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Comment Re:Wrong Solution (Score 0) 251

140Mandak262Jamuna : "Ph D in STEM can already do that. Science Tech Engg and Math grads can jus apply for green card based on their degree. No employer sponsorship is needed. No offer of employment is needed."

Your display name suggests that you attended IIT-Madras and you must be familiar with US immigration rules. The only conclusion I can draw is that the above sentence was employed to exhibit your skills at sarcasm. For other folks reading this, the OP is referring in particular to two categories of EB-1 green card application:
1. "Outstanding professor/researcher": I got my green card in this category and the whole process took a grand total of 1 year and 4 months. You need an employer to sponsor your green card in this category. Other people have correctly pointed out how painful it can be collecting all the reference letters. Ironically, a fucking cock-sucker ..err.. I mean .. lawyer got paid while I went around doing the leg work.
2."national interest waiver": If "outstanding researcher" was hard, I can only imagine how much more difficult this can be. This category does not need a sponsor. Anyone who even suggests that this is a viable route for anyone with a STEM PhD is either smoking something really good or is a liberal-art major flipping burgers at MacDonalds.


Submission + - Don't Blame China For Security Hacks, Blame Yourself (informationweek.com)

kierny writes: Chinese APT attacks are the information security version of the Kardashians: Quick to gain news attention, but otherwise vapid, says John Pescatore, director of emerging security at the SANS Institute. Cue hype over "the Chinese are coming!":

Clearly, the panic button has been pushed. But as happens too often with outbreaks of sudden or uncontrolled anxiety, it misses the point: Don't worry about China. Worry instead if the pitiful state of your information security defenses will allow any attacker to wield nothing more than malicious email attachments to steal valuable intellectual property or even state secrets.

Submission + - How million-dollar frauds turned photo conservation into a mature science (acs.org)

carmendrahl writes: "Photos used to be second-class citizens in the art world, not considered as prestigious as paintings or sculpture. But that changed in the 1990s. As daguerrotypes and the like started selling for millions of dollars, fakes also slipped in. Unfortunately, the art world didn't have good ways of authenticating originals.
Cultural heritage researchers had to play catch-up, and quickly. Two fraud cases, one involving avant garde photographer Man Ray, turned photo conservation from a niche field into a mature science. And today eBay plays an important role in helping ferret out the frauds."

Comment Tmobile $2 Talk, Text, 2G plan (Score 0) 246

I'm currently on T-Mobile's $2 per day plan. You pay $2 for unlimited talk, text and 2G browsing only on days you use the phone. It doesn't matter how much you talk, text or browse. For 3G, the same plan will cost you $3 per day. On an average, I spend about $10 per month. I bought the Samsung Galaxy Nexus directly from Google last summer for $400. The phone does support T-mobile's 3-G plan but my mobile data connection is almost always turned off (wifi at work and home). A couple of things to note:

1. I use Google Voice and forward calls to my work and home numbers along with my cell phone. Since most of my calls are answered at home or at work, it works out just fine for me. Even otherwise $2 per day = 20 minutes of talk time at 10cents/minute (T-Mobile's per minute rate for other pre-paid plans).
2. Regarding expiry, I think it is 90 days. I add $10-20 whenever I get their SMS about my plan expiring. Even if it does expire, I'll just throw away that SIM and get a new one. My cell phone number would change but no one would notice (I use GV for call forwarding).
3. At home I have a Voip.ms line with unlimited incoming minutes. I pay $7.50 a month for that. So overall (T-mobile + Voip.ms), it works out to about $17.50 ($10 + $7.50) per month. I use GV to place outgoing calls when I'm at home or work (Talkatone-over-wifi or callback to my home/work number). Thanks to Google for keeping that free so far.

Comment Competition does wonders (Score 0) 397

I had been subscribing to Comcast's Digital Starter Package + Comcast's slowest and cheapest internet package and had been paying $92+fees+taxes every month. Once Verizon FIOS came to my apartment complex and after the following strongly worded email (reproduced in its entirety for your reading pleasure), that came down to $65+fees+taxes per month.

Doreen Vigue,
Vice President, Public Relations,
Eastern Mass, New Hampshire and Maine.

Rick Germano,
Senior Vice President of Customer Operations.

Bob Sullivan,
Journalist and NY-Times best selling author,
Author of "Gotcha Capitalism"
(Bob, I was in the middle of reading your book yesterday)


Before I go into the details of why I'm sending out this email, please allow me get a few of the logistical things out of the way:

Comcast Account number: ***
Home/Service/Billing address: ***

I have been a Comcast cable customer since Mar-2006 and a Comcast internet subscriber since Jan-2010. Apart from the perpetually lingering feeling of overpaying for the services that I subscribe to, I have not had any occasion to be seriously unhappy with the service. To be fair, the latter part could easily be attributed to the low expectations that I had to begin with.
It was against this backdrop that a few weeks back, I received the joyful news of my apartment complex getting wired up for Verizon FIOS. Even though Verizon took almost 8 months (from start to finish) to achieve that feat, it was truly a moment of great thanksgiving and rejoicing. Comcast finally had competition! Almost immediately, I started getting phone calls from Verizon touting the virtues of FIOS and why I should switch. Each time, I nonchalantly brushed off their overtures mainly due to my complete aversion to sales pitches. I believe that I'm intelligent enough to make a decision for myself without being prodded by sales people who have only their interest in mind.
This weekend I finally decided to find out for myself whether switching to FIOS was actually worth it and how much money I would save (or spend) in the process. I went to the FIOS availability webpage and entered my home address (mentioned at the beginning of this email). I had done that a few times last year and each time was disappointed to learn that the only option available was Verizon's "cutting-edge" DSL service. So this time, when the word "FIOS" flashed on the results screen, my joy knew no bounds. The cheapest option presented to me was this:

Verizon FIOS TV Prime HD (with 40+ HD channels)
Verizon FIOS Internet up to 15Mbps(Download)/5Mbps(Upload)
with a two-year agreement plan,
Monthly charges:
Months 1-6 : $80.98 (excluding fees, taxes, etc)
Months 7-24: $90.98 (excluding fees, taxes, etc)
Monthly charge WITHOUT any lock-in contract : $100.98

It would only be fair to mention what I'm currently paying Comcast each month and what I'm getting (or rather, not getting) for my money's worth:
(Also see my most recent bill from Comcast attached to this email)

Comcast Digital Starter Package (Xfinity TV)
Comcast Economy Internet (Xfinity internet) 1Mbps(Download)/350Kbps(Upload) -> The internet speeds are NOT typos.
Monthly charge (WITHOUT any contract): $92.05 (excluding fees, taxes, franchise-related cost, etc)

I decided that I really had to call Comcast and confront them with this new reality. Not doing so would only question my sanity, intelligence and financial prudence. My first step was the "online-chat" feature with Comcast's customer service department. The reason why I prefer this to calling them is that I actually have a complete transcript of the conversation (attached to this email). I do believe that the customer service representative tried his best but was most likely not authorized to make changes to my cable+internet service. He gave me a 1-800 number and asked me call their "Customer Loyalty Department".

My next step obviously was to call that 1-800 number I was asked to call. After talking to the first customer service rep and mentioning the newly available FIOS service, I was forwarded to another one. The second person identified himself as Nelson and on my asking provided his customer service ID: APS. I asked him specifically if 'APS' was his customer service ID and whether there were numbers following that. He confirmed that those three letter were indeed his ID (I somehow find that a bit hard to believe). Nelson initially was under the impression that I wanted to cancel my service. I soon disabused him of that notion and read out the actually monthly charges from Verizon's webpage for their FIOS service at my home address. I told him very clearly that I would stick with Comcast if they lowered my monthly charges OR upgraded me to a faster internet speed with no increase in my monthly charges. His response to either of my requests were a quick "NO". He also added that I could, for additional monthly charges, get upgraded to a faster internet speed.

There was a pregnant pause on the line when I asked him "Isn't it cheaper for me to just switch to FIOS?".

His reply was "But our service is better"! I asked him in what way was it better. He again repeated that sentence, this time adding that they have been doing it for 50 years (I'm not sure if I heard 50 or 15). I sat there in stunned disbelief wondering whether such a hollow, meaningless and trite remark is the best Comcast can come up with in response to competition. Or does that reply just smack of hubris that such large corporations are used to?

My sole intention in spending more than an hour putting together this email is to enlighten the upper-level executives with the stark realties of competition on the ground. If their only response to good-natured competition is uttering platitudes and cliches (or renaming everything to Xfinity), it does not really bode well for the company and reflects very poorly on the executives running the company.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Want to Eat Chocolate Every Day For a Year? 158

Scientists from the University of East Anglia are studying the potential health benefits of dark chocolate, and need 40 female volunteers who would like to eat chocolate every day for a year. The chocolate loving 40 must be post-menopausal and have type 2 diabetes so it can be determined if the flavonoid compounds in chocolate can reduce the risk of heart disease. Dr Peter Curtis, of the UEA's School of Medicine, said, "Our first volunteers are about to return for their final visit to see if the markers of heart health - such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels — have changed. A successful outcome could be the first step in developing new ways to improve the lives of people at increased risk of heart disease."

Comment Re:How is appel fourmed? (Score 0) 402

They need to do way instain doner> who spilt thar libres. becaise these bibers cabt fight back it was on the news this mronign a boss in memps who had bight on his liber. They ar had him company for two month and back for new liber. Only just now the talm abiyt it! Probly even deed alraidy!

Did you use an iPhone to send that?

Comment Re:Your tax dollars at work (Score 0) 383

Indeed. The same sort of people gave us the "USA PATRIOT" acronym, the "Internet SAFETY" acronym, and some day soon, no doubt, the "PIRATES ARE EVIL" acronym

Prosecution and Incarceration by RIAA of A$$holes Torrenting Expensive Songs by employing Absolutely Reprehensible and Extremely Expensive, Vigilant and Intelligent Lawyers.

... there you go. You asked for it.

Comment Re:There is no problem (Score 0) 859

Can you explain this a little more for a non-electrical engineer?

Assuming you have basic math skills, the "real" power consumed by a device (what you are billed for every month) = V*I*cos(theta), where

V -> voltage across the device
I -> current drawn by the device
theta -> phase difference between voltage and current
cos(theta) -> power factor

For an ideal resistor, "theta" is zero. Hence power-consumed = V*I.
Utilities are required to maintain a minimum power-factor and hence the bitching.

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