37 posts • joined Friday 6th June 2008 19:16 GMT
What really pisses me off about this whole mess is that even now, a full month after well publicized issues there is not a single word on the website itself about the real status of it. There are some blog entries on the front page but these are written in typical gov-speak and don't really say anything about what to expect if you are looking to register on the site or god forbid apply for insurance.
They should have a clear plain-language status, potential wait times for identity verification, eligibility check, and other slow parts of the application, and any other details that could save time and frustration for potential users. They are promoting "4 ways" to apply for coverage, however if you call the provided phone number or contact one of the 3rd party "helpers" you'll find out that they are using the same system that is broken the same way the public website is. Not sure how application "by mail" would work, might try that next.
I was not able to get a status of my application over the phone, the person who answered didn't even ask for my application ID and just told me to check back later. Guess what - a week later the status of the application still shows as "incomplete" in one place on the website, and "complete" in another. However the page that shows "complete" doesn't work - clicking on a "Continue" button doesn't do anything. How hard could it be to show a proper message if there is an issue, or just disable the damn thing if it's not working - why have users banging at it?
Unfortunately that's how the whole site seems to be developed - a mess of incoherent links and buttons, no error handling whatsoever, sprinkled with typical bureaucratic nonsense (six or seven clicks to confirm that my 11-month old makes $0 per year). At least they made it enormously bloated aka "touch friendly" so that fondleslab users could enjoy the same level of waste, incompetence, and stupidity.
Apologies to the US government
I made four of those six registrations. Please delete the following accounts:
You can leave this one, I have finally been able to log in with it:
"Shirley, no one's given a license to drive a car without being able to perform at least BASIC maintenance on it"
I hope you are being sarcastic. Obtaining a DL here in PA entails 1) answering test questions like "what is this octagonal sign with STOP on it?" 2) driving around a parking lot and maybe around a block if the DMV person is feeling adventurous, and 3) parking the vehicle in a school-bus-sized spot. If they started asking maintenance questions we would have a 90% failure rate and that would be bad for business. Same reason why there can't be any tests to qualify for owning a gun, let alone a computer or a phone.
Re: Turn of all electronic devices
Being an apple user, the pasenger didn't have the brains to understand the safety announcement, "All electronic devices turned off until inside the airport building!!!!"
Where in the article does it say that the phone was on? And how turning it off would have prevented the screw from puncturing and shorting the battery?
Re: What a pile of BS
Really? As an app developer I don't see how you could write malware for iDevices. All of the file system, process, and IPC APIs are completely locked down. Please help cure my startling ignorance and let me know how someone can write malware for iOS.
You are making a dangerous assumption that malware developers are dumb enough to download Apple's SDK, look at all the restrictions and give up because "it's so secure must be impossible".
Besides there are plenty of nasty things you can do within the sandbox given sufficiently stupid wetware.
Must be a typo
Surely they meant to name it HD 1080p
If Apple's SIM needing a bit of plastic to work in a non-Apple phone is ok, then I don't see why Nokia couldn't come up with an adapter to make their new SIM compatible with old slots. Contacts being in different places is not a problem. Think microSD-to-SD adapter.
Re: The CDMA phones in the states
It's easy to swap to another CDMA phone from the same carrier - can be done online or via phone. However it's pretty much impossible to get them to activate a CDMA phone from another carrier. I.e. forget about bringing a Sprint phone to Verizon, or even a Virgin Mobile (Sprint MVNO) phone to Sprint. But then again, we also have permanently locked GSM handsets that the carrier will refuse to unlock even after the contract runs out, and also prepaid GSM SIM cards that are locked to phones they are sold with (this was a very unpleasant surprise to me when I picked up a cheap prepaid phone+SIM at Wally World). So CDMA is not a prerequisite to being screwed by the oligopoly that we have here.
Of all the evil US telcos AT&T is probably the worst. This T-Mobile merger would have been a disaster. I've been with tmo for 5 or 6 years now and surprisingly (or perhaps not) my monthly costs are still about half of what it would be with AT&T or Verizon. Granted the network is weak, but being able to use my phone in my basement is not worth the insane monthly costs.
The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.
What a damning evidence. But I think Hirai's letter to the Congress would have been much more fun to read if the hackers left a file named "Superman". Or "Geronimo".
Bank of Unicorns
"Seriously, if that is what your internet banking is like then change banks. With my bank I can do account transfers and payments immediately - and they are immediate, most of the time less than 10 minutes.
To pay someone else I just need their sort code and account number. Easy!"
And that magical bank of yours is ... ? I have a feeling there is a bit of a geographical misunderstanding here (US vs UK).
What online services?
How about first implementing these "online services" properly. Most local governments don't accept online tax payments and those that do will charge you a "convenience" fee... seriously, they'd rather have me send them a check than have money deposited straight into their account. Even the federal government doesn't allow to file the tax return online without paying a 3rd party for the privilege (and even that doesn't work in many cases if you need some non-standard attachments). There are some exceptions, e.g. my state accepts vehicle registration fees online without a surcharge, but those are few and far between.
Don't even get me started on the abysmal state of online banking. 3 days to transfer money from bank to bank and that's between your own accounts. No way to pay someone else directly - have to send a check.
In case someone's wondering what a check (cheque) is - it's a piece of paper with your bank account number on it. Your bank account number is supposed to be kept secret because anyone who knows it can pull money from it. See the slight issue here?
I'd say IDs are the least of our problems.
letters and/or digits
To be fair, the Hong Kong based seller gave me a refund, which I really didn't expect! I think he was probably sold a dodgy batch himself.
More likely they do it knowingly because they make money even if they have to refund half of their buyers (or however many bother to raise issue). Fortunately it's becoming increasingly difficult to sustain a "business" like that on eBay, but it's rampant on sites like aliexpress.
BTW, if such an issue needs to be disputed via eBay/PayPal/etc, make very clear that the item is counterfeit. If reported merely "not as described", buyer may be required to return it with tracking at his/her expense, which will cost more than the item itself.
Montana and Idaho
Not that I condone firearms as freebies, but you have to understand the size and diversity of the USA. Even one of the store owners admits that "this isn't New York City". If this was happening in Connecticut it might be newsworthy, but in Montana and Idaho gun ownership is close to 60% anyway.
I hope this gets blocked by the FCC (yeah right)
T-Mobile is the only carrier offering a decent PAYG service with no strings attached. That will most likely be dead after the merger. They will probably "grandfather" contracts, but prepaid users are screwed.
Printing to PDF...
... can be easily done with Chrome by using a pseudo-printer driver (I'm using PrimoPDF). That doesn't solve my problem though, because IE (and FireFox when it's in a good mood) allows to see the printout and ADJUST it before printing, e.g. see if it fits into a certain number of pages and scale if necessary, move margins around, add/remove headers and footers. Not so easy to do with a PDF.
I understand the excitement of cloudiness, but how about implementing Print Preview, and customized headers/footers for those who sometimes need hard copies of the cloud? These are the only features forcing me to use IE occasionally (FireFox messed up printing in the last beta too).
Poor choice of quotes
"malicious code may be executed when the user clicks the displayed icon of a specially crafted shortcut"
Well that wouldn't be much of an exploit, would it?
The user does not have to CLICK the icon, merely view the folder containing the shortcut (or have the icon loaded in many other ways Windows loads icons). Apparently if the shortcut gets its icon from a resource within a DLL, it is possible to have Windows automatically run initialization code of that DLL.
... is a clue only for the inhabitants of the right side of the pond. There, now you have a clue about how to use a clue.
Maserati must be doing really bad...
... if even with a free meal the test drives attracted only 4 people. Maybe they could try this promotion with more success a few miles south of San Diego.
Cloudy, as in "shady"
Carbonite is high on my list of "never do business with" outfits. Their client software was pretty lame, no diagnostic/debugging tools of any sort and very limited control. The automatic file monitoring did not work on folder-mounted NTFS volumes and it took me two weeks of frustrating communication with their customer service to realize that they are useless. I had to send an angry e-mail to the CEO to get my money back. That was a year ago though, might be different now, i.e. they might be ignoring CEO's e-mails now :-)
Re: of course @asdf
Funny how interweb comments work. You don't have to let facts get in your way. The only hope is that maybe you are being sarcastic and by "government sponsored monopolies" you mean US telecoms that squandered billions of taxpayer dollars and by "nationwide coverage" you mean top 50 markets or whatever PR speak they use. Yes, there are unlimited 3G plans (I have one for $20/month), but pretty much useless outside of big cities. I miss my 30-euro unlimited plan I had in Europe 2 years ago and multiple competing carriers that I could switch between while keeping my phone. Try going between Sprint and AT&T or even between Sprint and Verizon (same tech, should be easy, right?) without signing a 2 year deal "short of performing felatio on the right people".
OpenVPN is one of the very few free software applications that I have donated money to. It has saved me so much travel expense and time and frustration with other VPN products. And to all you whining about it being too complex or duplicating what's available via SSL/Citrix/Win2008 and what not... I doubt there is anything close to OpenVPN's price/features ratio, including the cost of time needed to set it up (it's a one-time expense anyway - once you've done it you know it). Cross-platform support, all sorts of authentication and encryption options, extensive debugging options, stability and speed, etc.
"Nokia includes a six-month licence for its Drive and Walk step-by-step navigation package"
What happens after six months? Does it just stop updating the maps or does it stop working at all and requires to pay to extend the subscription? The sad thing is that it's very likely that such bait&switch phones will eventually push the cheap dedicated satnav devices out of the market. Same thing that happened with PDAs - why would you need one if your phone does everything? Except that you have to pay subscription fees for the privilege to squint at the small screen.
What a pile of rubbish. Where does this (p)review show that Nano is twice as fast as Atom? What are the specs of the test system - memory, hard drive(s), power supply? What did you do to it to push it to 80W? I can do 80W with a 45W dual-core AMD (under $100 including mATX mobo, miniITX might be more expensive), 1GB DDR2 and a "green" Caviar, so either the Nano, or the review is full of crap.
Bay Area city of Pittsburgh
Spelling Police will be knocking on your door shortly. There is only one Pittsburgh with an "h" and it's not in Bay Area.
I suspect an Estonian conspiracy here
Lithuanians don't need visas to work in the UK. Not that it stopped them before though.
I'd say this is a lame story as far as Lithuanians are concerned. It completely tarnished the image of cannibalistic criminal alcoholics roaming the EU. I mean what's up with that guy - lost his job, started gardening for free, was co-operative with the police? I'd be relieved to find out that the Telegraph and the police mixed something up and he's in fact an Estonian.
LCD vs CRT
LCDs do NOT consume less power than CRTs. Maybe comparing 15" LCD monitors to 15" CRTs (anyone remember those?) started this legend but that is not true anymore. My 21" CRT TV was 60W, now I have a 32" LCD that uses 90W at half-backlight and 150W at full. And I'm pretty sure most people who "upgrade" their "tubes" go up a few inches on the screen size at the same time, so forget about any energy savings. And it's only going to get worse with LCDs as they get bigger (52" - 300W).
@Ways to combat fraud
David, none of your suggestions address the actual problem. And most of what you are suggesting is implemented, but alerts after the fact don't really solve the problem, and delivery address restrictions depend on millions of merchants cooperating. Additional authorization in the form of "Verified by Visa", and whatever the MasterCard equivalent is, also exists, but is optional and again depends on everyone cooperating.
The main problem the way I see it is allowing PULL money from your account, instead of PUSHING money to someone's account. Credit cards, as well as the moronic personal checks and ACH transfers here in the merkin land, are based on two conflicting conditions: you have to give out your account number to be able to pay someone, and at the same time the account number has to remain secret for it to be secure. It should be the other way around - by knowing an account number you should only be able to transfer money INTO it, not OUT of it. Think PayPal - while not exactly an example of a fraud-proof bank, they got at least the push/pull part right.
Any real improvement in credit card security would require something radical, like making the "Verified by Visa" mandatory. Not going to happen, as it would cut off many merchants and card holders. Remember, Visa and MasterCard are public companies now, so profits above all.
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