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  • Apr 15th, 2016 @ 3:23pm

    Disappointed this year

    I've got a pretty simple return, and the online companies have been free the last few years. Any 1040 or 1040EZ is still free to file, but now Form 8889 screws that up. That's the form that has to be submitted if you use an HSA in your health plan, which the government has been pushing.

    So they mandate that tax filing has to be free for simple returns, then mandate that you file paperwork that makes your return not simple. This the the effect of tying health care to taxes.

  • Apr 14th, 2016 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re:

    Don't forget extrajudicial drone strikes.

  • Apr 14th, 2016 @ 8:41am

    Can't ban folders

    But since we're banning forms of communication that aren't actually being widely used, clearly the best response to a folder titled in English is to ban the use of French. Only 1.12% of the world is a native speaker, so the disruption would be minimal.

  • Mar 29th, 2016 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Re: How long has this been going on?

    That's where we disagree, then. I believe this should be seen as the consumer's traffic.

    The result is the same, no matter who is throttling, or optimizing, or whatever it should be called. People are getting a degraded experience, through no affirmative choices of their own, due to the actions of a company somewhere in the chain.

  • Mar 29th, 2016 @ 11:09am

    How long has this been going on?

    Remember this screen?
    That was in response to Verizon not peering with Netflix servers and allowing the connections to become bottlenecked.

    As the party actually displaying the content, that gives Netflix a lot of power to be the one controlling the message. Now they are doing the same thing ("adjusting" the video) but not telling anyone about it since they are doing it by choice. And, surprise!, not being totally up front about it.

    I understand why they are doing it, but it seems like a bit of a double standard to throw Verizon to the wolves over throttling without telling people about it, raking T-Mobile over the coals for throttling on an opt-out basis, but completely defending Netflix for doing the same things.

    If they had been open and honest about this and provided an opt-in within the app, they could have permanently claimed the moral high ground on the issue. Not that I think it's illegal (the Telcos are just blustering), but it's certainly a missed opportunity.

  • Feb 25th, 2016 @ 1:54pm

    Hardly evil

    a) "Google" isn't some generic term that just happens to be used by a tech giant like "Apple" is. Using that very specific term might imply some relationship between the two.
    b) The ONLY thing covered on the site is news regarding Google.
    c) The site's logo, while using different colors, seems to use a similar font as the official Google logo.

    It's no great leap to think that somebody unfamiliar with the site, and visiting for the first time, might be confused about the source of the content.
    The initial inquiry certainly could be considered unnecessary, given the limited reach of this site, but hardly evil.

  • Feb 18th, 2016 @ 8:49am

    (untitled comment)

    "We don't want Apple to create a back door. We just want them to cut a hole in the wall. But they can totally frame it in and put a covering over it, and even put a lock on it! As long as they give us a key, perhaps one made of gold. But no back door, that would be wrong."

  • Feb 11th, 2016 @ 9:28am


    After a few days, the RIAA would demand to take over the music checking operation and check every file against a MD5 hash of known downloaded tracks.

  • Feb 11th, 2016 @ 9:25am


    Batteries and all other removable parts (optical drives, RAM, HDD) will have to be removed, transferred to a plane that will fly just behind the passenger jet, then will be returned to the user for a small "security fee" that will cover the cost of the parallel flight (no more than a few hundred dollars each).

    They'll buy a whole fleet of new cargo planes, but when people catch on and stop bringing laptops, opting instead to just buy new ones when they land, the TSA will have to start answering questions about how far this "cord cutting" fad will go. Don't worry, they'll say, they didn't want to transport all those old laptop parts around anyway.

    They'll keep the fleet of cargo planes, though, and get a massive bailout for being too big to fail.

  • Feb 2nd, 2016 @ 9:23am

    (untitled comment)

    "It should be mathematically impossible to have a negative satisfaction rating, but Comcast will never stop innovating until we've done the impossible!"

  • Jan 27th, 2016 @ 9:57am

    Re: Yet

    I'm surprised at how dismissive Glyn was at this clause.
    Once the data is there, all it takes is access to connect all the dots. That's exactly why mass collection is so dangerous in the first place. Once the government/hackers/anybody has this, it's analysis and release can only be delayed, not stopped forever.

  • Jan 21st, 2016 @ 11:08am

    Devil's advocate

    That impact hasn't leaked into ad revenue, nor has it leaked into ratings. The people who’ve traded down have tended to not be sports fans, and have tended to be older and less affluent.

    Cord cutters and cord trimmers tend to be young, affluent consumers who are just tired as hell of paying an arm and a leg for channels they don't watch. And, if recent surveys are any indication, there are a lot of users who don't watch ESPN and are tired of paying for it.

    You and ESPN are talking about different revenue streams. If all (or rather, most of) the people dropping ESPN aren't watching anyway, then it may be completely true that ratings and ad revenue aren't impacted.

    Is there any data showing the percentage of revenue that ESPN gets from carriage fees vs ads? If 90% of subscribers never turn to ESPN, but subscription fees only make up 30% of revenue (just making up numbers), then really only 27% of revenue is at risk to cord cutting, instead of the bigger sexy 90% number that these doom and gloom articles throw around.

  • Jan 20th, 2016 @ 2:23pm

    (untitled comment)

    Techdirt just got trolled.

  • Jan 20th, 2016 @ 2:12pm

    Bigger picture

    ESPN is just a middle-man. Most of their revenue ends up in the hands of the NBA and NCAA, with smaller contracts for other leagues (17 NFL and ~18-20 MLB games/year). I'm sure they license clips of plays/games from nearly every sport, so there will be some impact around the sports world, but it won't be evenly distributed.
    The college football racket, in particular, may be the bloodiest casualty, as they deal with lawsuits of their own on the other end already.

  • Jan 15th, 2016 @ 11:17am

    Re: "For your attempted extortion, you get NOTHING. Enjoy."

    I wonder if this is temporary.

    They award the contract to a new company, who is required to purchase the (newly devalued) IP, then the parks buy those names for pennies on the dollar, and finally, return the facilities to their original names by the end of the year.

  • Jan 11th, 2016 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Devil's Advocate Question: Any Wi-Fi on "Smart TVs"?

    Only if my TV hacks my refrigerator to get my WiFi password.

  • Jan 11th, 2016 @ 10:42am

    What's the market?

    Who is demanding "smart" TVs anyway?

    People who want to watch Netflix, but DON'T have a game console, roku/slingbox/etc, blu-ray player, or even an HDMI cable long enough to stretch from a computer?

    Are the TV manufacturers getting kickbacks from the OTT service providers for including their apps? There's got to be some reason they are putting so much effort into doing something so badly.

  • Dec 14th, 2015 @ 2:42pm

    Slightly misleading

    SCOTUS is not making any moral statements about Arbitration vs Litigation, it's merely pointing out that the US Congress passed the Federal Arbitration Act, which takes priority over State laws.

    Your elected representatives (or those of your great-grandparents, in this case) passed an awful law, with numerous unforeseen consequences, but it is not inherently Unconstitutional. As pointed out many times recently, they refuse to be judges of the wisdom of pieces of legislation, merely judges of its legality.

    They got this one right, but that doesn't mean the law is just.

  • Dec 8th, 2015 @ 9:17am

    Not to minimize deaths...

    This could come across wrong, but I do recognize that preventing one death is more important than saving a few dollars.

    With that said, when you combine just 8-10 of the biggest data breaches over the last 5 years, you get over 500 million records compromised, at the cost of 10's of billions of dollars to clean up.

    World's Biggest Data Breaches

    You are literally millions of times more likely to be a victim of poor data security than good data security. And if security is millions of times more important than freedom (to balance that equation), then you might as well put a government minder on every street corner and government cameras in every house. "Big Brother is Doubleplusgood."

  • Nov 18th, 2015 @ 12:27pm

    Biggest story of the day

    See, this isn't just not the story the surveillance maximalists want to tell. And it goes deeper than saying encryption doesn't matter.

    This suggests that the mass surveillance mentality itself is partly to blame.

    We already know that France and most of the rest of the EU has NSA-type powers to collect it all and sort through the pile later. This means they probably had all the evidence they needed but couldn't stop it anyway. There's too much data to search in real time in any meaningful way. A more focused targeting of surveillance would greatly reduce the analysis paralysis.

    Which leads to a point I've been making all along., that there are two realities to mass surveillance:
    1) If they are parsing it all in real time, they may be able to prevent an attack, but this gives lie to the claim that your data is never being searched (everybody's must be included in the data set).
    2) If they are only looking at it in hindsight, they can be more specific about the selectors and exclude more people, but this gives lie to the claim that they can prevent an attack in the first place (it can only be investigated).

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