Friday, August 5, 2016

NBC continues to rip off the public and screw Team USA at the Olympics.

NBC, a broadcaster granted a portion of our public spectrum to transmit content for profit, is once again denying United States viewers access to coverage of their Olympic athletes online. And its excuses embarrass the network and insult the viewers.

So much wrong here. From NBCOlympics.com:

Q: What do I need to watch video on NBCOlympics.com?
A: In order to watch any video on NBCOlympics.com, you must install the latest version of Adobe(R) Flash(R) (supports v10 and above). Adobe(R) Flash(R) will provide you with the best NBC Olympics viewing experience including HD quality video, DVR controls and much more.


That's right people: NBC is still using Flash. That's pathetic by itself, but it also screws mobile users. Oh well!  Don't worry about moving into this decade anytime soon, NBC.



Q: What is required for access to view "Live Streaming" video content?
A: You can access live streams of EVERY NBC Olympics event by authenticating with a cable, 
satellite or telco TV subscription through your service provider.

Ah yes, the big lie of NBC's proud claim of "streaming every event." Does a bear shit in the woods? Maybe, but if you can't see it, who's to say? Now here's the most insulting part of NBC's fraud:


Q: Why is authentication being required?
A: Authentication supports our ongoing investment in sports programming for all of our platforms and is consistent with industry trends. Digital platforms require significant investment, and authentication allows us to capture the value of that investment, which in turn allows us to continue to provide cable/satellite/telco customers with high-quality sports coverage wherever and whenever they want at no additional cost.


This is absolute bullshit. First off, "consistent with industry trends" means, "other providers are ripping people off, so we're going to try it too."

Then there's "digital platforms require significant investment." Hey NBC, broadcasting went digital a decade ago. What analog distribution are you doing?

Finally, and most damning, there's the fact that NBC sued Aereo, a company that would have expanded NBC's viewership (thus increasing its ratings and the value of its content) by building online infrastructure free of charge to NBC. So NBC is whining about "significant investment" after idiotically attacking a company that was set to do that investment free.

More historic NBC stupidity.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Apple calls you stupid by getting rid of the headphone jack.

Another day, another apologist pretending that this is "progress."

WRONG. Your ears require analog audio waveforms. Those come from headphones or speakers, which move AIR to produce pressure corresponding to those waveforms. There's nothing Apple or anyone else can do at the moment to "progress" beyond that.

So by removing the source of sound from its music-centric phones, Apple will idiotically require redundant conversion hardware in EVERY listening device. Not only will every headphone, car stereo, hotel-room clock radio, boom box, and home stereo have to decode whatever crap-ass protocol Apple will use (which will most likely recompress your already-compressed music), it will then have to do the D/A conversion.

Or... it could be done by the player device ONCE.

Never mind that anyone who cares about sound already has good headphones. And don't even float the turd of, "Well, get an adapter."  Yes, that's classic Apple "elegance:" carrying a wad of adapters and wires around, making your "thin, elegant" iPhone into a Christmas tree of crap because of course you'll need some kind of Y adapter to charge it while listening. Oh, and don't forget all this junk when you go on vacation. Want to play tunes in your rental car?  WOOPS, just when every car has an auxiliary input... Apple makes it useless.

Oh, and never mind that the Lightning port is an embarrassing engineering fiasco that delivers worse quality than the ancient 30-pin port it replaced: https://panic.com/blog/the-lightning-digital-av-adapter-surprise

And finally, if you're all keen on a junked-up, recompressed, battery-sapping, all-digital pipeline to your headphones... you can have it WITHOUT getting rid of the headphone jack. There is no excuse for removing it, period. The "thinness" argument is not only a lie (LOOK at the thing), but it's stupid anyway because nobody asked for a THINNER phone.

Grow a nut and demand better, instead of rolling over and showing your flabby white belly to your corporate masters because it's too uncomfortable for you to admit that Apple is calling you stupid... and you're proving them right.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Los Angeles Times: Censoring comments to protect its offensive practices and... state cronies?

The L.A. Times implements at least a couple of offensive, anti-reader practices. They launch noise-making ads without user approval, and they inexplicably disable zooming on their mobile site.

That's bad enough. But then they compound the offense by censoring comments that call them out on it. And there's yet more: On top of that, they censor comments that call the state of California out for its rip-offs as well.

Look at this bullshit:


Now what kind of publication is so ashamed of its own work that it bans comments that refer to it? A deliberately deceitful one. There's more:


So this is "journalism" today. It's free, so it's worth nothing. And that's exactly what the L.A. Times delivers and tries to defend. Shoddy work and disgraceful cover-ups, instead of simply fixing the problem.

I guess it is embarrassing when comments provide more information than the "story" above them. Some publications (honorable ones, that is) would use this as incentive to do better. The L.A. Times simply tries to bury the problem.

Hey L.A. Times: Take a lesson from local cats and bury your shit, instead of your readers.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Apple's idiotic "time-zone support" sets users up to miss flights and everything else.

Apple loves to operate in a fantasy world of its own, ignoring reports of glaring defects until they've become embarrassing PR debacles.

This is because Apple doesn't seem to relate to how real people do real things.  For example,  how they use a calendar.

When you book a flight, the airline gives you an itinerary with times on it.



Those times are LOCAL TIMES.  Is there anyone on the planet who thinks that United is putting non-local times on its itineraries, as if you're not going to change your watch or something?  YES: Someone at Apple thinks that.

Consider the craven stupidity of this "logic:" 


So neither of these settings ensures that your iPhone will go off at the specified numeric time shown on the phone's screen.  In fact, it doesn't appear to do anything.  It's incredible: Apple's handheld Unix computer can't do what a $9 alarm clock can.

And yet Apple gets a free pass on grossly defective designs like this, which aren't just cosmetic annoyances.  They cause people to miss important events.  Why do you allow it?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

UnitedHealth Group "opting out" of Affordable Care Act? BULLSHIT.

The news is all over mainstream media: United Healthcare will probably bail out of Obamacare.

Let's call this what it is: An outrage to every taxpayer, and intolerable.  It also reveals yet more incompetence in the crafting of this so-called healthcare "reform."

It's bad enough that insurance companies are allowed to sell half-assed policies under Obamacare, policies that care providers can identify as subsized; those providers usually don't accept them, even when they accept supposedly identical non-subsidized policies.  Care providers should have no knowledge of who's paying for a PPO (for example), and insurance companies should not be allowed to reimburse doctors at different rates simply because of how a client is paying for his insurance.  If Blue Shield has determined that $200 is a fair rate for setting a broken arm, then why would that vary because of how the client is paying for it?

The fact that it's ALLOWED TO means that this healthcare law is corrupt and incompetent.

Now we have a company "opting out."  THAT SHOULD BE ILLEGAL.  It is our country, and these companies do business at our discretion.  The health of this nation should NOT be a for-profit enterprise in the first place.  But it is, and despite the gravy train we taxpayers trowel out to these scumbags, they're now "opting out" of their responsibility to provide what we pay for?

NO WAY.

Look up your Congressional representatives here.

Write to them.  Tell them that we can't stand for companies ripping off our citizens and undermining what little "reform" we've been able to enact.  Tell them that insurance companies should not be allowed to "opt out" of our national healthcare plan, and shouldn't be allowed to sell plans that are identifiable as subsidized or reimburse at different rates because they're subsidized.

Citizens get fined if they "opt out."  So why don't insurance companies?  They should be fined so heavily that it's more economical to simply deliver what they're supposed to be delivering: insurance to all of us.

The fact is that this "reform" didn't go far enough.  We should have abolished for-profit healthcare and detached insurance from people's jobs entirely.  This idiotic association cripples our country and renders all talk of "entrepreneurship" or "small business" a sham, an insult, and monumental hypocrisy.  We can't quit dead-end jobs and start a business or be an entrepreneur when our insurance is still inexplicably tied to OUR JOBS!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Covered California Web site is a defective pile of shit.

I don't even know where to begin excoriating this monumental offense to every California taxpayer.  From beginning to end, there is absolutely no excuse for the incompetence and defectiveness of this Web site, TWO YEARS IN.

This year I was denied a health-insurance subsidy.  Why?  Because I MAKE TOO LITTLE.  That's right: I want to pay for health insurance, but the government is TURNING MY MONEY AWAY.  Now that should offend every taxpayer in the country.

But that's not all.  I actually want to report more income to "qualify" for a subsidy.  But I can't, because the CoveredCA Web site can't do simple math.  Look at this pathetic functionality:

What are we to do when we're denied healthcare because a Web site CAN'T DO MULTIPLICATION?

Oh, but there's more.  You can't even fix this mess because if you change anything, even if it's only your income, you're presented with this baffling (and of course defective) list of alleged changes that you made.  Except, of course, that you didn't make any of them except one:

Yes, this will claim that you changed your coverage, even if you didn't.  And there's no harmless "reason" option to select.  For the other entries, you can just select "other."  But not the change of insurance coverage.  Every available "reason" is potentially disqualifying.

And want to get "help" from Covered California?  Good luck.  The "live chat" button has NEVER worked.  Not once since this debacle launched.



It's unbelievable.  Somebody got paid OUR MONEY to create this inexcusably defective pile of shit. And it has sat there, steaming, for two years.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Mac OS Finder: defective, incompetent, embarrassing

It's hard to know where to begin when criticizing the world's worst file browser.  This is going to take a while and a few installments, but let's start with probably the most idiotic defect: its failure to sort with folders at the top.  Year after year, and even after a claimed "total rewrite" of Finder a few years ago, it still doesn't even offer the option to sort folders correctly.  And when I say correctly, I mean following the sort of hierarchical organization most of us learned in junior high school at the latest.


Just another defect that Apple will plead ignorance of.