McGyver’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Jul 29th, 2019 @ 12:04pm

    It’s all just a revenue generator now.

    In my area, when these devices first came out years ago they were used at problem intersections where people actually ran lights. They mostly did what they were supposed to and they accomplished good work.
    Then both the state and counties realized these could be used to generate income.
    They sent out flocks of seniors and summer employees to count traffic at major intersections to see where they could get the most money.
    These cameras mostly as far as I know belong to private companies that service, set up and monitor them... and keep a lion’s share of the income these devices generate.
    I’ve seen one accident caused a camera that flashed for no reason at all, and watched what could have been a terrible accident caused by a camera flashing for no reason, where an elderly driver swerved slightly while braking hard, causing the car in back to mount the curb to avoid him, almost hitting several kids waiting to cross the road.
    On a nearby elevated highway at night, I’ve seen cars drift out of their lanes because from the surface street below multiple pulsing camera flashes (at road height) distracted them.
    Driving in back of a friend, I watched a camera take a photo of his car seconds after the light changed to green... a week or so later he got a ticket (linked to a video) showing a different car going through a red light... it was clear in the photo of his plate and the blurry video, the cars were not even the same color... without going to court they would not dismiss the ticket so my friend apathetically paid it.
    Sitting at a red light all alone late at night, I often see the cameras take pictures of cars going through green lights, many times one or more cars slam on their brakes probably thinking they missed a red light or something.
    Most people I know have some negative story about the cameras or near collisions they’ve caused.
    No one holds these red light camera companies responsible, either for honesty or safety and no way any government agency will take responsibility.
    It’s a scam at taxpayer expense... it was a nice idea when it first began, but like all good things, too many of these programs have become corrupted by greed and apathy.
    Let them all rot until someone finds a way to keep these things honest, safe and reliable.

  • Jul 12th, 2018 @ 7:04am

    (untitled comment)

    "Fake news" is propaganda... Deliberately making up stories with the intention of deceiving the public.
    Maybe saying a false narrative is "propaganda" sounds old fashioned or something... Like calling someone a "fascist"... People will berate the label with the textbook definition as though that somehow changes the problem, so maybe other words get used instead...
    But either way, wildly distorting facts, omitting key details or just plain old making up an entire narrative to fit an agenda, is not "news"...
    If you sell plastic donuts and leave out the fact they are not real, but in fact made of plastic, they are still fake donuts... Whether people label them as "fake", "simulated" or "replica" is just quibbling over details, they are still "fake donuts".
    What led to this problem we are experiencing today were two factors... Sensationalizing the news and shoddy reporting.
    Both driven by competition to attract viewers or readers.
    The competition to gain viewers was a profit margin based fight... You keep trying to outdo you competition, you keep making exceptions, you keep letting quality slip... Eventually what you are doing is hardly what you stated out trying to do.
    Sensationalizing the news eventually made it easier to distort facts for those who wanted to manipulate the public.
    Shoddy reporting often ment key details were overlooked, missed or reported incorrectly... This too provided an opportunity to those interested in manipulating the public.
    The "mainstream media" (mostly televised news) lost a lot of respect from the public by the late 90s because of these two factors, and it was just a matter of time till someone preyed on that.
    News became less about the news and more about interviewing "experts" and "commentators"...
    Eventually the news took a backseat to the commentary and analysis.
    News should be about facts... What happened, when it happened, what may have led up to the event, what is being done about it...
    Commentary and analysis should be left to talk shows.
    If a tragedy occurs and the first thing you do is go to an "expert" to interpret what they think may or may not be going on, especially when they don't know any more about the situation than the public, you have ceased to be an effective outlet for news.
    You are no better at reporting than that crowd of gawkers hanging around behind the barriers of a crime scene speculating about what may or may not have occurred.
    I don't think much has changed recently... Maybe just that more people are aware that false information is a problem and that there is a complete polarization of the public...
    So what if we know how we got here... We need to figure out a way to fix it and foster an environment where people can objectively digest real reporting without interference.

  • May 23rd, 2018 @ 4:58pm

    (untitled comment)

    It was very clever of Ted Lieu to phase it that way... Trumpalumpski is okay with foreign nations listening in on his calls... Maybe he welcomes that... But American intelligence agencies finding out what he is up to, well that's not something his boss is interested in.

  • May 18th, 2018 @ 3:40am

    (untitled comment)

    I find the term "trademark bullying" deficient in cases like this... Where one party has an existing business or product for a number of years, poses no threat to the other business, yet the other business is trying to take that name or title away, it's not just bullying, the other entity is clearly trying to take away something they have no right to and that is theft... In the very least a form of piracy... Perhaps not by the letter of the law, but in concept.

  • Apr 23rd, 2018 @ 11:53am

    Re: Sorry Karl,

    Yes, the old "It's the motherboard" answer...
    It's a defective power supply or loose connector, but it's always the motherboard and it's going to cost more to repair than to replace.

  • Mar 27th, 2018 @ 2:30pm

    (untitled comment)

    Well, I guess they got one of those letters warning you that you could be held liable for not having home repair insurance... Or that one that says your car's warranty is about to expire (even though you sold it three years ago) and you need to buy their extended coverage or your regular auto insurance company will drop you, or any of a ton of other variants of this scammy shit.
    Only instead of laughing or tearing up the letter, they decided to try their own version of it.
    Nothing is being "grossly misinterpreted" here... It's quite clear they hoped to cash in by threatening and misleading people.
    A financial and legal asskicking is in order here.
    The more this shit is excused or glossed over, the more entrenched and blatant it becomes.

  • Jan 5th, 2018 @ 6:43am

    (untitled comment)

    A dickish response to a perfectly reasonable question.
    Also, I don't get what I'm looking at... Did he just scrawl his dipshit response on the bottom of her letter and send it back?
    What a piece of shit.
    While reading books is still good advice, completing homework today requires Internet access, not just for research, but to access teacher's notes, school portals, worksheets as well as for updates to class schedules and important school information.
    If this ill informed dickwad is unaware of the necessity of unencumbered internet access then he better take his head out of big telecom's ass and take a peak at reality.
    "Read a book"... What, is he that sock puppet "Handy" from The Tick.
    But figures this sarcastic fat old peice of crap is a republican.

  • Dec 27th, 2017 @ 4:33pm

    (untitled comment)

    I thought we buy them guns and radios and other fun stuff so they can take care of that on their own..?
    I find this funny, because when you genuinely try to help, most treat you like you are a peasant asshole... In all the times I've done my civic duty, I've yet to have gotten a simple "thanks"...
    I'm filing this one in my "Whatever" folder...

  • Dec 22nd, 2017 @ 7:36am

    Re: Re:

    You confuse a negative opinion with anger.
    Me angry does not sound like "can kiss my ass".
    "Kiss my ass" is me looking at a $10 t-shirt selling for $20.
    "No need to be ridiculously angry"?
    Seriously, I threw a moped out a window and I was only pissed.
    If I was ridiculously angry I'd have had far stronger words.
    If you are a Netflix fan... Uh... Yay?
    Like I said... If that's what you enjoy and you feel it's a value to you... great pay whatever they ask as long as you feel you are getting something of value in return.
    Is that an angry statement?
    If you like cheeseburgers buy them.
    Is that angry too?
    I would cancel it if it was just me, I'm not mean enough to cancel it on my kids because they still find something of value there...
    And if I realize they aren't watching it anymore, I'll ask them if they mind cancelling it.
    I'm not "angry about not getting value for myself, only for my kids", (but I do appreciate the insight into my inner thoughts it's very interesting to see how other people interpret stuff)... What I am is indifferent... And I'm saying I don't care about their product, and the only reason I buy it is someone I care for enjoys it.
    No anger.
    I don't get why people seem to interpret a negative opinion of something they enjoy as spiteful or angry.
    It's like a personal attack on their belief system.
    I'd understand if they invented the item, service or product, but as a customer or consumer of the thing in question... It's just a bit odd to me to get (seemingly) uptight and feel the need to comment on something in such a manner.
    And weirder yet that I'm responding.
    But still... No anger.
    I don't get how, even in person I make a comment like "I don't watch that show" or "Amazon isn't really such a great deal" and I get reactions like I just insulted a religious figure or disappointment.
    I didn't insult their religion, family and ugly pets.
    ("Ugly pets" was for humor... still no anger)
    People need to check their friggin values.
    And I say that with no malice, anger or arrogance... In fact no mopeds were harmed during any of these statements.
    When I first picked up Netflix, their selling point was they weren't like cable and you could watch shows on multiple sets at home...
    They decided to change that.
    I don't agree and since I'm not giving out my password to anyone else, nor abusing their service, nor do I really buy the argument that a significant enough number of people are sharing passwords without it actually benefiting the company by acting to hook people on the service.
    To me people should find it more bothersome that once again corporate executives are carping about how they need to crack down on a perceived (or made up) abuse and charge more for the same or less.
    That's all.
    And I genuinely mean this... Have a great day!

  • Dec 22nd, 2017 @ 4:37am

    (untitled comment)

    Streaming: The New Cable.
    Give it a couple of years more and it will be a bigger, greedier mess than cable.
    If it weren't for my kids, I would have ditched Netflix when they imposed the last fee hike.
    I think I watched one thing on it in maybe six or eight months and fell asleep in the middle.
    The only "password sharing" I've ever done was to let my kids watch cartoons at their grandparents house.
    I down graded to single viewer because I'm not paying for using two TVs in the same house, and I doubt (though, I could be wrong) that with all the data collection that's done, they don't know when two TVs are at the same address.
    If people decide it's a value for them to have to have three services to pay for most of the programs they enjoy, good for them... Especially if they can afford it.
    If the streaming services want to nickle and dime customers, they are going to do it and nobody is gonna change that because that would require going without entertainment for a while.
    For me the only value is my kid's enjoyment and they care less about the shows being offered, as most of the ones they liked have left Netflix.
    Once that value is gone, Netflix can kiss my ass.
    Besides, when we start paying extra to access different Internet packages (thanks to Mr Pai and his employer Verizon) I see that value dropping further.

  • Dec 21st, 2017 @ 3:59pm

    (untitled comment)

    Good, at least when they go to fully automated vehicles and dump all their human drivers, there will be some tiny level of oversight.
    Of course that'll never happen here in the U.S. where they'll continue to argue "but it's only an app" even when they own all the driverless vehicles being used for "ride sharing".

  • Dec 14th, 2017 @ 4:50am

    (untitled comment)

    I wonder how Bethesda feels about that name.
    Once you add the suffix or prefix "Tek" to any formerly "dumb" device or mechanism, that's basically the the nail in the coffin...
    Especially the CoffinTek-2000...

  • Dec 5th, 2017 @ 5:32am

    (untitled comment)

    How does it escape even the simplest mindset, that if you create one unlocked door in everyone's home, that pretty quickly the real bad guys will find a way of defeating or getting around that, (which they are probably already anticipating or have already made better plans for) and only the law abiding citizens will suffer when other bad guys use that unlocked door. I can't imagine anyone up to real no good still operating like it was 2005 anymore. What bad actors would be that stupid that anyone can still get a treasure trove of Intel from their phone or computer anymore? And what good Intel comes from people that stupid? What effort does it take for bad to not buy IOT devices... I hardly see terrorists using IOT juicers and Roombas...
    I can however see certain politicians who are "encouraged" by IOT manufacturers to advocate everything should be IOT connected for everyone's safety.
    It's time we humans start electing representatives that can actually think clearly and stop going for whomever can flail their arms and shout the loudest.

  • Nov 29th, 2017 @ 10:22am

    (untitled comment)

    Regulatory capture at it's finest...
    Unfortunately more people are concerned with what that fugly orange moron is tweeting about and getting worked up over it (and rightly so) instead of making a ruckus over things like this which are going on right out in the open and will actually effect our nation far more then his weak mouth farts.
    I can't tell you how many people I know or meet who no nothing about what is going on with net neutrality, the CFPB or any of the other important issues...
    People that care, not trumpies, just people who are blinded and outraged by the primary freak show the press keeps showing.

  • Nov 29th, 2017 @ 10:03am

    (untitled comment)

    Well, that was worth it... I wish I'd have realized beforehand I was going to be looking at a $750 document... I'd have opened up a nice fancy wine...
    What goes good with bullshit?
    Megh... I'm a beer guy anyway.
    Regardless this is how these weasels (sorry to the actual weasel animals for the insult) keep ordinary people from finding out what they are up to and interfering with their plans...
    Seems fairly unconstitutional... But then what's a constitution good for these days anyway?
    Just an old piece of paper with a lot of suggestions scribbled on it... Right?
    They'll probably lock that old nuisance up behind a paywall too before long... Wouldn't want ordinary folks knowing All those rights they lost.

  • Nov 27th, 2017 @ 11:01am

    (untitled comment)

    Nothing is more infuriating than a person who lies right to your face.
    While I agree that losing ones cool and attacking someone's character is counterproductive, one must have a molecule of character to begin with... Asking people to maintain their composure is almost contrary to human nature.
    This guy invites hate and oozes the same slimy coolness of any and every sleazy salesman and ripoff artist that we have ever seen, in real life or fiction.
    The consequences were inevitable.
    Whatever hatred and anger he has accrued, he invited it upon himself by selling out consumers to satisfy his own greed.
    I'd like to save sympathy for someone who at least thought they were doing the right thing and not someone who thought they were slick enough to screw a nation and get away with it.
    The rest of the article was fine, but I couldn't care less about Pai's problems.

  • Nov 27th, 2017 @ 7:16am

    (untitled comment)

    I fully expect that Pai's next tactic will be to argue that zombies and dead people have the right to voice their opinions too...
    Would it really be any less disingenuous or ridiculous than anything that comes out of his mouth at this point?
    It's clear the FCC supports and condones any tactics the ISPs use to push their agenda... Including fraud.
    Willfully ignoring fraudulent comments blatantly shows who is pulling Pai's strings.

  • Nov 23rd, 2017 @ 7:09am

    (untitled comment)

    So another "great idea" that turns out to have really bad side effects that were unforeseeable to everyone bereft of common sense...
    What could go wrong with an Internet operated door lock?
    I find it funny that back in 1999 as Y2K approached, people who knew little about tech were worried their computers and toasters were going to rebel against humanity and attack them.
    Now less then twenty years later, those same people are proud to own toasters and "smart" products that can actual attack them, if not physically at least through their lousy security.
    I really, really, really can't wait for the first practical humanoid robots to hit the market.
    That's gonna be soooo much fun to see...

  • Nov 22nd, 2017 @ 12:47pm

    No excuses... No regrets either...

    And I'm sure the hackers did nothing with that data after they were paid...
    Uber is the poster child for why rules and regulations aren't such a bad idea.
    My favorite line though, is: "We will learn from our mistakes..."
    Is there some magic number of mistakes they are waiting to accumulate before the learning starts?

  • Nov 20th, 2017 @ 7:31am

    Support landscape mode video...

    That's an awfully long shakey video...
    Aside from the observation "come on, who doesn't hate parking meters?" and "please hold the damn phone sideways, so it's in landscape mode" (seriously do we need to see so much sky and people's feet?)... The only real problem I can see for him may be the fact that (it seems like) he is whooping and hooting for some of the destruction... Which could be construed as promoting or condoning it...
    A prosecutor could conceivably use that against him.
    If anything can be learned from this besides nobody likes parking meters and portrait mode journalism is painful to watch, I suppose it's, no matter how you feel inside, keep your mouth shut and just film without giving anything but unbiased commentary or that may come back to bite you in the ass.
    Personally... I blame the Russians for this... To some degree their meddling in the election and efforts to incite violence and unrest lead to this.
    I wonder if any defendants are exploring that line of reasoning that Russian social media incitement and perhaps even operatives within the crowd started the violence.

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