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Comment Re:All student loans are sketchy (Score 3, Interesting) 81

I really hate the for-profit servicers as well. "Obtuse" is a polite term for them. I really miss when my loan was serviced directly by the Department of Education.

To deal with this kind of issue (I had this with Verizon), I encode my payment amount so I can know what's paid and when. For example, let's say the actual amount due is $253.12. I'll put the month as the last dollars and the cents for the day. So making that payment on June 4th, I'd actually pay $256.04. A payment on July 3rd would be $257.03. So even if they don't post it to my account for 2 months, I know which payment it was.

Next, use your bank/credit-union's bill pay to send payments so you have an audit-trail. NEVER let them draft from your account - it's just not worth the .25% rate break.

Lastly, if they're servicing federal loans and still jerking you around, write to your senators and congresspeople. They have staff who are good at helping un-f*ck bureaucratic organizations.

Submission + - Adblock Plus Offers Workaround To block Facebook Ads Again 1

An anonymous reader writes: On Tuesday, Facebook announced it will begin showing ads in desktop browsers “for people who currently use ad blocking software.” Adblock Plus, the most popular ad blocking tool with over 500 million downloads, responded the same day by calling the move “a dark path against user choice.” Today, just two days later, Adblock Plus is offering a workaround that users can implement themselves now, and which will automatically take effect for all users in “a couple of days.”

Comment Re:Why do I need cloud for my Office? (Score 1) 144

However for Office Tools I see no real benefit.

I generally agree with this - I really prefer to work offline and have my documents stored locally. However, in a couple of my classes, teams of students often use the online Google Docs. The main benefit here is that multiple people can synchronously edit the document. It's weird to watch, but it's particularly helpful during online meetings where we're working together on a document. The changes are made live and any of us can make the changes. Or when working on a presentation, we can all be working on the same document but different slides.

In this case it's better than "Great, I'll make those changes and email the updated copy to everyone by the end of the day."

Comment EMV Stinks in the US (Score 1) 225

They might be great in Europe but they're really badly done here in the US.

The new terminals are just plain slow. Even without the chip, it often takes over a minute to approve the transaction, and (unlike before) you can't swipe the card and put it away until the checker has completed scanning all the items. More than once, I've just left a pile of bagged goods at the counter because the thing didn't work at all.

So I have simply stopped shopping at places that require the chip. Amazon ships most non-food things I need and I just pay cash at the grocery store.

Make these work at least as fast as the old way, and not require me to leave the stupid card in the terminal, and I'll consider going back to those shops. Otherwise, I'll probably just spend less; great for me, less so for the retailers and the economy.

Submission + - Google Opens Access To Its Speech Recognition API, Goes Head To Head With Nuance (

An anonymous reader writes: Google is planning to compete with Nuance and other voice recognition companies head on by opening up its speech recognition API to third-party developers. To attract developers, the app will be free at launch with pricing to be introduced at a later date. The company formally announced the service today during its NEXT cloud user conference, where it also unveiled a raft of other machine learning developments and updates, most significantly a new machine learning platform. The Google Cloud Speech API, which will cover over 80 languages and will work with any application in real-time streaming or batch mode, will offer full set of APIs for applications to "see, hear and translate," Google says. It is based on the same neural network tech that powers Google's voice search in the Google app and voice typing in Google's Keyboard. Google's move will have a large impact on the industry as a whole — and particularly on Nuance, the company long thought of as offering the best voice recognition capabilities in the business, and most certainly the biggest offering such services.

Submission + - Pornhub Unveils Free VR Porn Channel (

An anonymous reader writes: Big-name pornography website Pornhub has partnered with BadoinkVR, an earl mover and shaker in VR porn, to launch a new section dedicated to immersive adult videos, aka VR porn. "Virtual reality is the next phase in the constantly metamorphosing world of adult entertainment, and will provide users with a mesmeric experience unlike anything they've seen before," Pornhub Vice President Corey Price said in a press release. "Now, our users are not only able to view our content, but be protagonists in the experience and interact with their favorite porn stars." The videos are roughly five-minute-long trailers designed to hook you on the VR porn experience. If you want the full videos, you'll need to sing up for a subscription with BadoinkVR itself, which will unlock the service's full adult-video selection starting at $20 per month. Pornhub is giving away 10,000 free pairs of branded Google Cardboard VR glasses if you are interested in trying out the experience but lack a VR headset.

Submission + - OLO, World's First Portable 3D Printer Prints On Top Of Smartphones (

MojoKid writes: The OLO 3D Printer was first announced in October at the World Maker Faire in New York, where it earned itself an Editor's Choice award and accolades. The developers behind OLO call it a "smartphone 3D printer" as it requires a smartphone to operate. Designs can either be downloaded from the Internet from the device, or copied over from a computer once it's created. When placed on a desk, the OLO looks like an inconspicuous little box, but inside, it can craft items up to 400 cm3 in volume. Its developers call the OLO "portable", and it has the specs to match at 1.7lbs with a physical size of only 6.8" x 4.5" x 5.8." OLO is a unique printer not only because of its small form factor and low price point ($99), but because of its operation. Once the 3D model is loaded, the bottom section of OLO can be placed on top of your phone, and then the resin of your choice is poured inside that structure. You then place the top half of OLO on top and wait a few hours for it to do its thing. The resin hardens by using the light emitted from the smartphone it sits on top of, generated from the OLO app.

Comment Re:Hmmm .... (Score 1) 100

There likely are specific laws, likely related to holocaust and Armenian genocide denial and such, that would allow a group like the Sikhs to sue a US firm that aids and abets such calumnies.

Considering the 1980s attack on the Sikh ethnic group by Hindis was a well organized and deliberate attempt at genocide, I would suggest that they have a good case.

More personally - Zuckerberg you goddamn moral coward, if Facebook doesn't support groups like this, it serves no useful purpose other than data mining and privacy undermining.

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The means-and-ends moralists, or non-doers, always end up on their ends without any means. -- Saul Alinsky