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Licensing Computer Techs As TV Repairmen 408

Posted by timothy
from the mendacity-mendacity-mendacity dept.
An anonymous reader writes "According to a story in yesterday's New Orleans paper, the Louisiana Radio and Television Technicians Board has sent letters to computer techs demanding fees to license them as radio and TV repairmen. Apparently, as computers drive more home theater applications, the board is trying to classify them as 'playback and recording device equipment,' which the law gives the board power to regulate. It looks more like a money grab, though, since no test is required, just $55 and an affidavit." It seems to me the better question is not whether computers can be defined in many circumstances as playback and recording equipment (hard to get around), but whether this kind of forced classification makes sense in the first place. Disingenuous quote of the day: "We're not trying to swing our arm around a whole bunch of people to get new revenue."
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Licensing Computer Techs As TV Repairmen

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 05, 2004 @07:57PM (#9895126)
    Y'all send in them checks, ya hear?

    Yours Truly,
    The Fatty McTax.
  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Thursday August 05, 2004 @07:57PM (#9895128) Homepage Journal
    How will paranoids get in home service?

    "Awright, it's out there on the grass, yew juss fixit and then back away from it, slow like."

  • Article text (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Computer techs hit with fee for license
    But it's coming from radio, TV industry
    Wednesday, August 04, 2004
    By Stewart Yerton
    Business writer

    For the past five years, Jarrod Broussard has run a small computer consulting company, helping business and residential customers deal with a host of problems: from designing Web sites and hosting them, to setting up networks, to troubleshooting software problems and eliminating the viruses that often plague today's computers.

    To Broussard, such work made him a computer te
  • by dgrgich (179442) * <drew@@@grgich...org> on Thursday August 05, 2004 @07:57PM (#9895132) Homepage
    Louisiana is also attempting to force lawyers to license themselves as garbage collectors. Surprisingly, the Louisiana Bar Association, when asked for comment, indicated that they agreed with the decision.
  • I can't fix most TVs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lord Kano (13027) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @07:58PM (#9895133) Homepage Journal
    and most TV repairmen can't fix computers.

    It's obviously a way to try to grap money.

    LK
    • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:22PM (#9895345)
      I would imagine that TV repairmen were originally regulated because they had to know how to safely work on open TV cabinets containing dangerous high voltages, operate test equipment on those high voltage circuits, and install suitable replacement parts that wouldn't catch on fire.

      I doubt that most computer repair techs have ever opened a monitor (or even a power supply). The entire thing is treated as a disposable unit. Most servicable computer components are relatively idiot-proof, only fit into the appropriate sockets, and operate at no more than 12V.

      If they weren't just going for a money grab, they'd exempt all computer techs who don't open up monitors or power supplies.

      • by Entropius (188861) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:29PM (#9895383)
        Which is all of them.

        I've been fixing computers for people for a long while, and have never had to open a CRT or power supply. They're just not the sorts of things that break, especially since 90% of repair requests involve cleaning up after Microsoft and are software-only.
        • by Lord Kano (13027) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:35PM (#9895433) Homepage Journal
          Which is all of them.

          I disagree.

          I've been fixing computers for people for a long while, and have never had to open a CRT or power supply. They're just not the sorts of things that break, especially since 90% of repair requests involve cleaning up after Microsoft and are software-only.

          I don't know about the work you do, but I've had to open a few monitors. Especially when I was doing repair work for Apple. I couldn't tell you how many analog/power boards I replaced in Summer 2000 iMacs. I have a Gateway monitor on my desk right now that was declared junk. I opened it up, fixed it and have been using it for nearly 5 years. Not a bad lifespan for a free piece of hardware.

          I open every dead power supply that I come across to grab the fans. You never know when a 12V fan will come in handy.

          LK
          • by xiando (770382) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:50PM (#9895531) Homepage Journal
            As another comment said, get that lisence if you actually do open up CRT monitors and power supplies.

            I do fix other peoples computers from time to time. Home computers. I never opened a CRT monitor. Because I do not know "electronics", I know computers. If the PSU breaks, I get a new PSU. The PC is "repaired", the PSU is broken.

            So I don't get why you would need a paper saying you can do "high volate" (I belive that's why "not just anyone" was supposed to open av TV 50 years ago..). I don't. I do computers. If repairing PSUs is your thing, then do get that lisence. But wait, a PSU doesn't do playback and ANYONE can repair that, apparently, fixing a computer by replaceing a broken PSU, a square box you, as already stressed, DON'T open.. lol
          • I hear you on the fans. I've also fixed many a noisy, soon-to-be-dead power supply by just oiling the fan. I use the fans in all sorts of other projects too. Recently I installed a five-inch 12v fan out of a dead Dell Poweredge to increase my room's AC flow. It's about 15 degrees cooler now than it was, and it's been 108 outside.
          • "I opened it up, fixed it and have been using it for nearly 5 years. Not a bad lifespan for a free piece of hardware."

            Only in the computing industry... I have some of my dad's powertools (10 years old), drive my grandmother's car (39 years old), got some of my great granddad's hand tools (70? years old). The computing model really annoys me, this is just not sustainable, the world is drowning under a sea of thrown out crap. Why can't we build stuff to last a bit longer? or more significantly design syst

        • by dmaxwell (43234)
          Apple is phasing out CRTs so this won't be true much longer but Apple Certified Technicians are indeed expected to be able to service Apple monitors. The Desktop Certification course contains a high voltage safety portion that has to be passed to get the certification.

          For that matter, LCD panels have inverters in them that can give quite a nasty shock. Apple also expects techs to be able to change out inverters and the lcd itself. Even if you're not working on Apples, it isn't uncommon to have to turn do
        • by DarkOx (621550) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @09:30PM (#9895774) Journal
          Well, let me tell you that a real computer repair shop will have a service depot with people who do work at the electronics level. I work in my companies IT department but sometimes I help the service guys when they are under the gun with a back log. I know only enough electronics to be helpful with basic stuff like testing caps and de-soldering and replacing identical parts based on a sheet of most common failuers until something works. Some of those guys are really smart though and know their stuff. Its incrdible some of the stuff I would have labeled as lost causes that they can have fixed in no-time flat. There service everything from IBM Iserise equipment doing fine detail work on tape drives all the way down to label printers, which most often you just hit with something.

          The point of my comment is this though. The people doing that work for us are EEs, they have credited degrees in Electrical Engineering and many are licensed as EEs. Considering the people who are doing this kinda repair work are already well licensed and covered. It seems insulting to license them again as "repair men"/.
        • by Macgrrl (762836)

          When I used to work as an Apple Tech, is was rated to repair monitors (CRTs) and did.

          Power fluctuations could cause the analog baords or the power supply boards on the CRT assembly to fail - usually if a capacitor overloaded. The Performa/PM 5200 model in particular was prone to these problems. In addition to replacing the faulty components, you would then have to 'configure' the display, aligning the image, keystone, etc...

          Given most newer style digital displays allow you to play with the alignment contr

      • Let us not forget that an improperly wired CRT will emit X Rays.

        For a TV repairman, it's important to know about this sort of thing.

        If a computer tech doesn't know what he's doing, he will be out of work shortly and he isn't going to cause anyone to get leukemia.

        LK
        • by Lehk228 (705449) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:50PM (#9895530) Journal
          would you care to elaborate on what type of "improper" wiring will cause a CRT to emit X-rays

          *scribbles notes furiously*
          *looks for old CRT*
          • by Lord Kano (13027) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @09:36PM (#9895805) Homepage Journal
            would you care to elaborate on what type of "improper" wiring will cause a CRT to emit X-rays

            Just because YOU never heard of it, doesn't mean that it's not true.

            Have a look [monitorworld.com] at this.

            When the electrons strike the phosphor, shadow mask and other screen components, x-rays are produced. The amount and energy of the x-rays depends on the accelerating voltage. The relatively low voltages in CRT's (compared to commercial x-ray machines) means that relatively low quantities of low energy x-rays are produced and modern monitors are so well shielded, that there is no concern of being irradiated over time.

            This only applies when things are operating to spec, if some inept repairman steps up the accelerating voltage you will be exposed to X-Rays.

            LK
          • by Skuld-Chan (302449) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:49PM (#9896174)
            If you increase a tv tube's anode past its specification (like 35,000 volts, when it requires 25,000 volts) it will emit xray's.
        • "Let us not forget that an improperly wired CRT will emit X Rays"

          Care to reach under your butt and pull out a cite to this amazing statement?
          • by randyest (589159) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @09:16PM (#9895673) Homepage
            Not having been anywhere the odious "source" of the grandparent poster's claim (thankfully,) I can only provide a cite to the contrary [monitorworld.com]

            CRT's (Cathode Ray Tubes) direct a beam of electrons at a thin layer of phosphor which coats the screen on your monitor. When the electrons strike the phosphor, shadow mask and other screen components, x-rays are produced. The amount and energy of the x-rays depends on the accelerating voltage. The relatively low voltages in CRT's (compared to commercial x-ray machines) means that relatively low quantities of low energy x-rays are produced and modern monitors are so well shielded, that there is no concern of being irradiated over time. Though it is possible for a damaged monitor to emit x-ray radiation, it is unlikely that harmful amounts will be released, and most x-rays would be directed towards the back or sides of the monitor. Any damage to the front of the CRT severe enough to increase x-ray emission would cause the CRT to implode.

            Ya know, if you're smart enough to ignore this sort of stuff (or vain enough to try to correct them,) /. can be hilarious for the amazing level of confidence maintained by some while posting the most outrageous, usually unsupported, and sometimes unsupportable nonsense ever uttered.
        • by tkrotchko (124118) * on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:21PM (#9896040) Homepage
          " Let us not forget that an improperly wired CRT will emit X Rays."

          According to this link:
          http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/consumer/TVRad.html

          There's never been a case where this has happened. Is this because its not possible to do, or because all TV repairmen are licensed and all exercise extreme caution when wiring CRTs?

          Incidentally, do you know anyone who has ever rewired a CRT? When is a re-wiring advisable? Is it an annual thing, or just when the wires get old?
      • by pla (258480) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:41PM (#9895473) Journal
        I would imagine that TV repairmen were originally regulated because they had to know how to safely work on open TV cabinets containing dangerous high voltages, operate test equipment on those high voltage circuits, and install suitable replacement parts that wouldn't catch on fire.

        I worry about this particular money grab for exactly that reason...

        Everyone so far has complained that PC techs have very little in common with TV repairmen, and should not need licensure under the same rules.

        I would point out the flip side to that - Under this wonderful scheme, Lousiana would suddenly have a lot of "licensed" TV repairmen who had no clue how to safely (or successfully, for that matter) repair an actual TV.

        My suggestion for all the geeks annoyed by getting such a letter? Send in your $55, add "TV Repair" to your shingle, and assuming you survive your first electrocution, sue the hell out of the state for making you think you had the skills needed to safely do that job... "Well, they said I could, and in fact, they even said I had to!"
      • >I doubt that most computer repair techs have ever opened a monitor (or even a power supply). The entire thing is treated as a disposable unit.

        And if they did open the power supply with it on, they won't do it again. Touch the wrong thing and it hurts. A lot.

        • You have a good point, but please be aware that, even if the power is off, unplugged, and it's sitting 50' feet from the nearest outlet, a monitor or TV can still shock you to death. There are very large high-voltage capacitors in there, and if you don't know how to safely discharge them (and still avoid them!) you will get hurt.

          Unplugging isn't enough when it comes to CRTs!
      • Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by bs_02_06_02 (670476) on Friday August 06, 2004 @09:39AM (#9898429)
        I would imagine that TV repairmen were originally regulated because they had to know how to safely work on open TV cabinets containing dangerous high voltages, operate test equipment on those high voltage circuits, and install suitable replacement parts that wouldn't catch on fire.

        So you're saying that the government should require anyone who cracks open a TV set to have a license? No more fix-it-at-home episodes? Billy Bob can't drink a six-pack, get out the screwdriver and augment his gymnastics skills with the flyback transformer?

        Licenses are required to protect consumers from ripoff artists. Otherwise, you'd have corner shops with con artists "fixing" TVs.
        Back in the old days of tube TVs, it was very easy to take a damaged TV from a naive client, declare it a total loss by "demonstrating" how badly the TV was broken, and offer to buy it for $25 as a "parts" chassis.
        Then, put all the tubes back in, fix the original minor problem for $10, tune it up a little and sell it for $200 to someone else. Then wait for the next moron to walk through the door and attempt to swindle them too! A state agency with a licensing plan has a complaint system. Several complaints, and an inspector stops in, maybe to suspend the license.

        Back in the 60's and 70's, you could find tube testers at the hardware and grocery stores. Anyone with a screwdriver and some patience could at least get their TV up and running by bringing in dead tubes, checking them in the tube tester, and replacing them. Tuning was a bit more tricky, but it was possible if you learned a few tricks.

        Editorial Mode: ON
        PCs are simply a pain-in-the-ass. After chasing hardware and software problems for other people for the past 15+ years, I tell you, it's not worth $75 an hour to do it. The calls never stop, and most people generally believe that each incident is directly related to the first service call. They feel that they should only have to pay $75 once, and that everything after that is free. If you enjoy peace and quiet, strict enforcement of the $75/hour fee is required. If you perform one favor, somehow, everyone hears about it and you've got dozens of others who expect the same treatment. It's not worth it.

        The only thing worse than fixing PCs is fixing someone else's stovepipe network!
    • TV reapir dudes (Score:2, Interesting)

      by zogger (617870)
      just my anecdotal, but I've been to two differnt TV repair shops in the past two years,once for a monitor repair (not worth it cost wise but possible) and once for a vcr part (unobtanium) both places had stacks of computers and monitors in them, and the guys there did all manner of repairs, in fact, more repairs on computers (real repairs, not just component swapping) than the average whitebox shop I have been in. I found both the guys to be quite hip and knowledgeable computer users and techs. They got int
  • by BrynM (217883) * on Thursday August 05, 2004 @07:59PM (#9895146) Homepage Journal
    Technically, in California you have to be a licensed appliance and electronics repair person already. It's just not enforced (that wouldn't go over well in San Jose). I wish I had time to find a better link to source, but here's [ca.gov] a link.
    • Actually it is enforced, just not uniformly. I run a small consulting firm on the side doing low lost technology assistance for home based businesses (mostly custom software, but I do a bit of HW as well), and I've had my BEAR license for a while. Apparently I stole a contract from someone with a license, they turned me in, and I received a warning letter from the state advising me that I faced fines and prosecution for operating an electronics repair business without the proper permits.

      Today I pay $165 a
  • by bravehamster (44836) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:00PM (#9895148) Homepage Journal
    Since the radio is just a component of the car, the car as a whole could be considered a playback device. Are they sending this extortion attempt to car mechanics? No? Funny that...

    • Are they sending this extortion attempt to car mechanics? No? Funny that...

      You've got a person who spends all day at a keyboard, versus a person who's adept at wielding a tire iron and can use a pneumatic wrench to remove all your (car's) nuts in five seconds flat. Now...which one would you chose as an extortion target? :-)

  • A+ for TV repair (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ShineyMcShine (799387)
    It works both ways, A+ for the TV guy and TV license for computer tech.
  • Oh cool (Score:2, Interesting)

    by huber (723453)
    Nothing against tv repair men, it is a very technical skill in many respects, but i didnt pay $28,000 for 4 years of school to be registered as a tv repair man.
  • by ElForesto (763160) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `otserofle'> on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:01PM (#9895164) Homepage
    It follows a disturbing pattern of "licensing for no purpose" that has been firmly established as standard operating procedure in this country for decades. We license driving, marriage, fishing, hunting, and now WORKING? What's next? An oxygen license? I hope plenty of IT workers stand up and say "hell no" in a massive act of civil disobedience. For that matter, let the TV and radio guys do it too!
    • by LostCluster (625375) * on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:12PM (#9895262)
      They all have a purpose...

      Driving -- for the safety of the road. Those drivers who prove themselves unsafe are removed.
      Marriage -- the license isn't as much a permission as a document proving it happened on the public record.
      Fishing/hunting -- to count limit the number of people who do so. If requests outnumber the number of animals that are meant to be taken, they won't approve them all and/or stop issuing.
    • Stop complaining! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 2nd Post! (213333) <gundbear@@@pacbell...net> on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:14PM (#9895279) Homepage
      Go run for office and fix it already!

      Anyway, I *like* that there is a driving license. I wish it were *more* difficult.

      Marriage... that one is less useful now than it might have been 100 years ago. And with common law marriages, quite useless, though lots of states don't recognize common law marriage.

      Fishing and hunting I'll agree too as I don't think we should have unlicensed folk with guns shooting at things. At the least, it limits them.

      Essentially licensing is a force to limit, and in certain things I think that's good.
      • Actually... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ElForesto (763160)

        I'm already running for office (3rd time), and I'm the county chair of a political party (not the Republicrats). And now to address your points...

        Driver's licenses do not do anything to ensure safe driving. Not wanting to get into an accident ensures safe driving. Not wanting to get cited or hauled to jail ensures safe driving. How does paying a couple of dollars every few years (with no testing) ensure that I drive safer? It doesn't. I would personally feel safer if the truly unsafe drivers (speeding to

        • Re:Actually... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Minna Kirai (624281) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @11:11PM (#9896316)
          Driver's licenses do not do anything to ensure safe driving.

          You're wrong. (So is this weirdo [slashdot.org]).

          How does paying a couple of dollars every few years (with no testing) ensure that I drive safer?

          You're incorrectly focusing on license-renewal, which is actually less important than the initial issuance, which is what really improves safety. Or do you think that I'd really be fine to allow 14-year olds to get in cars and do 65 on the highway without at least first convincing a backseat cop that he's fundamentally competent?
    • And NOW working? Uh, no, text time you visit your neighborhood licensed teacher, ask her how much it set her back.
    • Hey,where ya at? This is Louisana! Home of Edwin Edwards. Of course it's just a money grab.

      If they really do enforce this, computer techs will just leave the state (I did). Everyone who is left will simply give $10 and a jar of Roue to their cousin and they'll take care of it.

      If your family hasn't lived in Louisana for 300 years (and hasn't been making pay offs and arrangements for that long) then just expect to get hit with huge 'fees' and 'adjustments' if you're trying to make a living in Loui
      • "What a great meal! Could you bring us the check?"
        "What! The Check? Remy, you done know your money's no good here!"
        "By the way, did I introduce Miss Ann Osboure of the Federal District Attorney's Office? And, could you bring THE check?, please"
        "oh, the Check! Why sure Remy, comin' right up"

        "Ahh, don't go gettin' your pretty head all upset there, 'cher. It's just the way we do things down here in the Big Easy."

        Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin in
        The Big Easy 1986

        • Laisse les bon tons roulez!

          Ico Ico, jack kee mo fee nai nay!

          Every year, at carnival time,
          we make a new suit!
          Red Yellow Green Purple and Blue,
          we make a new suit!

          "There's two of them. One is a quiet, dark-haired gentleman named Louis. He will leave you alone if you show the sign of the cross. Not because it affects him, but because he respects it. The other one, the blond one, talks like a gangster and is truly evil. Avoid this one."

          STELLA!

          Well, I went on down to the Audo
      • Not according to this [washingtontimes.com]

        And thats from when Buddy was *in* office. And before you ask, why yes I am from Rhode Island, born and raised.

        • Only if your judging by the number of convictions. And Mississippi wins because they have every young idealist in the country watching them, trying to make their reputation.

          I grew up in Rhode Island, by Sand Pond in Warwick. If I had been ten years younger and a few IQ points dumber, I would have been burned to death in the The Station just like everyone else.
          The owner had complaits about the noise, so instead of getting a professional acoustic consultation, he goes to his brother who gets him a great
    • What's next? An oxygen license?

      What... are you trying to tell me that this license I paid $179 for was not even needed?

      Damn! I'm going to have to sue my state! Worthless piece of CRAP.....
    • What's next? An oxygen license?

      Actually, you already need an oxygen license. Oxygen is actually a drug and to administer it to someone else, you need to have EMT or dotor/nurse training. Of course, there's nothing stopping you going to Linde gas and buying 50L of compressed O2 yourself, but if you give it to someone else and they die, you can be held responsable.

      DAN (Divers Alert Network) offer a course on how to provide oxygen for scuba diving injures involving DCS. At the end of it you recieve a 'li

  • Whats next? (Score:5, Funny)

    by DBA_01123 (770195) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:02PM (#9895174)
    Whats next automechanics having to get licenses as ferriers to change tires?
  • Don't license (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pholower (739868) * <(longwoodtrail) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:03PM (#9895185) Homepage Journal
    In the end, Brohn acknowledged, the licensing system as it is now envisioned will not fulfill its stated purpose of ensuring consumers that a licensed worker will have the skills that Brohn said are needed to set up the new computer-based media systems. By requiring little more than a fee and a letter from a boss or client, Brohn admitted, the board is doing little to control the quality of licensees.

    "That is the problem with a grandfather clause," he said. "There is nothing that we can do about that."

    Sure there is, don't license computer technicians!

  • Louisiana = Alabama (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zaranne (733967) <zaranne17.gmail@com> on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:06PM (#9895206) Homepage Journal
    This is same sort of stupid stuff that Alabama pulls. They charge a licensing fee to sell calculators in the state. This is from a law made in the 1800's when cash registers were introduced. I think politicians thought "if it takes money, we should get some of it." They threw "them thar' cal-u-lating machines" in since they can be used to calculate money.

  • > "We're not trying to swing our arm around a whole bunch of people to get new revenue."

    "We are, however, quite diligently working on swinging our arm around $55!"

  • by Vandil X (636030) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:09PM (#9895233)
    According the the RIAA, MPAA, the NFL, and several other entertainment groups, playing broadcasted or distributed entertainment on a computer is against the law....

    ...So how can a local government body issue people a license to repair lawbreaking equipment?
    • by Esion Modnar (632431) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:17PM (#9895315)
      So how can a local government body issue people a license to repair lawbreaking equipment?

      Same way they can demand you pay a tax on all the marijuana you (not you personally) sell. You can actually buy marijuana tax stamps, which you are required to place on all bags of the stuff.

      Weird. "Put these stamps on all the bags of the stuff we'll send you to jail for if we catch you."

      • by YankeeInExile (577704) * on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:36PM (#9895442) Homepage Journal

        I have always heard rumors of Marijuana Tax Stamps and the like, so I did a little googling. Here's a random sample from Kansas:

        Drug dealers, as defined above, are required by law to purchase tax stamps from the Department of Revenue's Business Tax Bureau (K.S.A. 79-5204). In order to protect against any possible violation of the self-incrimination constitutional protection, a dealer is not required to give his/her name or address when purchasing stamps and the Business Tax Bureau is prohibited from sharing any information relating to the purchase of drug tax stamps with law enforcement or anyone else
        There is other text http://www.ksrevenue.org/faqs-abcdrugtax.htm [ksrevenue.org] for your amusement.
        • It's so the prosecutors can add an additional charge when they arrest the drug dealer, that's all. Remember, Al Capone was not put away for killing people or shooting up businesses. He was put away, in Alcatraz, for tax evasion...
      • Sort of ... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by gstoddart (321705) on Friday August 06, 2004 @10:23AM (#9898778) Homepage
        You can actually buy marijuana tax stamps, which you are required to place on all bags of the stuff.


        While it is true they require you to have the tax stamps, they haven't actually sold the tax stamps in a whole lot of years.

        Since they never actually issue the stamps, nobody can ever be in compliance with the law. Therefore, they effectively make it illegal since they don't give you a (real) route to make it legal.

        Go ahead, try and get yourself some of those stamps. :-P

    • The IRS can require you to report all income, including from your drug deals, stolen property you fence, and income from illegal gambling...

      and penalize you for failure to do so..

  • by RealAlaskan (576404) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:11PM (#9895247) Homepage Journal
    From the fine article:
    Brohn [ Stanley Brohn, secretary of the Radio and Television Technicians Board...] said the letter sent to Broussard and others was misleading in stating that the license requirement would apply to a broad range of computer technicians and consultants, and not simply those wanting to set up home entertainment systems.
    So, just maybe, they are simply trying (clumsily, but legitimately) to enforce an existing law as it was intended to be used. If they tell computer techs who aren't trying to specialize in home theater systems that they aren't subject to the tax, we'll know that the government there is honest. Or is that an oxymoron?

    Of course, the idea of licensing TV repairmen is neither more nor less insane than the idea of calling computer repairmen TV repairmen. All it accomplishes is to restrict the supply and drive up the prices, hurting the very public it was ``supposed to protect''.

    • No, they are scum (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770)
      If there was any sort of testing involved, I'd buy it. I understanding licensing when there is a test. The point is to try and ensure some minimal level of competence. True, a written test does not necessitate real world skills, but at least it weeds out the total bozos.

      Like take car audio. Many (most even) manufacturers won't warentee their equipment unless it's "professionally installed". The reason is because there exists the good likelyhood of fuckup if some dumb teenager just wires it up themselves (

  • sign me up! (Score:3, Funny)

    by to_kallon (778547) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:12PM (#9895257)
    i think it's a great idea, given proper expansion. for instance, i'd be willing to pay $100 if i could call myself a doctor and get paid like one. or for $75 you could call yourself a pilot and get to fly around. of course, becoming a lawyer would be free, just as encouragement.
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    - Looks like even better offer then the 2 year CS, is not it? :D

  • by Timesprout (579035) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:16PM (#9895301)
    The tv repair man producing his tools and getting it from the lady of the house and 2 of her most intimate friends was a fantasy but a geek connecting his laptop to the tv and getting the same treatment is just so not going to happen.
  • by Bodhammer (559311) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:17PM (#9895304)
    Who is John Galt? [compuball.com]

    There is no nonsense so errant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action.
    Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

    For every action there is an equal and opposite government program.
    Bob Wells

    Government is too big and too important to be left to the politicians.
    Chester Bowles (1901 - 1986)

    After two years in Washington, I often long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood.
    Fred Thompson, Speech before the Commonwealth Club of California

    You know what's interesting about Washington? It's the kind of place where second-guessing has become second nature.
    George W. Bush, Speech on May 17, 2002
    Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.

    H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)
    I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time.
    H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

    The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office.
    H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

    Whenever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship.
    Harry S Truman (1884 - 1972), Lecture at Columbia University, 28 Apr. 1959

    You will find that the State is the kind of organization which, though it does big things badly, does small things badly, too.
    John Kenneth Galbraith (1908 - )

    The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop.
    P. J. O'Rourke (1947 - )

    Sure there are dishonest men in local government. But there are dishonest men in national government too.
    Richard M. Nixon (1913 - 1994)

    So they [the Government] go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent.
    Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965), Hansard, November 12, 1936

    Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.
    Tom Robbins (1936 - )

    It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.
    Voltaire (1694 - 1778)

    I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
    Will Rogers (1879 - 1935), Saturday Review, Aug. 25, 1962

    There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.
    Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)

    The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.
    William H. Borah

  • Good grief (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Flower (31351) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:23PM (#9895349) Homepage
    Just pass the cost to your customers and make a tidy profit at it over time. If someone complains explain the whole stupid situation for them and they can vote the idiots out of office.

    Like this isn't what will happen anyway.

  • Recording+Playback (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StormReaver (59959) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:27PM (#9895368)
    During either the DeCSS suit, the DMCA hearings, or a RIAA/MPAA suit (I can't remember which), the court specifically ruled that computers were not playback and recording devices and thus did not fall into the realm of protected devices for fair use copying.

    Either computers are not such devices as the court ruling indicated, and thus this money grab is illegal, or computers are such devices and thus protected by fair use copying exemptions to the chagrin of the RIAA/MPAA.
  • Don't pooh pooh it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OYAHHH (322809) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:27PM (#9895371) Homepage
    For those of you,

    Who are staring down the double barreled outsourcing monster you might want to consider a talent for fixing TVs as a godsend.

    I mean, who in their right mind is gonna ship a 60 inch plasma TV to india for repair? Gotta be done locally, get the drift....

    Plus, from everything I've ever seen those TV repair guys make some pretty good dough while getting to play with all kinds of electronic gadgetry.

  • by DrLudicrous (607375) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:28PM (#9895372) Homepage
    Apparently, Louisiana is well-known for this kind of crap. In order to be a florist in Louisiana, you have to be licensed. Achieving this requires taking a $150 exam before a committee. Of course, the committee is composed of other local florists, to whom you represent competition. For a quick blurb on this, and the effort to eradicate (which has already failed), check out:

    http://www.2theadvocate.com/stories/071504/opi_edi 2001.shtml [2theadvocate.com]

    • Louisiana is a different place than the rest of the country. First off, the state uses Napoleanic Code (which is derived from Roman Law) while the rest of the nation is using English Common Law. Every governmental position in the state is elected, NONE are appointed.

      Secondly, the state has continously put political machines into office. Fmr. Gov. Edwin Edwards (3-term governor) is currently serving a prison sentence in Dallas because of a variety of charges, basically stemming from taking bribes from casinos. Then back in the day, we had Huey Long, followed by his brother Earl Long. Huey even had a box where he kept all the kickbacks from state businesses and employees.

      Hell, to become a notary public in Louisiana, you've got to get approval from the Governor!

      The state has some of the most corrupt, crooked, and just plain old screwed up politics in the nation. Every profession you can think of has to be licensed - and especially now, because the state is running low on cash (thank you Kathleen Blanco), taxes are extremely high.

      Most businesses just stay out of Louisiana since the cost of doing business there, unless you know somebody, is extreme. Its good-ole-boy politics at its finest.
  • Brohn confirmed that he signed the letter but said he didn't write it.
    "That wasn't my choice of words," he said.


    Dear Mr. Brohn...

    Take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut.


    Oh, don't like that? Sorry, not my words, I just added my name to 'em for this post. You'll have to take the issue up with Kurt Vonnegut.
  • "We're not going after computer technicians," he said. "The only thing we're doing is giving an opportunity for computer technicians to get into the radio and television side of the business."

    Who wants to miss such a great opportunity?
  • I saw this kind of change happening about a year ago. When I ran the idea past my other IT oriented buddies, they laughed at me.

    How insane it was that computer technical services would be in the same bag as TV repairmen.
    Not meaning any disrespect to TV repairmen, obviously.
  • That's the same state that decided to pick between a KKK member and a known crook [splcenter.org] for governor in 1991. It's a nice place to visit... I guess it's to their credit that the crook won by an extremely narrow margin??
  • What's a "repair"? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by YouHaveSnail (202852) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:40PM (#9895466)
    What specific actions constitute a "repair"?

    Backing up a hard drive?
    Swapping one hard drive for another?
    Swapping one hard drive for another because the first had failed?
    Re-installing Windows?
    Replacing Windows with Linux?
    Modifying the Windows registry?
    Unplugging one mouse and plugging in another?
    Brushing dirt from the lens of a (optical) mouse?
    Moving files around?

    There are so many ways that a computer can "break" that don't require getting out your soldering iron... I'd think it'd be difficult to differentiate between someone who "repairs" computers and someone who "supports" computers.
    • Actually, I think a lot of repairmen simply replace faulty components rather than try to mend them. I am thinking of a bad compressor on a fridge that's simply replaced. Belts on a dryer that are old and replaced. Auto mechanics replacing entire exhaust systems. I see the point you were trying to make, however the old image of repairmen actually fixing something has gone out of fashion. Most of them just find the broken part and replace it. So in that sense, if the hard drive is broken, replace it. W
      • by YouHaveSnail (202852) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @11:37PM (#9896483)
        Replacing Windows with Linux? I haven't heard of that one, but who knows.

        There are those who consider that any PC with Windows installed is "broken" in any number of ways and can only be fixed by means of drastic measures. The point, of course, is that in order to require "repair men" to obtain a license, you'd have to come up with some sort of definition of what constitutes a "repair," or of the conditions under which a computer is "broken."

        I'm not saying old people are dumb, it's just hard for them sometimes to understand what a desktop is.

        Okay, I'll bite: what's a desktop?

        Answer: the desktop is an illusion, and a vague metaphor. Back in the early days of Macintosh, the metaphor a bit more concrete than it is now. In addition to the Trash and document icons that looked like sheets of paper, we had desk accessories similar to those you might find on a real desk (scrap book, puzzle, clock, note pad, etc.) and applications that tried hard to support the "desktop" metaphor. Most importantly, Apple shipped an introductory program which explained the metaphor and taught people to do things like point, click, drag, and use menus. These days, GUI's are a lot more complicated, and there's an awful lot that doesn't fit into the desktop metaphor at all. Many, if not most, applications are designed with complete disregard for the metaphor. In short, the "desktop" notion has pretty well outlived its usefulness. It's no surprise that new users (young or old) have a hard time figuring out what a "desktop" is, because today's interfaces give you darn little clue.

        I can't wait in 50 years when most people will have grown up with computers and the basics of them will be familiar.

        Fifty years from now, we'll have about as much clue about the tech du jour as our grandparents have now. Stuff most people would consider "basics" will almost certainly change. The "desktop" business will surely have given up the ghost by then, and people will have a hard time undestanding why you'd want to have a "central" processing unit. New tech based on multistate circuitry could make binary computing seem quaint. Global warming and astronomically expensive energy may give people some badly needed perspective and actually reduce our reliance on electronics. Who knows?

        So the first time you hear yourself tell your grandchildren "Back when I was your age, we used machines called 'computers' to do that...", just remember: you heard it here first.
  • by ejaw5 (570071) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:40PM (#9895468)
    Perhaps I've been lucky (knock on wood) but TVs seem to last a long time with little maintenance. I figure when a TV finally does bite the dust, its served its lifetime well and about time to buy a new one anyway. People aren't calling repairmen to fix knob-controlled tv's embededded into wood frames are they? (wish they had kept the form design around though)
  • Recectly, the state of Minnesota decided that only Certified Electricians can legally install low voltage electrical cable, which includes network and alarm system wiring. Here's http://www.mwpersons.com/articles/3-12-01-licensin g.html [mwpersons.com]one man's story with a link to the relevant code. Gotta make sure those network cables don't electrocute anybody.
  • And yet somehow, it's still a mystery as to why the Louisiana economy has been in the toilet for 20 years...
  • "For example, Brohn said, some high definition television monitors are designed to be driven by computers, and in such instances, the work should be done by a certified television and radio technician to ensure that the expensive equipment is not damaged, Brohn said."

    Oh please! If you're opening up the monitor in order to repair it then its clear that the licensing requirement applies, but if you're fixing computer equipment or attaching some cables to a monitor then you shouldn't need a license from the Ra

  • This is great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Deanasc (201050) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:00PM (#9895945) Homepage Journal
    For the low LOW price of 55 bucks I can pad my resume with "Radio and TV Repairman".
  • by humankind (704050) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @11:22PM (#9896381) Journal
    Being in New Orleans, I got wind of this about a week ago and was amused - there's a grass roots effort to oppose this bone-headed idea. Unfortunately, this is a prime example of how chaotic and irrational the government down here is. Everything you've heard is basically true.

    We spawn politicians that have the dubious distinction of removing park benches as a means to stop homeless people, school board members that spend more money on lawsuits than they do schools, a monopoly daily newspaper that all throughout 1999 referred to the year 2000 as "the millennium" with a small blurb that said, "some purists believe the millennium begins in 2001", neo-nazi state representatives, indicted governors, etc. The former governor repealed the mandatory helmet law for motorcyclists... I could go on and on... This is one messed up area... This latest fiasco is more of the same.

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