Faulty equipment? DISH network happy to charge you for it again and again

(via The Consumerist)
Recently, John, a DISH network customer had problems with his satellite dish. Since he’d just had one dish replaced that had died after only 9 months, he felt he was entitled to a replacement. DISH network was only to happy to replace it – for a charge. Read his tale of woe:


Well Memorial Day was going along swimmingly well until I decided to turn the tube on at 8:00 last night after putting my son to bed. When I turned on the TV it showed that the satellite signal was being acquired. No big deal, we had a lot of thunderstorms yesterday and I thought some may still be lurking. I Poked my head out the door and I could still see the sun setting so that wasn’t it. Time to call my friends at Dish Network…

. . .

…made arrangements to send me a “new” tuner FREE OF CHARGE (like they were doing me a favor) all I had to do was pay $14.95 for shipping. I called bullshit on that. I was more than a little irritated that I had to pay $24.95 when the receiver died in April and now they were asking me to pay $14.95 again for a piece of crap tuner that lasted a month. I then asked “Isn’t this under warranty?” No it isn’t, my warranty, when I signed up, was only for 90 days on the installation and on the original equipment. It doesn’t matter that it died a second time, the warranty expired in October…

. . .

So apparently their business model is lease crap equipment to customers, don’t stand behind it, make you jump through hoops to receive fair credit for using their services, and generally not give a shit if you cancel your subscription.

The full story is much better than this snip. Follow the above link for the details.

[tags]Dish Network, Customer service[/tags]


I’ve recently gotten hooked on Sudoku (like so many others, it seems). If you are into Sudoku, you should start visiting BrainBashers to get your daily dose. If the 6 available puzzles each day aren’t enough for you, then hit SuperSudoku for more (free account for 5 puzzles a day or full account for a one-time $9.70 charge for unlimited puzzles – join on their sign-up page).

If you are interested in Sudoku, but want to know more about the backstory/history of it, you should check out Wolfram’s write-up.

The Sudoku was published anonymously by Garns (1979), who created the puzzle at age 74, and then promptly relegated to obscurity. It became popular in Japan starting somewhere between 1984 and 1986 under the name “nanpure,” or Number Place. (Even today, in many Japanese publication, the puzzle is called Number Place, written in English.) The puzzle received a large amount of attention in the United States and Europe in 2005 after a regular Sudoku puzzle began appearing in the London Times. Sadly, Garns died in 1989 before getting a chance to see his creation as a worldwide phenomenon (Shortz 2005, cited in Pegg 2005).

If you still want more, you’ll have to search for it – I can’t possibly list all the good sources of games and information on the game.

I tried to include a Sudoku generator inline here, but it sadly made the rest of the site go away.  At least, it was sad for me.  So just use the above links, especially the Google search link, to find playable online versions.  And I’ll have to wish the possible extra traffic a bye-bye…   🙁

[tags]Sudoku, Suduku, Sodoko[/tags]

Common passwords

(via Schneier on Security)
If you have ever wondered how well brute-force password attack attempts are, you should check out this bit about a password audit at a popular German dating site (which means the article is in German as well – you can babelfish it for a nearly readable translation). Of particular interest is the number out of roughly 100,000 users with 123456 as their password (1375). Almost 850 others tried to be more clever and used the variations 12345, 12345678, or 123456789 as their password. The good news is that roughly 40 percent of the passwords were unique. The bad news is only about 40 percent of the passwords were unique.

Having done password audits in the past, I’ve seen things like this before. One place I worked used a list of about 30,000 common words (typically dictionary words, names, cities, common numeric sequences, etc), common passwords (NCC-1701 from Star Trek, CPE1704TKS from War Games, Schrodinger or Einstein, etc), and variations on those (backwards, add 1234 to the end, add 1 at the front and 2 at the end, etc). Against less than 1000 user accounts, we got almost 100 passwords guessed in about 4 hours. This was 10 years ago. Today, it would take much less time to get those passwords, and probably more would be guessed, because more common words and more variations could be included.

Good security isn’t easy. Good security involving people is even harder. People are easily the weakest link in security systems, and therefore the mostly common vector of attack.

[tags]Computer Security, passwords, Password audits[/tags]

“Welcome to Practical Aspects of Modern Cryptography” class online

(via Schneier on Security)

The course material and lecture videos for “Welcome to Practical Aspects of Modern Cryptography”, taught at the University of Washington this past winter, are now available online for free.  If you are looking to learn a bit about Cryptography, be sure to check this out.

[tags]Crypto, Cryptography[/tags]