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Comment Re:homeowner fail (Score 2) 536

What does a "win" at the BBB give you? They're not a government agency. The worst they can do is take away Comcast's BBB accreditation or A+ rating.

Not that BBB complaints are useless—I used them with Blue Cross once, and it allowed me to get in touch with a different department of the company that was able to resolve my claims. However, the BBB itself had no real power to help me.

Comment Re:Useful lifetime (Score 1) 189

Buildings have a useful lifetime, and become prohibitively expensive... obsolete plumbing, electrical, heating cooling, insulation.

Those things can all be upgraded. Within the past few years, I've upgraded all of those systems in my century-old house to modern standards, spending orders of magnitude less than we would have to construct a new house of comparable finish and quality.

All mechanical systems have lifespans far shorter than the structures themselves. Even copper or plastic pipes will fail with time. Repair is almost always cheaper than tearing down and rebuilding.

Comment Re:Modern Technology (Score 5, Insightful) 189

What basis do you have for the claim that we "couldn't even begin to recreate" those structures? There are certainly some ancient structures for which we haven't figured out how they were constructed with the technology available at the time, but nothing that we couldn't reproduce with today's technology.

The sticking point isn't technology—it's economics. A large portion of recent development has been around cost-effectiveness. This is why we're able to have so many more material possessions, even in the face of stagnant wages (for most classes). Of course, many (including myself) would argue that we've gone too far in this direction at the expense of durability, but that's an economic choice we've made. Look hard enough, and you can find any product that meets your durability specifications—if you're willing to pay the higher price.

That being said, I do agree with the sentiment that there is more than survivor bias at work. My house was built in 1916, and has an unusually open floor plan for its age. Lacking CAD, the builders accomplished this by massively overbuilding—the floor joists (with are already quite thick) rest on beams comprised of four 2x10's laminated together. Despite its age, this house feels more solid than just about any other wood-framed building I've been in. I have no doubt that if it were placed alongside a newly-constructed house and both left to nature, that the 99-year-old house would remain intact longer.

Comment Re:Some Sense Restored? (Score 5, Insightful) 522

The problem with supporting multiple init systems is that each package that provides a daemon needs to support all of them. A traditional init script is just a shell script, while upstart and systemd have their own formats. You could write software to convert an upstart or systemd script to a shell script, but there would likely be cases where it wouldn't be easy to translate automatically.

With filesystems, applications don't need to know anything about what's mounted how and where—you could mount /var on a btrfs partition on LVM2, /home over NFS, /tmp on an ext2 ramdisk, /usr on a read-only CD-ROM, /etc on a floppy... and everything would just work (albeit slowly because of some of my hypothetical choices).

Comment Re:No (Score 2) 381

The smart watches I've seen aren't meant to be used independently - they're used in conjunction with a smartphone. I'm not sure I want one, but I can see the appeal of - you can read a text, see who's calling, and perform simple functions without pulling out your phone.

Comment Re:What "real cause"? (Score 3, Interesting) 307

If you step on the brake it will overcome the accelerator every time no matter how hard you rev the engine.

I have a counterexample:

5-6 years ago, I was driving my wife's 1997 Ford Taurus when the accelerator pedal stuck to the floor. I pressed the break as hard as I could (both feet and as much of my 220 pound weight that I could put on it from a seated position), but we continued to accelerate. Thankfully, I was able to put the car in neutral before we crashed into anything. I coasted to the center turn lane, put on the e-brake, and sat there calming down, with the engine redlining until I shut it off.

I know with 100% certainty that I wasn't pressing the wrong pedal - the accelerator was still stuck to the floor after I got help from a cop to push the car into a parking lot. This was a mechanical issue (not many manufacturers were doing drive-by-wire throttle back in 1997); the engine had just been rebuilt, and the shop must have reinstalled the cable incorrectly - among other things they screwed up.

This car was fairly old (probably 130k miles at that point), but the brakes were well-maintained, and they were four-wheel disc.

You might be right for some - perhaps most - instances, but not 100%, as my experience proves.

Comment Re:WTF Is A "Feature Phone"? (Score 1) 243

As for programming software for one - don't bother. There's so many variants that it's easier to aim for an Android or iOS.

Also, there's no money there. The people that own feature phones have them because they either can't afford a smartphone, or they don't want to learn how to use one. Neither market segment is particularly prone to purchasing apps, and they're not as valuable to advertisers.

Comment Re:Don't the subscribers get to choose? (Score 1) 154

I'm sure that the TOS offers a way for this to happen outside of the customers' control. Even if not, they could just say, "Sorry, Mr. Comcast Customer, we're not longer servicing your address. If you would like to continue receiving cable service, please sign up with SpinCo."

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