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Comment Re:I hope this actually puts some pressure .... (Score 1) 262

I agree that 31 pages for a 99c app is retarded, or at the very least suspicious. An executive summary of sorts that plain-Englishes the key points that you actually need to know really wouldn't be too much too ask in that case.

My experience with mobile phone T&Cs on the other hand has generally been pretty straightforward - for example, here shows "included data" telling you exactly how much Youtubing you can get away with, and the "additional data charges" under "more details" shows what'll happen after that. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect customers to understand at least that much.

Comment Re:I hope this actually puts some pressure .... (Score 1) 262

As a teenager I cost my father a few $300+ dialup bills before I convinced him that switching to a $25 unlimited plan was a far superior choice to just yelling at me.

While I agree that corporate malpractice - price-gouging, fraudulent representation etc. - is both rampant and inexcusable, I've been jaded by working in helpdesk and customer support roles. I was constantly astounded by people who treated the (temporary, fixable) malfunction of their broadband/TV/MP3 player/DVR/shaver as an egregious betrayal and insult, and incontrovertible evidence of deliberate and personally directed malice. Consequently I have limited sympathy for people who fall into the sorts of traps that could be avoided by 5 minutes of glancing over the features and pricing information of a phone plan before they signed up, or at least googling for a review by someone who already had.

I think there needs to be a new formal logical fallacy (logicians, feel free to correct me if there's an obvious existing one that covers this) - the Appeal to Complexity (or perhaps Clarke's Third Fallacy): where an argument assumes that any system (especially technological or contractual) whose complexity exceeds the arguer's understanding has implicit benevolent, magical or infallible properties.

Comment Re:My longest-surviving peripheral (Score 1) 507

I already had a spare wireless mouse that I'd rescued from work as a backup, and I don't yet own any of my own soldering tools (although it's just a matter of time now that I've started playing with Arduino boards). I think I'm going to pull out the Dremel and make a set of memorial dogtags out of each layer of mouse.

Comment My longest-surviving peripheral (Score 1) 507

The first computer mouse I ever bought for myself in 2001 finally lost its marbles a month or two ago, alternating between intermittent unresponsiveness and randomly darting the cursor off in various directions with a slew of phantom middle- and right-clicks, enough to crash browser windows that had the misfortune to find themselves caught in its path of destruction.

In the last month or two it forfeited Scrabble games, wrecked unsaved paragraphs of my resume, opened and changed system settings and made a right senile nuisance of itself. Before that, however, it stuck with me through eight jobs, seven houses, four PCs, three long-term relationships and, at a rough guess, well over ten thousand hours of use.

So thank you little mouse, you did well. Rest in peace.

Comment Medieval surgical implements? (Score 1) 615

Having trouble tracking them down again but I've seen photos of a medical device that was essentially a concave hemispherical head on the end of a small pump, that was used to correct vision for a few hours at a time by suctioning the eyeball into shape. I'm pretty certain they're no longer in use.

Comment Re:Rear touch pad (Score 1) 244

The point of a rear touchpad (and this has been talked about hypothetically for PDAs/smartphones for ages without any actual results AFAIK) is that you have all the benefits of a touchscreen without obscuring your vision of the thing you're touching. It's less of an issue with resistive screens because a stylus is pretty skinny but anyone who's played a game (or typed for that matter) with thumbs on a capacitive screen has experienced the frustration of mistakes made because they can't see what they're doing.

I don't own an i/Android phone yet although I'm sure I will eventually, but my hands are freaking huge and the few times I've had to send sms from a friend's phone have proven frustrating at best. It appears I'm not the only one. A rear touchpad means a clear view of the screen at all times, which will make it a hell of a lot easier to see what you're doing, and to do it accurately.

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