Comcast’s on-line billing system… not so much

I just saved a negative half-hour trying to make Comcast’s dumb-arse online system recognize me. They just upgraded to a new, better, easier, system (that sounds like OpenID though why Comcast thinks I’d trust them… I don’t know).

Anyway, it requires lots of waiting for little progress bars to march across the screen and answering dumb questions.

All I want to do is pay my bill.

Paper would be faster, easier and cheaper (stamps are sill only 40 something cents.

Aggravated in Amherst (or maybe Peeved in Pelham).

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George Orwellish moment

From Harper’s magazine:

British entrepreneurs launched Internet Eyes, a program that allows registered users to monitor live feeds from some of the United Kingdom’s 4.2 million surveillance cameras in order to search for a crime in progress, with cash prizes for viewers who spot the most criminals.

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Closed Border, closed economy, closing opportunities |

I’ve been worried about this for ages.

[Closed Border, closed economy, closing opportunities |][1]

“All this may sound unfortunate but it has significant implications, political and economic implications. International travel to the United States is down 10% in the first quarter of 2009 – a big part of this is likely related to the economy, but I suspect that fewer and fewer people are choosing the United States as a destination. But vacationers are minor in comparison to the impact on innovation and economic development. Today, it is harder and harder for the best minds in the world to work for American companies and to do graduate work at American Universities. This means America’s elite will interact less and less with leading thinkers from elsewhere and its companies will have to rely on American talent, and not international talent, to succeed. 

Already the cracks are showing. Google has employees who are forced to work in Canada since they can’t work in the United States. And Microsoft recently opened a software development facility in Vancouver because US immigration laws made it too difficult to bring in top talent. Indeed, I’m increasingly persuaded that the new convention centre in Vancouver was a smart investment. If you are hosting a conference with Americans and internationals in attendance there is no way you are going to host it in the United States.”

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Peachy + R is Preaching

The day the earth stood still is not an good movie. Oh well, at least I can say that I watched it. IMDB thinks 5.6; I’d say 4.2.

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reality, not so mure

New GOP Meme On Joe Wilson: Obama Started It! | TPMDC

“An interesting new pattern has emerged from some Republicans. Both during and after yesterday’s House admonishment of Rep. Joe Wilson’s (R-SC) outburst of ‘You lie!’ during President Obama’s speech to Congress, GOP House members have been emerging to say that it was Obama who started the breach of decorum.”

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When Getting Beaten By Your Husband Is A Pre-Existing Condition

this sounds bad…

“With the White House zeroing in on the insurance-industry practice of discriminating against clients based on pre-existing conditions, administration allies are calling attention to how broadly insurers interpret the term to maximize profits.

It turns out that in eight states, plus the District of Columbia, getting beaten up by your spouse is a pre-existing condition.”

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Quietest room in the world opens its doors – Telegraph


The world’s ‘quietest’ room opened its doors for the study of nanotechnology in Bristol.   Dr David Carberry prepares an experiment in the new Bristol University building which is the ‘quietest’ in the world Photo: SWNS The ”ultra-low vibration suite”, which cost £11 million, allows scientists to manipulate atoms and molecules without the interference of environmental vibrations interrupting their work. There is virtually no air movement inside the cutting edge laboratory, which is anchored to the rock foundation in the basement of the Nanoscience and Quantum Information Centre in Bristol.”

Not sure about the scare quotes “though”

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Franklin is sad

Philadelphia Library – Closing

“We deeply regret to inform you that without the necessary budgetary legislation by the State Legislature in Harrisburg, the City of Philadelphia will not have the funds to operate our neighborhood branch libraries, regional libraries, or the Parkway Central Library after October 2, 2009.”

If someone tried to invent libraries today, they’d be laughed up the whazoo.

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Everyone should know how easily we’re fooled

Study Reveals How Magic Works | LiveScience

“As we are looking at the world, we have this impression that what we see is the real world. What this tells us is the way we see the world is more strongly dominated by how we perceive it to be rather than what it actually is,’ Kuhn added. ‘Even though the ball never left the hand, the reason people saw it leave is because they expected the ball to leave the hand. It’s the beliefs about what should happen that override the actual visual input.’

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Good piece on anonymity, data and privacyq

“Anonymized” data really isn’t—and here’s why not – Ars Technica

“Such work by computer scientists over the last fifteen years has shown a serious flaw in the basic idea behind ‘personal information’: almost all information can be ‘personal’ when combined with enough other relevant bits of data.”

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