The Netherlands’ national airline is encouraging people not to fly

Found on Quartz on Sunday, 07 July 2019
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In a June 29 open letter from its CEO, Pieter Elbers, the airline invited air travelers to make “responsible decisions about flying,” and encouraged customers to invest in the airline’s carbon offsetting scheme, CO2ZERO.

Environmentally conscious customers, especially in Europe, are increasingly opting out of flying, which contributes about 2.5% of global emissions.

When you can fly around for pocket change, then something has clearly gone wrong.

Frontier customer bought his own router—but has to pay $10 rental fee anyway

Found on Ars Technica on Wednesday, 03 July 2019
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Son and his wife, Karen, still use that FiOS router with their Frontier service at their home in a suburb near Dallas, and Son says Frontier never provided him with another router. But Frontier started charging them $5 a month for what's listed as a "Wi-Fi Router" fee on their bill, and the company raised the router fee to $10 a month in April of this year.

Son filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission; Frontier responded to the complaint but stuck to its position that he has to pay the fee. A voicemail that Frontier left with Son and his wife said the company informed the FCC that "the router monthly charge is an applicable fee, and it will continue to be billed."

Time for a lawsuit. It is ridiculous that Frontier assumes it can demand money for a feature that is not wanted, needed, or used.

879% drug price hike is one of 3,400 in 2019 so far; rate of hikes increasing

Found on Ars Technica on Tuesday, 02 July 2019
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The average price increase per drug was 10.5%, a rate around five times that of inflation. About 40 of the drugs saw triple-digit increases. That includes a generic version of the antidepressant Prozac, which saw a price increase of 879%.

"Requests and public shaming haven't worked," Michael Rea, chief executive of RX Savings Solutions, told Reuters last December.

If being nice does not work, make laws for it.

Microsoft's Ebook Apocalypse Shows the Dark Side of DRM

Found on Wired on Sunday, 30 June 2019
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Microsoft made the announcement in April that it would shutter the Microsoft Store’s books section for good.

And starting as soon as this week, it’s going to remove all purchased books from the libraries of those who bought them.

Microsoft will refund customers in full for what they paid, plus an extra $25 if they made annotations or mark-ups.

For certain types of readers, particularly lawyers and academics, markups and annotations can be worth far more than $25.

Just refuse to buy products infected with DRM malware.

Boeing's 737 Max Software Outsourced to $9-an-Hour Engineers

Found on Bloomberg on Saturday, 29 June 2019
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The Max software -- plagued by issues that could keep the planes grounded months longer after U.S. regulators this week revealed a new flaw -- was developed at a time Boeing was laying off experienced engineers and pressing suppliers to cut costs.

Rabin, the former software engineer, recalled one manager saying at an all-hands meeting that Boeing didn’t need senior engineers because its products were mature.

Cutting costs is not a viable long term business plan. All this would be such a perfect and costly lesson to teach management that outsourcing is not a solution for everything if there would no be 346 reasons why it should have never happened in the first place.

Robocalls Swamp Hospitals As The Trump FCC Pretends To Fix The Problem

Found on Techdirt on Monday, 24 June 2019
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Despite endless government initiatives and countless promises from the telecom sector, our national robocall hell continues. Robocalls from telemarketers continue to be the subject the FCC receives the most complaints about (200,000 complaints annually, making up 60% of all FCC complaints), and recent data from the Robocall Index indicates that the problem is only getting worse.

The problem will only get worse until somebody in government grows a spine and mandates that all carriers must implement anti-spoofing tech and provide completely free robocall-blocking tools to consumers by default, giving consumers full control over who can call them and when.

Spam works via more than one medium it seems. If it didn't, it would not exist.

Slack: Why is this loss-making tech firm worth $20bn?

Found on BBC News on Sunday, 23 June 2019
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That values the Silicon Valley-based business at $20bn, not bad for a messaging app that was only publicly released in 2014 and has never turned a profit.

The biggest corporate customers pay at least $100,000 (£78,570) a year for the service. But Slack has never made a profit. Although revenue rose 80% to $400m in 2018, losses were $144m.

Slack may not be an email killer. It may, however, offer an answer to the stress of email overload.

It's not. It's just another tool for another niche; and there are competitors like Mattermost which you can self-host to keep the data of your company in your company. It has absolutely no potential at all to even remotely replace email, because you need an account with the repicient's channel. So instead of using a single emailaccount to contact others, you'd have to manage dozens, or even hundreds of accounts.

Facebook content moderators break NDAs to expose shocking working conditions

Found on CNBC on Friday, 21 June 2019
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Workers reported a dirty office environment where they often find pubic hair and bodily waste around their desks.

One worker kept a trash can by her desk to throw up while she was sick since she had already used all her allotted bathroom breaks.

“There will inevitably be employee challenges or dissatisfaction that call our commitment to this work and our partners’ employees into question. When the circumstances warrant action on the part of management, we make sure it happens.”

FB does not really have interest in better working conditions. They already abuse all their users, so why not employees too?

Boeing wanted to wait three years to fix safety alert on 737 Max

Found on LA Times on Wednesday, 12 June 2019
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The company acknowledged that it originally planned to fix a cockpit warning light in 2020 after two key U.S. lawmakers disclosed the company's timetable Friday.

Last month, acting FAA Administrator Daniel Elwell told DeFazio's and Larsen's committee that he wasn't happy Boeing waited 13 months to tell the agency about the problem.

“We will make sure that software anomalies are reported more quickly,” he said.

There are 346 reasons why faster reports would have been a great idea right from the start.

Steven Spielberg Writing Horror Series for Quibi That You Can Only Watch at Night

Found on Variety on Tuesday, 11 June 2019
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Spielberg had an unusual request however: He wanted viewers to only be able to watch the program after midnight. Given that phones can track where it is at the moment — and keep tabs on when the sun rises and sets in its area — Katzenberg and Whitman challenged their engineers to come up with an idea for how to view the show when it’s spooky out.

The result: A clock will appear on phones, ticking down until sun sets in wherever that user is, until it’s completely gone. Then the clock starts ticking again to when the sun comes back up — and the show will disappear until the next night.

This might be a good reason for quite a few people to take a look at releases on the usual well-known websites.