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Comcast Tells Customer The Only Reason He’s Getting Bogus Charges Refunded Is Because He Recorded Call

Posted on August 11th, 2014 at 20:59 by John Sinteur in category: News


When Davis asks why she couldn’t simply do that during the earlier call, her explanation is enough to make you pound your head through a wall in frustration.

“We try to negotiate, and again, that is a valid charge,” she answers. “But since I advised my manager that there is a recording and you were misinformed, then she’s the one who can approve that $82.”

Seemingly flabbergasted, Davis asks to confirm, “You’re telling me that if I didn’t have a recording of that call, you wouldn’t have been able to do it?”

“Yes, that is correct,” answers the rep, confirming that the only way to get Comcast to erase a bogus charge from your account is to have recorded evidence that you were promised in advance that the call would be free.

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Bundesregierung Aufdeckung aller Agenten in Deutschland

Posted on August 11th, 2014 at 17:22 by John Sinteur in category: News


Die Bundesregierung erhöht den Druck auf ausländische Nachrichtendienste, ihre Aktivitäten in Deutschland offenzulegen. Nach Informationen von SPIEGEL ONLINE drängt das Auswärtige Amt (AA) alle ausländischen Botschaften auf offiziellem diplomatischen Weg, ihr gesamtes Geheimdienstpersonal zu benennen.

Konkret fordert eine bereits am Mittwoch versandte Verbalnote, dass alle Staaten, einschließlich der internationalen Partner, Listen mit den Namen aller aktiven Agenten vorlegen sollen. Ausdrücklich sind Konsulate, Kulturinstitute und auch Geheimdienstler miteingeschlossen. Die Bundesregierung erwarte nun, dass die Note “von allen angeschriebenen Vertretungen beantwortet” werde, hieß es im AA.

Berlin drängt mit dem ungewöhnlichen Schritt auf mehr Transparenz für die in Deutschland tätigen ausländischen Geheimdienste. Im Ministerium von Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) heißt es diplomatisch, Ziel des Vorstoßes sei es, zwischen der Bundesregierung und den Botschaften “einen gemeinsamen Sachstand” herzustellen. Tatsächlich aber belegt die provokante Bitte die deutsche Frustration über das Treiben der ausländischen Nachrichtendienste. Vor allem die konstante Weigerung des Partners USA, Berlin zumindest das offizielle Personal der CIA, NSA oder des Militärgeheimdienstes offenzulegen, sorgt in der Regierung für Ärger.

It does sound like they plan to perform a comprehensive cross checking between what embassies are willing to report, what they already know for certain, and what they have evidence to suggest may be incorrect. And draw conclusions over which countries are friendly or hostile..

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  1. A rational attempt to try to avoid embarassing incidents such as happened recently. However, they are not going to succeed, imo, as the U.S. isn’t a single rational actor; it’s a highly idiosyncratic combination of a large number of organizations and sectional interests. (Part of its genius and its weakness).


Social Engineering a Telemarketer

Posted on August 11th, 2014 at 16:10 by John Sinteur in category: awesome


Today is a good day. I just had a call from a telemarketer. Did I yell and scream at them, you ask? Certainly not. Like a good IT administrator I put my skills to use for their benefit. Here’s how the conversation went:

Computer: “Press 9 to not be contacted in the future. Press 4 to speak to someone about your mortgage issues”

TM: “Hello, are you having problems paying your mortgage?”

Me: “Hi, this is the IT department. We intercepted your call as we detected a problem with you phone and need to fix it.”

TM: “Oh… ok, well what do we need to do?”

Me: “We’re going to need to fix the settings by pressing 4-6-8 and * at the same time”

TM: “Ok, nothing happened.”

Me: “Are you using the new Polycom phones that we deployed?”

TM: “No, it’s a Yealink”

Me: “Ok, I see. You haven’t had the new Polycom phone deployed to your desk yet. Let me check our technical documentations for the Yealink.”

Me: “Alright, do you see an “OK” button on your phone?”

TM: “Yes I do”

Me: “Alright, you’re going to press and hold that button for 10 seconds.”

TM: “OK, pressing it now”

Me: “Perfect, let me know if you get a password request”

TM: “OK, nothing has popped up ye—-“

That’s right. I made a telemarketer unwittingly factory reset his phone which means he will be unable to make anymore calls until someone is able to reconfigure his phone and that will take at least an hour or longer if they can’t do it right away!

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  1. Almost as funny as this one

Amazon Gets Increasingly Nervous

Posted on August 11th, 2014 at 10:52 by John Sinteur in category: Amazon


In sum and once again: Amazon is not your friend. Neither is any other corporation. It and they do what they do for their own interest and are more than willing to try to make you try believe that what they do for their own benefit is in fact for yours. It’s not. In this particular case, this is not about readers or authors or anyone else but Amazon wanting eBooks capped at $9.99 for its own purposes. It should stop pretending that this is about anything other than that. Readers, authors, and everyone else should stop pretending it’s about anything other than that, too.

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  1. I can’t wait for the movie. That deep booming promo voice:

    “In a world where dark forces are constantly trying to enslave us all; one man, leading a tiny band of heroes, is struggling against all odds to overcome a many-headed monster of the deep…”

    Apple did that one price per track thing. Is this different?

  2. Well, yes and no. I agree with Gruber on this: I think Apple cares about music in a way that Amazon does not care about books. Maybe only because Steve Jobs personally cared about music in a serious way, but now it’s ingrained in Apple’s culture.

    (And if we want to be cynical, let’s admit that it’s possible for Apple to care about music for music’s sake because they sell tens of millions of expensive gadgets on which we listen to music every quarter.)

  3. Speaking as someone who self-publishes ebooks (and who sets his own prices), I would like to point out that it was Apple that forced Amazon to pay higher royalties on ebook sales. Apple drove the royalties up from 35% to 70% and Amazon has already had to scramble to remain competitive. There are other, smaller sites like Smashwords or Lulu that pay even higher royalties.

  4. Fits on the cynical bit – Apple makes more money from the devices they sell with the iBooks app on it than from e-book sales, so it is in their interest to make the authors pick them over Amazon. They probably ran the numbers on the best (for them) royalty percentage to give to authors, and 70% for the authors makes them the most money.

  5. @Mudak: What does Apple pay 70% royalties on? And to whom, publishers or authors?

Inside Apple’s Internal Training Program

Posted on August 11th, 2014 at 10:11 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


Apple may well be the only tech company on the planet that would dare compare itself to Picasso.

In a class at the company’s internal training program, the so-called Apple University, the instructor likened the 11 lithographs that make up Picasso’s “The Bull” to the way Apple builds its smartphones and other devices. The idea: Apple designers strive for simplicity just as Picasso eliminated details to create a great work of art.

Steven P. Jobs established Apple University as a way to inculcate employees into Apple’s business culture and educate them about its history, particularly as the company grew and the tech business changed. Courses are not required, only recommended, but getting new employees to enroll is rarely a problem.

Although many companies have such internal programs, sometimes referred to as indoctrination, Apple’s version is a topic of speculation and fascination in the tech world.

It is highly secretive and rarely written about, referred to briefly in the biography of Mr. Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Apple employees are discouraged from talking about the company in general, and the classes are no exception. No pictures of the classrooms have surfaced publicly. And a spokeswoman for Apple declined to make instructors available for interviews for this article.

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Super Moon

Posted on August 11th, 2014 at 9:00 by John Sinteur in category: News

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  1. That fat orb is going to ruin our view of the Perseids!