p fm radio" there will be lots of webpages saying the 6P does not have an FM radio, including this one:

I bought Nexus specifically so I can run stock Android and have all my features run smoothly. I don't really want to run cyanogenmod. But the option is interesting.

Comment Misleading campaign statements (Score 3, Interesting) 340

Not all phones have the FM Chips, but the campaign misleads us into thinking all phones have them, and the carriers just disabled them. I use a Nexus phone. There's no chip. My wife's LG does have a chip. According to the campaign website, Sprint already allows it, and T-Mobile has stated they will support.

If you purchase your phone and it is unlocked, the carrier is irrelevant. You can do what you want with it (provided it has the chip). If you bought a locked phone through a carrier, then you're at the whim of what they want to allow you to do with your device. Why is this news?

I may be missing something here, but I don't fully understand the emergency beacon type responses. Yes, of course I understand that the more options available for getting emergency information out the better. Of course that makes sense. But I get emergency beacons every once in a while on my phone today through either text or SMS (I've never investigated the mechanism). OK - now I've done 13 seconds of google-fu, and they apparently are not text messages and are specifically designed to not be bogged down during emergency periods with high congestion:

Are WEAs text messages?

No. Many providers have chosen to transmit WEAs using a technology that is separate and different from voice calls and SMS text messages. This technology ensures that emergency alerts will not get stuck in highly congested areas, which can happen with standard mobile voice and texting services.

So having FM radio for emergency broadcasts would be good. But we already have emergency broadcasts using our cell phones - even the ones like mine that do not have an FM chip. The argument for carriers to unlock because it's a security concern seems a bit like fearmongering. It might just work, and I would applaud if all carriers unlocked the chips so we can use them. But we did sign contracts with our carriers when we bought the phones, and they control what we can do, so I'm not sure what leg we have to stand on. Unless you paid full price and bought an unlocked phone.

Comment Why aren't all wallets RFID blocking now? (Score 1) 109

Why aren't standard wallets RFID blocking now? I got snagged on an out of state trip around 3 or 4 years ago. I don't know exactly how, but I assume it was someone with a scanner in the TSA line at the airport. Ever since I used one of those hard plastic RFID blocking wallets when I travel or go somewhere with long security lines. A few months ago I switched to an everyday leather RFID blocking wallet. I got one from Hammer Anvil on Amazon, but there's other brands out there too. The thing is smaller than my old leather wallet. The shielding adds almost nothing.

Question - does anyone know of a website that tests these wallets against all common credit card chip types? The hammer anvil one says it blocks a certain type of frequency, but not all RFID. I got the impression that it would block credit card chips, but maybe not building security RFID chips. But that leaves a question of whether or not they block all credit cards. I think most of the slim type wallets are the same - the shielding is thin, so it only blocks certain types.

Anyone have a definitive source for testing?

Comment Re: This is why you call your bank before tourism (Score 1) 345

Agreed. This was my very first thought. Then I read the actual article and had to laugh. At no point did he mention that he called capital one prior to making international purchases. I always do this for my card companies. I hope and expect that my credit card companies would flag every international purchase, as well as super high dollar amount store (not online) purchases in states I do not live in or visit frequently. It's desgined to detect fraud. It's not fool proof. I expect that the fraud rate for international charges is pretty high for people that travel infrequently (meaning that with a person that travels once a year or so, if there is an international charge there is a good chance that it is fraud). Why wouldn't you take the 5 minutes it takes to call in and tell them you're traveling to x country on y dates? I do this with all three of my credit card companies. It doesn't take long. I don't have capital one, but I can't imagine it's that hard.

Then he purposefully contacted capital one in a non real-time method, and lo and behold he had problems with it. He tried online chat, twitter, and maybe something else that I don't recall before finalling resorting to the only fool proof tried and true real time contact method - using a phone! Pretty novel idea for when you want assistance that you should talk to someone.

It appears that this guy either wants people to feel sorry for something he brought on himself (didn't let the company know he would be purchasing internationally), or he wants to drive hits to his blog for some ulterior motive.

He had a bad day and wants someone to feel pity for him and agree with him, and he's dragging capital one down at the same time (they did nothing wrong other than customer service was slow for the non phone options).

Comment Is this a problem? (Score 2) 79

I'm not seeing the issue with this. I read through all the replies up to now, and it appears to me that people are complaining about services they're taking for granted.
I live next to a major us city. Chicago to be specific. I order lots of things, and they get delivered very quickly. I do not have problems with prime shipments taking 4 or 5 days like a couple peoe complained about, but didn't say where they live. I purchased prime solely for the shipping bonuses.
People are complaining about shipping and comparing it to super saver, but the last time I looked there is a minimum purchase price for free super saver. With prime I can buy a single item that costs $4 and have it shipped, and I get it in a couple days. I do not have to store my purchases in a shopping cart until I have enough to qualify. The immediate shipping is the single biggest benefit.
I also cut the TV cable cord last year. I now do Netflix and prime plus plex and that's it. I use roku, and it works great! Many of the movies I could watch on amazon are also available on Netflix which is my primary TV platform, so I rarely watch stream from amazon. But comparing Netflix to amazon is not relevant. Compare amazon prime streaming to not having any streaming, and you'll see that this is a pretty huge benefit that is thrown in with the faster shipping I paid for.
I have three kindles, but I have never used their kindle book services. Maybe some of the books I read are available there, but they're also available in other places including my public library which has a method to check out kindle books.
I get no benefit from amazon music, but its fairly new and I can't hold that against them.
The original article makes it sound like people that were sharing amazon prime membership with friends are getting screwed. So what? It can be shared within a household, meaning whatever your definition of family is. If you cannot share a credit card, you're probably not family. You're basically abusing amazon prime services, and shouldn't be sharing an account.
I don't see an issue with amazon clamping down on people that are unrelated and shouldn't have been sharing a single account, and I think they provide a pretty decent value for the money. Maybe it's not a fantastic value if you only buy big ticket items that get free shipping anyway and don't use any of their streaming services, but it is a pretty good value for those of us that only buy one or two small things at a time, whenever we think about it night or day multiple times a week. We get prompt, free (prepaid) shipping on our small purchases and its awesome!

Comment Re: That sound you hear (Score 1) 297

My home server with raid 6 started having problems two weeks ago. Reseating three drives, replaced one with my only spare, and now another drive is complaining about smart errors. I dug out my insanely old iomega rev backup drive and tried to use it to take some backups and it didn't work either. I've just left the server turned off until I decide what I want to replace the drives with. They're 6-8 years old, all purchased together, and with three having problems in the same week I figure I might as well just replace everything (psu, raid, drives, etc). But I did at least try to spin up my rev drive! 70gigs on a backup drive was awesome 10 years ago.

Comment Re:T-Mobile (Score 1) 209

Your reply is intelligent, so I'll respond.

I've been with tmobile for 10 years or so. Not as long as you. I've always had an unlimited plan, or at least a plan so high that I never went over. A few years ago (3 or 4???) they called me out of the blue to tell me I was eligible for a lower rate. I peppered them with questions to figure out what the catch was. There was no catch. It was the same features I already had, for less money, and it was a permanent rate. Then, a year or two ago I dropped my rate again when I went to their new uncontract gimmick where you save $20/mo by not prepaying for a new phone that you might never upgrade to. Not to mention that the $20/mo fee is more than the cost of buying the phone contract-free. The way they marketed it was a complete gimmick. But for almost everybody you'll save money by dropping the $20/mo fee and buying your own phone. So yes, my rates were lowered multiple times while my service stayed the same.

In my case my service actually went up after dropping the rates down because now I have completely unlimited text on both lines, where before I had text blocked on my cell phone and only enabled on my wife's. I don't understand your comments about the 500 texts per month fee. Mine are unlimited. It's clearly unlimited in the US per the contract. Just like I can't expect to call Russia from my cell phone and not incur any extra charges (unless it is specifically listed in my contract). In foreign countries, you have to read the fine print to determine if they are free in that country or not. I believe this is a new feature that just started last summer, but maybe that's just when I found out about it. I was fortunate enough to travel to central Europe, and I can tell you that my texts were free, and so was my data service. I don't think I made any phone calls while I was over there, so I'm not sure if those would have been free.

I also don't understand your comments about overage fees and the unlimited data plans. T-Mobile's standard plan has unlimited data, plain and simple. They make it very clear that you only get a certain amount at LTE speed, and then any additional data is delivered at 3G. They actually make that part very clear so no-one can claim they were tricked. I pay a little extra so I can get enough LTE speed data that I never run out. But even if I didn't pay for the extra LTE, I would still have unlimited data (just at a slower speed). There are no overage charges for data, period. Data is unlimited. Speed is not. I greatly prefer to have it setup this way as I never have to worry about my bill. I'm not paying to get more data - that's a misnomer. I'm merely paying to get more data delivered at a higher speed. I'm not sure what you meant by it not applying to everyone. Maybe there's some old plans out there that cut you off at a certain amount? I have no idea.

Just to re-iterate, I have completely unlimited phone, data, and text on two lines for $80/month. I pay to get a bit more data delivered at higher speed for an extra $20/month. And, because T-Mobile is a worldwide company and not just US based, they allow us to use their services in specified foreign countries for free as long as we have the right type of phone (for the right frequencies in those countries). Not all countries are included, but where I went in Europe was.

If you're annoyed at overage fees, then get off the old grandfathered plans and get the new plan where everything is included. I thought for sure there was a downside to the new plans both times I switched, but there isn't. I buy my phones at retail prices, and I break even after less than two years (vs $20/mo). So even if I upgraded every two years I would still be saving money on these lower plans. And if I keep the phone for three years, then I'm just banking those savings to have more to put down on the next phone.

If you live and mostly stay in a major city with LTE coverage, there really isn't a downside. I've been to San Francisco, Vegas, and far outside Boston recently with no loss of coverage. It's a good deal.

Comment T-Mobile (Score 1) 209

Check out T-Mobile. I live in Chicago, and they're great. Yes, almost everyone I know uses either Verizon or AT&T. But they complain about overage charges and dropped calls. I don't have that problem.

Seemingly every year or two T-Mobile actually lowers their price. I used to pay about $150 for two lines. Now I pay $80 total for both lines, with completely unlimited voice, text, and data. They include 1GB of 4G LTE data per line per month, and then I pay an extra $10 per line per month to bump both of them up to 3GB of LTE each. But even if I used 15GB per month, I still wouldn't be charged more than the $100 ($80 + $10 + $10) that I normally pay. After I go beyond 3GB, my data speed gets dropped down to 3G. But I can continue to use as much data as I want. I just switch to wifi for data when I get home, and I have never had a problem with going over 3GB.

I traveled to another country over the summer, and I was even able to use my phone for free over there. It was awesome!

There's no downside to T-Mobile. There's no contract, no overage fees, no nonsense. If they have LTE coverage in your city, check them out.


Comment Re: Liability (Score 1) 474

This really is no big deal. I'm a Chicago customer and was initially a bit peeved when I heard about this. But then I read the actual letter. I'll paraphrase it, but as I recall it had a few specifics in it that all these fear mongering web articles are skipping.
1) It creates a new ssid on the router. That means anyone connecting is connecting outside my network.
2) They went to great pains to state that it was extremely unlikely to disrupt the service that I pay for. For instance, I have the option to pay for something like 100Mbps, but I choose a lower tier. Comcast obviously has additional bandwidth they can provide for this service. It doesn't impact the customer.
3) It also said I had the abity to disable it if I wanted to. This is the part that nobody gets. You can turn it off! Problem solved!

I left mine alone in the end. If it doesn't impact me because it's going to use untapped bandwidth that I don't pay for, and they connect through a separate ssid, then I simply don't care.

Comment Obtaining data from schools? (Score 1) 1025

I haven't decided if I think all of this stuff is sensationalism or not, but it doesn't really matter. If I ask my school for a count of the number of kids in the school that are unvaccinated, and a count for the number of kids in my kids actual classroom that are unvaccinated, first are they legally allowed to share that (anonymous) data with me, and second are they legally required to share that data with me? It seems that if there is a possibility that some moron is risking my own kids health, I should be able to find out about it.

Comment Re:I'm always happy when I have a tax liability (Score 1) 394

Really? You're so pent up that your way absolutely has to be the right way? Did you stop reading my comment before the end? Why would I have a financial advisor if I did not have substantial investments. In my case I max out my 401k, I max out my IRA's, I have monthly automatic debits that go straight to my financial advisor. And yes, I also claim far too few exemptions so too much tax is taken out of my paycheck. It works for me and for many other people. Your way works for you and for many other people. Give it a rest - your way is only best for you, not for all people. My standard financial investments lost money last year. My 401k made money last year. If I had given my extra money to my financial advisor as most people would recommend, I would have lost some of it. I ended up ahead because I chose to give the government a free loan. Too bad for me. I guess I lose. I think it's depressing that you assume your way is the only correct way because technically I am losing out on interest I could have made. But you forget to take into account that you don't always make interest every year unless you're in a fixed investment, which typically have very low interest rates. It's simply an overlooked method of diversification. You have investments in many different things in order to diversify. You also have some money in recurring CD's or something like that so you can take it out with limited penalties if necessary. You also have some money in a money market or other low interest bearing account. If you're a normal person, you also left some money out of the financial advisor's hands and in a savings account that bears extremely low interest. And then I have yet another 'savings account' that is completely out of sight for the year with the federal government that I am absolutely guaranteed to get 100% return on when I ask for it back with zero penalties. It's not a bad thing.

Comment Re:I'm always happy when I have a tax liability (Score 1, Insightful) 394

Exactly. Some of us truly understand that we are giving the government a free loan, and simply don't care. If the most I can owe the government without incurring penalties (being required to prepay quarterly the next year, and so on) is $1000, it's not beneficial to me. $1000 by 24 paychecks is $41.66. What am I going to do with $41 extra bucks per paycheck? I'm going to spend it on a few extra lunches out, or a couple Blu-Ray's, or whatever. Now, if I go the opposite way and claim far too few exemptions, I get a large tax return every spring. I can then take that rather large sum and do something useful with it. I can dump it into a Roth IRA to max out the previous year's Roth, or I can make substantial improvements to my home, get a downpayment on a car, whatever. Basically it's an interest free savings account that is completely out of sight out of mind for the entire year, and then I get a 'bonus' check every spring. My financial advisor stopped getting mad at me for it this year, because he lost me money last year due to the economy and at least I didn't lose any money on the free loan I gave to the government. I didn't gain what I cold have, but I didn't lose anything either.


RDP Proof-of-Concept Exploit Triggers Blue Screen of Death 128

mask.of.sanity writes "A working proof of concept has been developed for a dangerous vulnerability in Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). The hole stands out because many organizations use RDP to work from home or access cloud computing services. Only days after a patch was released, a bounty was offered for devising an exploit, and later a working proof of concept emerged. Chinese researchers were the first to reveal it, and security professionals have found it causes a blue screen of death in Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 machines. Many organizations won't apply the patch and many suspect researchers are only days away from weaponizing the code."

Comment Re:Day of no pay (Score 1) 337

You're not the first person posting that it was a day with no pay. I don't really understand this logic. As a salaried person, I get an annual salary, broken out into 24 pay periods and am paid on the 15th and last day of the month. Some people have 26 pay periods and are paid every two weeks, or even every week. It's an annual salary that is contractually agreed to, typically not an hourly or daily salary. By definition, with my annual salary, I am paid for every week-day that I work and even for some sick and vacation days. If I take my annual salary and divide it out into the working hours for my pay period, then it happens to be that every four years my daily/hourly salary is ever so slightly less because they pay me the same amount that year and there was an extra work day (2008 work hours that year instead of 2000). But I still got paid for the day, and I got paid at the same rate as every other day in this year.

Comment It depends on what you mean by "online" (Score 5, Insightful) 201

There are online courses, such as MIT's open courseware, and then there are online courses, such as UIUC's master of computer science. For courses that you take via Open Courseware, Kahn Academy or similar programs, I doubt your current or future employer will think much of it. For courses that you took towards a masters degree from an accredited brick-and-mortar university, on the other hand, should carry the same weight as if you attended them in person. Why? Because you are watching the same lecture that students physically present are watching.

I've been working towards my masters of science in computer science degree since 2007 (one class at a time takes forever). I started taking classes remotely at a remote television site at my employer. I later left that employer and got a job somewhere that didn't have access to those remote television sites, so I started taking the classes online. Since I started, I'm now at my third company, and all three have been more than willing to pay for my courses. In fact, that's probably the most telling point for whether anyone is going to take your courses seriously: is your company willing to pay for the classes. My advice is only take classes from a public or private university with a real physical campus, and only universities you would consider attending in person if you lived nearby.

Now, having taken courses remotely for several years, let me forewarn you about online learning:
  • -- Online classes are harder than in-person classes. "But you said it's the same class that other students are taking in person!" Yup, it is. But those students have the ability to ask a question in lecture. They get to be in the room as it's happening and can look at all the boards the prof is using. When you watch it online, you watch what the video-taper thought was most important. I can't tell you the number of times I've been staring at a slide when the prof says something like "I'm pointing at the most important aspect of this class. If you don't understand this, you won't do well. Now this other thing, don't worry about that." "Wait!" I scream at my monitor. "What are you pointing at!"
  • -- You get less attention than on-campus students. In the nine classes I've taken, I've had maybe 6 homeworks/exams returned to me. Most of those were from the same class. A guy I worked with got his MSEE from a California state school taking all courses online, and he always got his exams back, so it probably just depends on the university you attend.
  • -- Some classes will still insist on group projects. Yup, group projects suck, but they suck even more when you have no way of meeting the other students in your class. Online students are also typically students that have other lives, which is why they are taking classes online! Coordinating your schedule with theirs is challenging, as is the process of vetting a good project partner.
  • -- You may be required to physically show up to present a project. When I first started I had to take a prerequisite class that had a lab; a lab I had to drive 1 1/2 hours to attend in person, which wasn't so bad, but it would be three hours from where I live now. Take prerequisites from somewhere else if this isn't an option. My co-worker had to fly to California to take an exam. Both of these are the exception, not the rule, but be prepared for that possibility

Now going online also puts you in the driver's seat when it comes to choosing your institution. You get to pick from many more universities than are likely to be proximate to where you live. You can watch lectures multiple times, rewind to the part where the prof started speaking gibberish and watch it until you understand what the heck he's talking about. You can also choose a university where the courses are taught by professors and not TAs. I've had all of my classes taught by the professor. If you choose to pursue a degree either in person or online, good luck!

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