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The Courts Government News

Get a Cable Modem...Go to Jail 91

Hari writes " Here's a story I got linked to from the RISKS forum. Don't just fear "Big Government", fear the "Big Stupid Corporation" too. "Yes, apparently just having cable modem service, and not cable is not something America is ready to handle-maybe the absence of consumption confuses them? Mmm...I love starting my Monday morning with a big dollop of stupidity-it's like Bailey's in the coffee!
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Get a Cable Modem...Go to Jail

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yeah, the "Aviod being served" strategy has its advantages; however, there is an entire cottage industry that acts as a nutralizer. The cop was probably making a "off-duty buck" by acting as the process server.... humm... I wonder if he's allowed to do that in his "offical duties only" prowler... (I would only post that kinda' speculation anonymously, of course)

    Personally, I'm a big propoent of the "flee to a non-extradition country" method of legal problems managment. I mean, at least you force the issue beyond local, state or federal goverment bounds and enter squarely into the high-stakes arena of international law.

    My be a little drastic for an alleged cable fraud perpitrator, but hey, do you really want to live in a country with a legal system that fscked up?

    I don't. ..and you know what? I don't.

    Maybe we should start paying law enforcment officer more and set limits, based on poplulation size, on the number of lawyers that can practice. Otherwise, you're going to get the cottage industry legal system that seems to have taken over the current American Legal System.

    Remember every cop is a criminal and every criminal a saint... and there is very little you do in daily life that isn't a violation of some rule or law.
  • Well as far as it goes, we have much friendlier cable guys up north...

    I live in a building with the same setup as described here, a single cable installation for all the building. So we are 4 people living in this new appartment, just graduated from university.

    We all get jobs in leader telecom companies (which I wont name) so you'll guess we have a 486 sx33 Linux box and as hub ready to take in and share that cable baby. No big deal here, we got our subscription and when we subscribed I asked for "internet Cable service" only, which we got.

    Meanwhile, the previous occupants never bothered to tell the cable company that they were leaving, so we had cable TV for free during 4 more months. Of course 3 letters where sent in that period, we found out what they were about when we got disconnected and called. Just then did they find we had both but paid only one!

    Ok so we get back our cable internet service and a guy will come install the cable filter..

    This guy shows up and actually compliments us for our setup! Justa after VIDEOTRON (our cable company) had told us that it was prohibited to do sucha a thing. I mean what the hell do they care what we do with the bandwidth, since they actuyally charge for anything over 6gig?

    Then he actually installs a signal booster and a pathetic box locking access to the cable plug near our TV set in the living room. Just before leaving he tells us.. "well guys, I'll know who to call when I see people with several computers in one place, each one paying $19.95 for an IP address! Ah BTW, about that lock.. I wouldnt be surprised if you can pick it with a butter-spreading knife! c ya!"

    And they expect us to pay for cable TV service?

    Why dont they sell the linux boxes, hubs, installation time etc. instead?

    My good advice: move to Montreal and dont go ADSL (did you know Bell Canada sells it almost 50% under cost just to get the (!$&@%^($!@ market share?)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 1999 @08:03AM (#1916791)
    My company had placed me in a furnished apartment in a Chicago suburb which, among other things, included cable service. After seeing the flood of ads for MediaOne's broadband service, I signed up.

    It is important to note that they mention at every possible turn that the cable service and the internet service are two completely seperate things.

    Well, it came time to pay the install bill (plus a past month or so of service). I pay it on the credit card (approx $300). Next month, I get a bill in excess of $600. And very quickly, I was without MediaOne Internet service, and cable service!

    Even if I was a deadbeat, they shouldn't have shut off the cable for two reasons -- one, the cable bill was paid by another party (the apartment complex). Two, it is a completely seperate service -- right?

    After working with too many MediaOne people to name, an experience which is far worse than going through the government, they demanded proof from my bank that I made the payment.

    Finally, given the proof, they admit that my ~$300 payment had been added as a charge to my account, and that they had also lost the credit card slip from my "folder".

    The impressions I received is that their offices are not organized, and they have not thought out all the different cases of service. Like the author of the article, before that date, I was not their customer, but what was different is that I was legally receiving cable service from them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 1999 @10:51AM (#1916792)
    I am supposed to have cable modem access in about two months. I was looking forward to it until I had my little problems with TCI.

    I have always used Sat Tv ( either C-Band or DSS) and I moved to St. Louis about 8 months ago. The apartment complex I moved into stated that I can not under any circomstances install a Sat Dish. So I decided to get TCI's "Digital" Cable. Well it took them two months to coordinate a Saturday to do the install. TCI has a rule that you must be available for a four hour period, in order to get either a repair or install. Well the moron arrives and I tell him that I want three hookups ( Big Screen, bedroom and PC) He has to call the office to get permision to install to my pc. Eventually I had to sign a waiver to have him do it.

    After the cable is installed the tech noticed that the signal is horrible and he states that the incoming line is bad. He said he will have to make a work order to have it fixed. A week later I call the cable company to see why my cable has not been fixed and the lady says that a work order has never been issued. So We arrange for a technician to come out a month from now ( another saturday.) The tech comes and says that the bad signal is due to all of my computer equipment interfering with the cable. I asked him to check from the access point to the house, he still insists that it is my computer equipment. I get pissed off and demand that he removes all of the cable equipment, I want it turned off. He couldn't, I had to arrange for the cable technician to remove it. I finally grabbed the decoder and cables and dropped it off at the cable office, and after three months I got a refund.

    Now here is where the fun starts. I called my apartment manager and told her what happened and asked her if she could make an exception on the Dish rule. She said if I could make it look nice she would allow it. So I made a nice non-permanent install. She was happy, I was happy, end of story.

    About a 2 months ago, I was watching ZDTV and my signal droped, I went out side to see if the wind moved the dish and I saw a cable technician and a Suit removing my dish. I asked them what they are doing, and the suit replied "Under the contract with the apartment complex, we are confiscating this equipment." I told them to stop and they would not. So I went inside and grabbed my shotgun. Well they decided to leave really quick. About 10 minutes later about 5 police officers show up, along with the cable guys to arrest me. I explained what happened to the cops and they agreed with me and asked me if I wanted to press charges for property damage. I declinded.

    About a week later I get a letter stating that I have been charged with cable theft. I called up the cable company and explained to them that I have a DISH! I finally talk to a manager that said I was using the access point to the house, thus I was stealing cable. The access point is the hole they drill in your house.

    I got the complexes maintaince guy to remove all of the cable, and I reinstalled my dish.

    I faxed the cable company a copy of an FCC ruling stating that a renter can install a dish. Now I get a letter every few weeks asking that I get cable.

    So after I went through all of this there is no way in hell, I am going to get a cable modem. Adsl is supposed to evenually be here. I will get that.

  • BTW, you're in America now, it's "check" not "cheque". Also, I do not believe that utility companies report late payments to credit bureaus here. I have a disputed gas bill from several years ago. The gas company failed to disconnect my service after I moved out of an apartment. (The gas company in question is notorious for not showing up for appointments then claiming "We beat on the door but you weren't home". I suspect their installers hang out in the bar all day. This has happened to a shockingly large number of people I know). They kept sending me threatening letters (all of which contradicted each other, very amusing), and I told them it would be a cold day in hell when I paid the gas bill for the next two months usage after I moved out. They sent a collection agency after me, whom I likewise told to go to hell, but the disputed payment has never showed up on my credit history. I've got all the documentation from this still in case they ever come after me.
  • in Anne Arundel County some time back and the Cable Co. would routinely send us out without enough traps. I you ask me... traps are just too easy to tamper with anyway (especially the ones in the peds). They should use special set-top boxes to do the filtering like most everyone else! Nice to see things haven't changed that much.

    How are the stripers in the bay doing these days?
  • Posted by NJViking:

    When I first got my cable modem installed last June by RCN/Erols, the technician asked me what town I was in, I told him the town. He proceeded to have the number that the cable modem calls to be a toll number. (My cable modem is co-ax download, modem upload.. kinda sucks..)

    Anyway, one month later, I get a phone bill for like, $300. I call them up to get the number changed and that I would like to be reimbursed for it. They changed the number to 1-732-xxx-xxxx, but since the 1-732 was on it, it went through AT&T and that local exchange just became a long distance call!!

    Again I call them and ask them to drop the "1-732" from the number which they do. In the meantime, I had FAXed a copy of two phone bills to them down to some woman in Virginia (the Erols tech support). 8 months later, after phone calls and 6 e-mails, I finally get a cheque back with my reimbursement.

    Cable companies have to be the most poorly run places in the world.

    ... who is switching to ADSL the day it becomes available!
  • Posted by LOTHAR, of the Hill People:

    Have you considered counter sueing for entrapment. It was their action/lack thereof that is responsible. Fight stupidity with stupidity, sometimes it's the only language these legal types undertand.
  • I've just taken to plonking my work and home emails where it says work and home telephone numbers.

    Phones are useful...but the majority of the phone calls I get could have been done by email.

    We will wean the world away from the POTS eventually!
  • Society seems to be really down on people who don't have a TV. In the UK we have a TV licence(£80 or $130 p/a) which is great because this pays for the BBC which is pretty good. It also means we don't get 100% commercially driven c***. But...

    There are a heck of a lot of incidents where people have been harassed by the TV detection people becuase they didn't have a TV. Folk have had their doors broken down...even though the TV detecto people have zero right by law to enter your house!!!

    It used to be even worse when these people had older monitors that had an RF profile that looks like a TV...even though is was just a plain olde PC or Mac. Thanks to new monitors I think it is probably safe to not have a TV and have a PC instead....just watch those TV capture cards ;)
  • Here's yet another tale of the cable TV-government bureaucratic juggernaut streamrolling someone. "Avoid being served" ... sheesh, my blood is starting to boil at the idea. This reminds me of the movie "Brazil", where a fly falls into a printer, changing a "T" into a "B". The events cascaded.

    The cable TV fascists lobbied hard for laws to vigorously, and apparently, mindlessly, prosecute cable fraud. Sadly, only a big dafamation type lawsuit will correct the most egregious of these excesses. I can understnd why she didn't want to sue them.
  • So you don't have a TV plugged in, who cares?

    But then again, I remember when the cable companies wanted to charge extra for people who had a TV _AND_ a VCR plugged into the cable!
  • With a cable modem, aren't you sharing bandwidth with all your neighbors (since the neighborhood or apartment is usually on the same subnet)? Whereas with DSL, I believe the bandwidth you pay for is yours alone. If I'm wrong, please correct me. But if that's the case, that's yet another reason I'd prefer DSL over cable modems: my connection won't slow when my neighbors sign up.
    You share with some group of neighbors. However, if the cable company is any good they'll keep this small enough so that your part of the shared bandwidth is still higher than what you could get with DSL even if you were right next to the phone company's office. Note also that unless your neighbor sets up an MP3 archive or something like that you'll have few problems with bandwidth - 30Mbps covers quite a few people browsing web pages.

    Don't rule out cable modems just because of some stupid companies. Others are quite good - Cox here in San Diego has been extremely reliable, very responsive on billing issues and it's an order of magnitude cheaper than the significantly slower DSL the phone monopoly's pushing. Find someone in your area who's got the service you're considering and ask them....

  • The whole story reminded me of Brazil - the movie. Kinda scary, eh?
  • With a cable modem, aren't you sharing bandwidth with all your neighbors (since the neighborhood or apartment is usually on the same subnet)? Whereas with DSL, I believe the bandwidth you pay for is yours alone. If I'm wrong, please correct me. But if that's the case, that's yet another reason I'd prefer DSL over cable modems: my connection won't slow when my neighbors sign up.

    ObSlashdot: Rob, WHY is there a banner ad for Microsoft Exchange Server showing up above the "Post" page as I type this? I'm getting worried... :-)

  • Hmm, I wonder if you are responsible for where your vehicle is left even if it IS stolen.

    Presumably, you'd have a civil case against the thief, but are still responsible for the car.

    Now, if this were the case, I'd expect that the lot owner would still have to mitigate his damages, i.e. move quickly to have the car removed and not let it set there for a year and try to charge you "rent".
  • by Rene S. Hollan ( 1943 ) on Monday April 26, 1999 @09:50AM (#1916805)
    Shortly after I moved to Lake Zurich, Il, and had telephone service from Ameritech, I got a nasty letter that said, in effect, pay your overdue bill within two days or else.

    Now, I had moved here from Canada (a temporary high-tech NAFTA import) and was very anxious to quickly establish the equivalent of my excellent Canadian credit rating (funny, I could get a mortgage right away, but no credit card for 8 months).

    It appeared that Ameritech had lost last month's payment, and in fact, credited a strange (but far too small) amount to my account that didn't match any cheques I had written recently.

    I immediately contacted their acocunts department, and verified my cheque number and the fact that I had written my Ameritech account number in the memo field of the cheque (I keep duplicate cheques). However they wanted payment today or a cancelled cheque as proof. This was a problem.

    First, I couldn't pay them "TODAY" because their offices were closed, though I didn't know this until after going to what their rep said was their office -- turned out it was a collection agency. Second, while the cheque had cleared the bank, I hadn't yet received the cancelled cheque back from the bank, and couldn't request it for another two days, it being Saturday afternoon. It later took the bank a week to send it to me earlier than my statement, and they (rightly) charged for the priveledge.

    With the threat of disconnection of telephone service within 24 hours (for some reason Ameritech's notice was dated quite a while before it was postmarked), and a damaging entry in my credit file, I had no choice but to cough up $200 "under protest" to the collection agency. I was not pleased that my receipt was from them and not Ameritech (despite their assurances that they would issue me a receipt from Ameritech, acting as Ameritech's agent).

    It took another two months for Ameritech to "find" my payment (and, for a while, even my copy of a cancelled chqeue was considered insufficient proof of payment: they insisted on the original, which I refused to surrender), and credit my account for the extra $200 I sent them.

    Now, in all fairness, I have dealt with some very nice people at Ameritech, who even showed me how I could save a couple bucks on my regular bill.

    But, businesses take note, it's the bad apple that spoils the bunch, and buggy procedures combined with rude customer representatives do not give rise to customer satisfaction. To this day, I have not received an apology for Ameritech's error.
  • I love the cable modem speeds, however, I likewise am not enamoured of the crap that goes with it. We have to carry basic cable or we are charged more for the service. Not too much of a hardship, but sometimes I'd rather not have cable nor a television.

    Imagine my surprise the past good friday weekend, when coincidentally my cable modem service disappeared at the same time the Nickolodean preview channel diseappeared. No service for 3days. I was going through withdrawal, and must say I'm very glad I wasn't the on-call person that weekend.
  • Up here near Boston, MediaOne does a rather good job with their cable modems. We had one last summer and the only problem we had was a DOS attack (damned skript kiddies). The guy who installed it was knowlegeful and on time, so the install went without a hitch.
    The price for a cable modem is $50/months, same to install (unless you already have cable, in which case its free), and you can get cable as well (no need, MediaOne seems to grok cable modem sans cable TV) for an additional $10 a months, making it $60 for the whole thing. That's rather good pricewise, and the connection to campus was faster than the connection on campus (i.e. from one machine to another on campus).
    We plan to get a cabel modem this summer as well (again, need to install it, but there's cable already so no problem, and the landlords like having a cable modem port, its ups house value ;P). This year we're determining the possibility of doing a LAN, since we're living with 3 other computers/people (yea, I know, obe machine per person, how minimalist ;P).

    Apologies for the rambling, but MediaOne in Boston is good schtuff and I don't want it getting a bad rep from other areas (the only issue is you need a mac/win box to get it installed, but then you boot into linux and you're fine).

  • VoiceMail98
    When we moved into our new apartment last year we decided to get Voicemail98 because of the good deal and we were notorious for tying up the phone line whilst on the internet. Now, we thought all was fine til we got the bill. There were dozens of long distance calls to two numbers we never heard of. Turns out when you call your preassigned voicemail number you're rerouted to another number which is a long distance phone call. So, everytime someone left a voice message we were charged a long distance call and everytime we checked our voicemail we incurred long distance charges. WHAT A SCAM!!
    We ended that quickly and got a refund of all costs after an irate clerk found out what her company was trying to pull and handled it for us.
  • by Teknix ( 4806 ) on Monday April 26, 1999 @10:09AM (#1916809) Homepage
    While not directly related to this person's unfortunate incident, I have been keeping a log of my @Home service and have it published here []. If you already have a cable-modem, or are planning on purchasing cable-modem service, chances are good that you want to read this. I have submitted this to /. as a frontpage story... it will be interesting to see if it makes it.
  • > Hmm, I wonder if you are responsible for where your vehicle is left even if it IS stolen.

    The first time my car was stolen I called to cancel my insurance. My agent told me that that was a bad idea because:

    1) I "could be held responsible" for accidents the car was in - despite the fact that it was stolen.

    2) The insurance weasels would raise my rates if I was un-insured for a period. The fact that I was riding the bus during that period didn't seem to matter.

    So, who are the bigger goons - The government bureaucrats or the insurance company weasels? The race is too close to call.

  • The traffic systems in this country are a pathetic joke....on us. All the system is, is a cash cow, and it's employees? Revenue officers. Depending on the state, the district in which the "bust" happens, gets up to 40% of the ticket costs. The courts also get their fees.

    If anyone goes to traffic court expecting to get a fair shake, think again! It's not "the people" vs you. It's "the revenue officers" vs you. With them acting as judge and prosecutor.

    I attended court dates for THREE CONSECUTIVE MONTHS before I got sick of having to take the day off of work (costing me over $200 a day) and sit in on a court session to plead not guilty and hear "Trial set for next month". Then have them "lose" the trial setting by the next month. I plead guilty, paid my $100 fine, and got on with my life.

    I need to move to another country. I'm getting sick of the BS levels in this one.

    Chas - The one, the only.
    THANK GOD!!!

  • Simple. Undetectable. They cannot try to bill you for a second IP, since you're not using another one of THEIR IP's. All for the one-time cost of a second NIC, and some gateway software if you're running WinDOS.

    Chas - The one, the only.
    THANK GOD!!!

  • About a month after getting my cable modem (without cable TV), I received a fairly polite note from a local MediaOne technician along the lines of "the former resident of your apartment must have left your cable service hooked up accidently. If you would like to be a subscriber, please call so-and-so." In other words, they thought I was pirating service and were giving me a chance to "go straight."

    One phone call resolved this, however. Not like the poor guy in the story.

  • The most damning thing against cablemodems is that one company has a monopoly over the service. A great many of them abuse this by doing things like forcing users to use web proxies (such as I only know of one cablemodem service that seems to be run by a group of people who have any sort of intelligence. That being lvcablemodem(.com). You can get blocks of static IPs from them and they don't care if you run servers (within reason I'm sure). I would rather use ISDN than cable simply because there is at least some competition for decent service. I don't know of any ISPs in my area (except maybe one) who filter, deny servers, etc for ISDN users. So until I see something that isn't garbage like most cable providers offerings it's not worth my time. I'll stick with the analog modem and go with xDSL when it becomes availble.
  • Now this user is going to get here home page yanked for being /.'ed! @Home generally has a 300 MB/month transfer limit.
  • No, I didn't. Actually, it helped me think of the analogy. I can expect a bunch of robots to do it. But we're not robots ... are we?

  • As buisiness' become larger and larger, errors such as these will become more and more common place. And this from a company that isn't even truly recognized as a UTILITY. Imagine the power the phone company or power company could exert if it erroneously reported you were breaking the law due to some `glitch'.

    I don't relish the thought of our law enforcement and political powers relying on technology that is buggy and prblematic. Would you let an NT box be your defendant in a trial? Ugh.
  • My experiences with @home haven't included legal action, but have gone as far as downtime of many days at a time, as well as serious DHCP issues. I have had nearly seven service calls on my account (!) just to get it working.

    I wouldn't recommend cable to anyone. It's just not a stable enough technology right now.
  • cable modems are great for downloading, but there are a few problems with able modems

    the first is the obvious one from this article that you cannot have a cable modem without cable, they obviously can't handle the technology

    the second is that the up load bandwidth is not that great, it is great for downloads, but not uploads ..

    next is that you are always connected unless the cable companies put in a switch to turn it on and off.. this can leave you open to crackers...

  • Don't get me wrong.. I like cable modem service.. and I think it's a much better technology then xDSL or ISDN (for home use), despite it's shortcommings. I just think Cable Co's need to work on there backend service more.. be more reliable I guess is what I'm saying.. :) Lord_rion
  • Having worked for a Tel Co and ISP's.. and having delt with (but never worked for) a number of Cable Co's.. I can say a couple of things.. firstly, Cable Co's don't seem to have the nessecary mind set or infrastructure to provide allways-on service. A Tel Co (at least in Canada) is bound by federal law to have less then a certain amount of down time a year in there Public Switching Network (like 99.8% uptime) and because of this seem to have gotten use to the idea of making things work all the time.. never fail.. or at least never fail to the user. When was the last time you picked up your phone and didn't have dial tone (due to the phone company), when was the last time your cable went out?? Kinda scary.. :) I think ISP's and Cable Co's are going to have to learn how to provide services comparable to Tel Co's. Not that I'm saying that Tel Co's are perfect.. but from a service availability stand point.. they seem to have a better track record.. for now.
  • In the US, the government bows to the corporation's wishes. It would probably be better if the corporations had to bow to the government's wishes. More environmental regulation, require genetically engineered products (even if the are not for human use) have to pass FDA standards for safety, no tariffs or any of that shit to protect US businesses from foreigners, no doing the business's bidding in court, higher minimum wage, more labor regulations, etc.
  • I agree. I personally want to move to Sweden to get away from the fucking American corporate domination, idiotic bureaucracies, and the fact that in the US, people's rights are all but illusions. People can't violate your rights here (unless they have lots of money), but corporations can pretty much trample right over your rights. If the corporations and the government are working together, your rights are virtually nonexistant. If a corporation sues you, even if their case is total crap, you pretty much lose or end up fleeing to Canada. I'm also a socialist, and I want to move to a socialist country. :-)
  • These days, the US seems like it is becoming a fascist nation.
  • MediaOne Boston needs to get a hold on a few things before I consider them a GOOD ISP:

    1. Less downtime. So far, I've only had about an hour of downtime in my town. But if you look at the MediaOne "Network status" page ( status.html), you'll see that just about every day of the week, a whole town or three is down for the whole day. Recently, this has been improving. But only time will tell. (Interesting to note: Dedham seems to ALWAYS be down for some reason. What the hell is going on over there??? I bet they're running SP3 NT DHCP servers and have a lot of Macs running Mac OS 8.5.1 over there)

    2. I should be able to do whatever the hell I want with my connection. It should be UNLAWFUL for MediaOne to dictate (rather Nazi-like for that matter) what I can, and can't do with my internet connection. That's like the phone comany saying, even though I live in a house with 4 other people, I'm the only one who's allowed to use the phone. Or that you can only make phone calls on the 'designated phone'.

    I can understand that I'm not allowed to use my connection for unlawful purposes. But what right do they have to stop me from connecting more than one machine to my cable modem. Or the big issue (this one will be HUGE in the next few months): What right do they have to stop me from running a business off my cable modem? Apparently, its against "the rules" to say, sell banner space on a web page that you're hosting. (funny, if you get in touch with any division of MediaOne Express, and ask them if you can run a web server off your cable modem, they'll say no you can't. Its funny to hear them rattle off some reason that they've been trained to answer. Then when you ask them specific questions related to their response, they have absolutely no idea what you're talking about: "But there's nothing here in the service agreement that says I can't run a web server. Does that fall under the reselling of services portion in Chapter 4 of the service agreement?" "I'm going to forward your call to someone who has more expertise in this area" (read: put them on hold for a long time and pray they go away).

    3. They really need to get customer support people who know what the internet is. Actually, I'd like to get a customer support rep sometime who's used a computer other than a terminal.

    4. Let me call the DHCP sysadmin directly damnit! In order to get in touch with a person who has the authority and capability to say, change the MAC addres information stored in the DHCP server (changing NICs or computers), you have to go through technical support (which usually lasts about an hour). Not only that, its VERY difficult to explain to technical support rep what DHCP is and how MediaOne's network works! Its so frustrating, because once you get in touch with the right person, it usually takes 2 minutes for them to update your MAC address and have everything working perfectly.

  • The main lesson I get out of this articles is: "Avoid being served." This seems to speak more to the ineffiecency of the beauracracy surrounding the legal system than any maliciousness on Comcast's part. Then again, (a) if this would have happened to me, I wouldn't have sweated one minute, because if you can legitimately explain such a low low low level offense, there ain't gonna be no big deal in court; (b) If you get dismissed in the first two seconds of court, you really haven't been hassled.
  • If the Libertarian Party had its way, cable fraud would be a civil suit, not a criminal one, and she would have simply written a couple of cease and desist letters and been done with it. But nooooo, Big Brother has to get involved... and I'm sorry, anytime the fuzz gets involved, you Have Been Hassled. [] for more info.
  • What you should have done was spoken truthfully to the judge. "Is the car yours?" should be followed by "no, your honor." (they love that last bit). You alleged it was stolen, you got your insurance money. The car is no longer yours. It belongs to the insurance company or the state. Since you don't know whose it is but you do know it isn't yours it's not your responsibility. You led the judge to believe that it was your car and thus your responsibility.

    It does make you hate our legal system though. This same judge is probably one of the guys that lets burglars and drunk drivers off on a regular basis. It is amazing what a wonderful concept our system is and how deeply flawed its execution. These flaws are what keep me from voting for the Death Penalty - I just can't trust the state to command that power.
  • by Kaa ( 21510 )
    Generally, no, you're not responsible for whatever is done with your stolen car. There are a couple of exceptions, one dealing with conspiracy (you basically let someone steal your car), and another one dealing with gross negligence (you leave the car at the curb with keys in the ignition, a five-year-old climbs in and runs down a granny). None of these applied.

    And again, this was not a civil case where you can sue anybody for pretty much anything. I think it was a misdemeanor I was convicted of, and there all the criminal prereqs apply (mens rea, etc.)

  • Heh. At that time I was much more poor than you are used to. I think by then I actually had the minimum legally needed insurance (which pays the guy you hit, but not you), but theft insurance? That was way out of my budget.

  • by Kaa ( 21510 ) on Monday April 26, 1999 @08:24AM (#1916833) Homepage
    The whole story doesn't surprise me in the least. I had my own wonderful experience with the US justice system.

    I had a car stolen. Oh well, life sucks, what's new? I reported it and forgot about it (in a while). About a year after that I get some piece of paper in the mail that says that my driver's license has been suspended. wtf? I made some phone calls and found out that it's been suspended because my car insurance has been terminated. WTF?? After more phone calls it turns out that my insurance was cancelled because I have an outstanding ticket against me. Huh? What's the ticket for? Abandonment of car on public property?? What the fuck is going on???

    It turns out that the loser who stole my car eventually got tired of it (it wasn't all that hot, I must confess) and left it in a municipal parking lot. After some time the car was towed away and, as far as I could tell, was junked. I was still listed as an owner, so I got the ticket. For some still unknown to me reason, the ticket was never sent to me. O-Okay. I call the cops, explain the situation. They check their records, find the car listed as stolen, and tell me that yeah, it's all a mistake, but since the trial date has already been set for my ticket, the case has to go forward and I just have to appear and explain everything to the judge.

    Well, a first courtroom appearance for me. Armed with a printout of the stolen vehicle report I arrive. The hearing of my case takes 30 seconds and goes as follows (and yes, that's the literal conversation):

    Judge: Is the car yours?
    Me: It was stolen from me a year ago.
    Judge: But it's your car?
    Me: But it was stolen, here's the report
    Judge : But this is your car, right?
    Me: But I had no control over it, it was stolen...
    Judge: Guilty. Next case.

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I got to pay a $140 fine and was reaffirmed by the Philadelphia Traffic Court in my faith in truth and justice for all.

    Epilogue: I filed for appeal, but because at that time it would have cost me ~$500 to come to Philadelphia on that day, I didn't go. The ticket wasn't a 'moving violation' so my car insurance didn't go up. Basically, I paid $140 plus a week of major hassle for an educational experience. I wouldn't say it was fun, but now I can post to Slashdot and say "Been there, done that!".

  • next is that you are always connected unless the cable companies put in a switch to turn it on and off.. this can leave you open to crackers...

    Oh no, so your saying I can't reach back behind my computer, and pull the line. So what is that? Restricted space, like up the phone pole?
    (sorry I know I'm being sarcastic)
  • I don't own a TV, and don't plan to, but fast internet service appeals. If I tried to get cable modem without cable, I think any American jury would probably send me to jail for not owning a TV. I am probably a communist, they would figure, or perhaps another unabomber. (His lack of a TV was actually used as evidence in his criminal case)
  • Stop by Office Depot and swipe on of those all-plastic models...


  • Actually, I'm wondering how long it will be before my cable provider tries to bill me for a second IP address.

    The thing is, I only have one computer. But I've been messing with VMWare using the bridged networking, so it can wind up pulling two IPs off the DHCP server at one time.

    I do not look forward to trying to explain this...


  • Just wanted to pipe up and say that I've been very pleased with Time Warner's Road Runner service here in Austin. We called and ordered the service and were told exactly what hardware we needed to have in the computer. The technician came out on the day and at the time scheduled and quickly got us connected. Setting up email, web browsing and newsgroups was painless. My Quake2 pings are in the 60s, my wife's Ultima Online pings are in the 70s.

    Now for the kicker. We recently got a hub so that we could network our two computers together and I wanted to get both computers access to the cable line. I called Road Runner sales (not support, now, SALES) and was quickly set up for an additional IP address. The salesman also quickly walked me through resetting my modem and setting up the second computer. Can you imagine that? The SALESMAN knew how to set up a second IP address.

    I now have two powerful computers on a LAN that both have God's own internet connection. I have pulled 40+ meg downloads on one computer without my wife even noticing on the other. My friends (all of whom also have cable modem access) and I throw files back and forth at 500k+ per sec. It's Nirvana, people.
  • I have always been against cable modems. Not because I have experienced bad service, but simply because I never believed in the philosophy behind them. There is something about "shared" access that has never quite appealed to me.

    Like many theories with logic holes (pyramid schemes come to mind), the idea sounds great on paper when looked at from a limited perspecitive, but once you examine more factors, the idea quickly becomes a bad one. The idea of shared access is used at every node of the internet, but cable has warped the meaning of it.

    When you use a dialup connection to your isp through a regular POTS modem, you get ulimited internet access for something around $10 a month. Now, the ISP knowing that the average customer on the service will be online for less than 1/10 of the day, therefore makes the assumption that only 1 modem for every 10 customers is necessary, and as long as nobody gets busy signals, it will be adaquate. If the capacity on the modems gets full, you simply add more modems the the pool.
    Some users might stay connected 24/7, some might only log in for 5 minutes to check email, but it will average out and its in the ISP's best interest to prevent problems.

    Cable tries to work on this same concept, but with a tragic flaw. The simple fact of the matter is that people who want speed increases don't want it because they are impatitient with waiting for downloads, they simply want MORE, meaning that with the increase in speed, there will come an increase in bandwidth usage. Since all bandwidth is a trickle down cost, each customer pays for the average bandwidth used by the total customer base.

    Nobody gets a cable modem so they can check their email, its not realistic. A regular dialup is more than effective for that. You simply don't have the bottom of the food chain using cable modems, you get all the bandwidth hungry users, and they're being charged rates which are far less than the average cost of the bandwidth they consume. This will eventually lead to a problem. Either the price of the service must go up, or the average bandwidth must be reduced. Eventually, you'll be lucky if your cable modem can achieve ISDN rates reliably.

    Also, consider where you get your service from. When was the last time that a cable company was considered the creme de la creme of service providers? Do you really want to get internet access from a company that can't keep their services working during a thunderstorm?

    In the end, you get exactly what you pay for. Nothing DSL or cable can provide will ever beat a nice T1, even though they may boast about it. Its simply not a viable economic option to offer something for less than the cost. Eventually, these companies will want to start making a profit, and that will be a sorry day indeed.

  • I've been a Bresnan Cable subscriber twice now - once as a cable TV owner, and once as a cable TV and cable modem owner. It seems that every time a repairman comes out, for whatever reason, I end up getting all the pay cable channels, sometimes for a couple days, sometimes for months on end. It seems to always be confusion as to who should take care of turning them off. The cable modem people say it's the cable people - the cable people don't want to bother coming out. Kind of an interesting quagmire.

    If anyone is interested in getting a cable modem, especially from Bresnan or @Home, then heed my warning - it's a bitch. Mind you, the service itself is pretty good, but the actual customer service blows. If anyone wants details, email me - I won't post it here, the story gets a little long. However, nothings beats having your machine online 24-7; it's sort of addicting. :-)
  • I periodically go through the same thing with TCI/@Home. It seams that about once a year they change their billing system so it bills me twice. Then it takes 4 months for them to straighten it out.

    TCI/@Home is totally screwed up. Here in Fremont, CA. it got to the point where we (the users) have organized and appealed to the city council. They also are quite annoyed with @Home's terrible customer service (typical hold times are measured in hours, not minutes) and terrible performance (20% packet loss to @Home's NAP connections).

    Things have improved recently, but for a while my 28.8 was a *MUCH* faster than my 10Mbps cable modem.

    As to the city council I went to the meeting. It was really fun watching @Home squirm. TCI tried to claim that they fixed the customer service problem. The city council then had the city manager call TCI/@Home customer service right there during the meeting. They couldn't get through. TCI had fun trying to backtrack and wiggle out of that one. TCI/@Home offered to donate $40,000 to the city for any program the city chose if the city agreed not to fine them (the fine was $18,000 for lack of service). The city council was ready to accept until the customer support fiasco and went ahead and fined them.

    It was a very entertaining city council meeting and I hope to go to the next one. The city gave @Home 120 days to fix their problems or they'd get a new fine. The city council is also going to pass legislation requiring minimum standards. This will be the first city in the country to do so. All this because of TCI/@Home.
  • for DSL. At least they can't sue you for line theft accidently.
    I moved into a home recently and found the previous owner forgot to cancel the cable and called to tell them to shut it off. 3 months later, hundreds of calls, one threat of legal action by them, and two by me, it was finally shut off. I got a letter last week stating that I was "pre-qualified" to sign up for the upcoming cable service. No thanks.

  • Why do you need cable modem to be online 24-7, I have that with a normal ISP.
  • I can see it now. At some later time, you're filling out that job application and you get to the question: 'Have you ever been convicted in a court of law?' !!
  • Legally, "malice" is not what we typically mean. It is reckless disregard for the truth. I think that one might make a good argument for this in this case...
  • Does anyone know the reason why minneapolis doesn't have any cable modem services and yet st. paul and a lot of the suburbs of the twincities do? i have heard rumors that it is against the law for cable compainies to serve the cable lines required to do this. Can anyone enlighten me?

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard