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Earthlink Announces It Must Honor Comcast Cap 306

LostCluster writes "For those in Comcast territory, a popular way to get around Comcast's 250 GB monthly cap was to sign up for EarthLink Powered by Comcast Service, where there was no cap. Forget about that.... Earthlink just posted an FAQ explaining that Comcast will enforce the cap against Earthlink customers starting July 1."
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Earthlink Announces It Must Honor Comcast Cap

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  • Perspective (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Andy Smith ( 55346 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:11PM (#32384494)

    To offer some perspective, here in the UK we have monthly limits that are most commonly in the 15-30Gb range, with a premium limit of 50Gb being offered by a minority of service providers.

    • Re:Perspective (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jbuk ( 1581659 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:14PM (#32384532)
      up until this year, my Orange ADSL2 connection had a supposed cap of 2GB. Thankfully, it wasn't enforced as far as I could tell.
      • Re:Perspective (Score:5, Insightful)

        by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:26PM (#32384686) Homepage Journal

        2gb/mo wouldn't even handle my email these days with all the uncontrolled spam, let alone being bombarded by all the advertisements on almost every web page in existence.. If the limit here was that low i wouldn't even bother getting service.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by mlts ( 1038732 ) *

          2GB a month wouldn't handle my software updates, even if I used WSUS. Recently, my Mac slurped up a 300MB update, my Windows machines with their apps required a sizable amount of updates, my CentOS machine grabbed a large amount of updates. This alone would fill up a 2GB/month connection.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          I just downloaded 22 GB of games off Steam and Bliz in less than 2 days re downloading my game s after a system reload.
    • Re:Perspective (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:15PM (#32384544)
      I'm not sure what different perspective I'm supposed to take from your statement. That we should accept crappy limits because the UK does?
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:19PM (#32384582)

        I'm not sure what different perspective I'm supposed to take from your statement. That we should accept crappy limits because the UK does?

        Yes. Because if it is good enough for England it is good enough for you in whatever backwards, uncivilized non-England country your cave is in.

      • I'm not sure what different perspective I'm supposed to take from your statement. That we should accept crappy limits because the UK does?

        Yeah, no kidding. I thought we were supposed to discuss how everybody in the world has better internet access than the US does.

      • I think the perspective is that a lot of people were getting incredibly good service for next to nothing, and should be happy about it instead of complaining that the free lunch is over.

        People got over 250GB a month on cable service because they were using available bandwidth that their neighbors were not using. Now that more people have broadband access and more people are using more bandwidth, there just isn't enough to go around on the same wires.
        • Re:Perspective (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Shaltenn ( 1031884 ) <> on Friday May 28, 2010 @09:08PM (#32385120) Homepage
          The answer is therefore to either: Stop selling the same speeds or upgrade your damn lines. I would rather have a 5mbps connection with no cap that I could utilize fully the entire time than a 30mbps connection with a 250 gb cap and other limitations.
          • Really? You'd prefer a slow, uncapped connection to a high speed connection with a massively high data cap, such as a quarter of a terabyte per month?

            Fuck that, I'd go for a fast connection with 250GB limit any day. I have to try hard to download more than 50-60GB per month. What I want is more speed.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by BlueStrat ( 756137 )

              ...a massively high data cap, such as a quarter of a terabyte per month?

              That depends on who is doing the defining of "massively high" and for how long into the future we're talking, doesn't it?

              As many have already mentioned in other posts, 250GB/mo isn't that much these days even without p2p, and I sure don't see that trend reversing or even slowing. I wonder how "cloud computing" and bandwidth caps will work out?


              • Re:Perspective (Score:4, Interesting)

                by PhunkySchtuff ( 208108 ) <kai@automatica.c[ ]au ['om.' in gap]> on Friday May 28, 2010 @10:36PM (#32385716) Homepage

                I'd say, at present, that 250GB is a pretty hugely high data cap for a home user.

                At 4GB per movie, this is 2 movies per day. I'd love to have the time to watch that many movies, and I'd love for there to be that many movies worth watching.

                At 6MB per MP3, this is over 40 thousand tracks per month. There aren't enough hours in the day to listen to this much music.

                It's an essentially unlimited amount of web browsing, even if you're watching YouTube 24 hours a day.

                It's my favourite Linux distro, 60 times over. They don't update it this frequently.

                It's all the software updates that the many computers in my house could possibly download, with this maybe using up 1%

                What else, if not p2p downloads of movies and large software installers, are you burning through 250GB a month with? I am genuinely curious, maybe there's something out there on the internet I'm missing out on!

                • Re:Perspective (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by adolf ( 21054 ) <> on Friday May 28, 2010 @10:51PM (#32385818) Journal

                  You must live alone. That's OK; it's Slashdot. At least you're out of Mom's basement.

                  At my house, folks watch movies. The boy might be watching something on Netflix in HD, my brother in law might be watching something on, while my daughter is digging on something on Hulu, my wife is downloading a WoW update, and I'm pulling down a few torrents.

                  Every day.

                  250GB/mo ain't gonna cut it.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by bbn ( 172659 )

                    The boy might be watching something on Netflix in HD

                    Ok, say 1 GB

                    my brother in law might be watching something on

                    That will only be 250 MB

                    while my daughter is digging on something on Hulu

                    Also only 250 MB

                    my wife is downloading a WoW update

                    100 MB

                    and I'm pulling down a few torrents

                    Unspecified, but how many games can you "test" each day? How many movies do you need?
                    But I will give you 2 GB daily average on torrenting until MPAA comes busting your ass.

                    That adds up to 3.5 GB daily. Or 100 GB monthly.

                    250GB/mo ain't gonna cut it.

                    Yes it will.

                    In my experience the only way to reach such high usage levels is by seeding torrents 24/7, and then you will reach it on your upload - not download.

    • And I pay $44.99 forcable my connection with SHAW and get 60Gigs of traffic while iWeb sells a dedicated server for $49.99 with 1500gigsof traffic. [] Yah thats perspective which is funny as the traffic cap was WAAAy higher even 5 years ago.
    • Re:Perspective (Score:4, Interesting)

      by fluch ( 126140 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:22PM (#32384628)

      I disagree. I enjoy (here in the UK) unlimited internet usage at a monthly price of less than 14£ (on top of the compulsory phone line rental). And my ISP is far from being local only.

    • That's retarded. I download single files larger than 50GB.
      • by sconeu ( 64226 )

        WTF are you downloading???

        • by MikeFM ( 12491 )
          Frequently virtual machine images. Sometimes big chunks of data by themselves but I like to store the data with all the tools needed to work with it.
    • We do? Admittedly my ISP is only the second largest in the UK, but they don't have caps anything like that small. Actually, they don't have caps at all, but if I download more than 1.5GB between 10am and 3pm, or more than 750MB between 4pm and 9pm. That leaves 14 hours with no cap at all. I get about 1MB/s from my connection, so if I saturated it during that period, I'd get about 50GB, plus the 2.25GB I'm allowed at peak times. In a month, I could download around 1.5TB without hitting a cap. Of course
    • "To offer some perspective, here in the UK we have monthly limits that are most commonly in the 15-30Gb range"

      To add some perspective, here in the US I transfer ~200gb a week, and since April 28th just one of the three always-on PCs transferred a upload/download combined 602gb. That's the media server, which transcodes video delivered from Hulu and Netflix through PlayON [] so it's viewable on the TV through a XBMC []. I cancelled my TV service nearly 3 years ago and have been relying on downloaded and strea
      • by Cylix ( 55374 )

        I actually watch a lot of hulu and netflix.

        However, even with that and several other downloads I still do not even come remotely close to 200gb a week. I also watch netflix nightly.

        The compression even on HD resolutions is still fairly conservative in regards to bandwidth concerns.

        Though you reference a good deal of local network traffic. I don't believe you are accurately measuring your upstream/downstream bandwidth.

        ie, if you are rating at the nic with playon transmitting mpeg2 encoded streams to a dlna s

        • "Though you reference a good deal of local network traffic. I don't believe you are accurately measuring your upstream/downstream bandwidth."

          True, the upload might be mostly transferring from PC to XBMC, but being a media server it mostly downloads it's all of it's content from the website and the download alone is 367 GiB this past month, far more than Comcast's allowed 250gb. Also of note netmeter measures in GiB [], which is 2^30 or ~1.074 GB, rather than GB, defined as 10^9 or 1,000,000,000 bytes.
    • To offer some perspective, here in the UK we have monthly limits that are most commonly in the 15-30Gb range, with a premium limit of 50Gb being offered by a minority of service providers.

      To offer some perspective, here in Poland we have NO monthly limits. There used to be ones, but competition got rid of them. Currently in the capital I can get 120/10 for $60 from one Icable ISP, or 60/6 (120/6 during the night) for $70 from teh second biggest cable ISP.

      first one : []

      Of course slower speeds are much cheaper. Upload is not p2p capped. I seed about 12h per day with my max upload speed.

    • by lucm ( 889690 )

      Here in Canada my ISP used to have no cap for 75$/month. Then it switched to 100GB with a maximum penalty of 30$ for unlimited extra GBs, so virtually unlimited was 105$/month. Then the maximum penalty was raised to 50$, so my bill went up to 125$/month.

      It was not enough for them. Now there is no limit for the penalty (8$ for each extra GB) but I have the wonderful option of "purchasing" a bundle: 12$ for 30 more GB.

      Basically I end up paying more for less every year, and there is no alternative, the telco i

    • 250GB per month is the equivalent of a T-1 downloading at 51% capacity non-stop.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Rising Ape ( 1620461 )

      Not always. My O2 connection is unlimited, for example. It's usually the BT resellers that have the low limits.

      Even so, I probably average about 25 GB/month. I don't know what people are doing to go over 250.

  • by mlts ( 1038732 ) * on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:16PM (#32384550)

    Sprint is rolling out 4G WiMax. Verizon and AT&T are going LTE. T-Mobile is going HSPA+.

    From what I see, these services have some latency problems, but for anything that isn't realtime such as gaming, these might be a suitable alternative to Comcast.

    Right now, 4G is not widespread but competition is heating up because of Sprint/Clear's rollout. I'm sure that other cellphone companies will be offering similar speeds.

    If it wasn't for the latency, perhaps these services may be a complete replacement for Comcast.

    • The 3G networks that seem to be everywhere cap-out at 5GB... they'd have to raise that by 5000% in order to beat Comcast.

      • Clear, who is providing 4G services both retail and wholesale via Sprint, has no caps for $55/month for two devices currently. []

        • Right... but a pre-bankruptcy AT&T Wireless (before they were sold to SBC to be part of Cingular, which now calls itself AT&T Mobility) was just starting to roll out spotty GSM, and they had a $99/mo. GSM only unlimited-and-we-mean-it plan. To sales guys in NYC it was great, to the average user it was useless. By the time the national unlimited plans came out, the typical usage restrictions came in.

      • Sprint/Clear seem to be implying that they won't have a 5 gig limit but I haven't seen an actual promise. Only implications that the 5 gig limit imposed by 3G providers won't be an issue with their 4G service. It's being marketed as a replacement for home broadband which is something that was never done with 3G. I'm cautiously optimistic.

        • Again, right now Clear is in "public beta" more than general release. They want people to max them out so they can figure out where their limits are at this stage, but will they want that in the long term future when the tech is ready to deploy everywhere?

  • Is this a "bait and switch"? Were the users that signed up for earthlink told there was no cap when they applied?

    • Nope. They're giving slight more than one month's notice to a 100% month-to-month customer base.

    • by nurb432 ( 527695 )

      There was no cap when i purchased my service, then comcast bought the company and changed the rules.

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        Maybe they should give everyone a 20% discount then. Then again I live in a place where 60GB's is the norm, and with a family of 4 we can burn through it pretty quick.

  • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:18PM (#32384578)
    Stories like this make me increasingly wish the FCC would, indeed, move broadband providers back under common carrier rules. Competition would do wonders here. Though I did find it amusing that their FAQ talked about how 40 HD movies would nearly hit the limit, which I think is a good example of how keeping alternative download services off their network is probably the big motivation here. I highly doubt they apply this cap if you buy Comcast brand movies on demand.
    • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:28PM (#32384700)

      I've always thought that the wire/RF owners should be kept separate from the content owners for exact fear of this happening. Comcast would rather you get your TV delivered by their broadcast frequencies, so they provide good but not great Internet service. Look what AT&T and Verizon are doing without any content ownership.

    • Didn't congress just send a letter telling the FCC to fuck off on this stuff? Telling the FCC to do their job in light of that doesn't seem quite fair. Or was the letter talking about something different related to net neutrality?

    • by MikeFM ( 12491 )
      I just want the right to compete with the carriers. I'll pay my portion to run fiber through my neighborhood and to my home and a monthly access fee if my neighbors will. Most of my data stays within the neighborhood anyway as it goes between my home and office. It already costs a small fortune ($1000+/mo on top of $1000's to install) for our 7Mb fiber line to the office anyway so why not shell out a little more for decent bandwidth and no stupid rules. Have been considering setting up a good wifi mesh, wit
    • Stories like this make me increasingly wish the FCC would, indeed, move broadband providers back under common carrier rules.

      They never were under common carrier rules.

  • Bait And Switch (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mindbrane ( 1548037 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:19PM (#32384592) Journal
    I live in a metropolitan area with one cable provider and a dsl provider. A few years ago, short on cash, I discovered I could sign up for a six month special with the cable provider (1/2 price), then at the end of 6 months opt out before the full price kicked in. The telco offered a similar 1/2 price, 6 month deal with an opt out at the end of the 6 month period. The good part was both providers allowed me to sign up for another 1/2 price deal after I'd been off their service for 6 months. I played one off the other for about 18 months. It's a bit off topic in terms of bandwidth but if you're getting screwed by the big guys (and you are) you might see if you can play one provider off another in a similar fashion. just thought it might help anyone penny pinching.
  • by e9th ( 652576 ) <> on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:21PM (#32384620)
    According to TFA, they won't notify if you approach the limit, and the only way to find out your current usage is to call them. Now that's handy.
  • So? (Score:5, Informative)

    by harlows_monkeys ( 106428 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:22PM (#32384630) Homepage

    I just checked my Comcast usage. I practically live on the internet. Here's my usage:

    15 GB so far this month.

    17 GB for April

    22 GB for March

    15 GB for February

    On the list of things I'm going to spend the effort to care about, people who have trouble with a 250 GB cap is far enough down the list I'm afraid I'll never get around to it.

    • Where can you check your Comcast usage? Do they provide a web interface?
    • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:39PM (#32384838) Journal
      I take it that you don't watch much video or listen to Internet radio. 15GB means you only use 0.5GB/day. I get through almost that much just having a 128Kb/s Internet radio stream on for about 8 hours a day. Watching one show on iPlayer can use that much again - more for a film, and a lot more if I watch the HD streams. 250GB is still a lot more than I use, but your usage is very low for someone who practically lives on the Internet.
      • Yeah, I'd be hosed as most of the TV I watch is HD from the Internet.

        The thing that gets me is that they'd rather ban someone from their service for a year (a roughly $600 per subscriber loss) than allow them to use more than 250 GBs a month. Doesn't seem right to me.
    • by Itninja ( 937614 )
      I watch several HD streaming movies every week, download any number of Windows service packs/Linus distros for work, and of course do lots and LOTS of casual surfing and gaming. I have Comcast 50Mbps and rarely even get to 50% of my cap.
    • by MikeFM ( 12491 )
      Do you use your Internet to telecommute, stream (legal Netflix) movies, for VoIP, etc? I get more than 15GB of email a month.
      • I get more than 15GB of email a month.

        Assuming that you read constantly, don't sleep, eat or perform any useful work, you have a theoretical maximum of (31 * 24 * 60 =) 44640 minutes to read email every month. Assuming that you can read 1000 wpm and that the average number of bytes per word in a plain text message is 20, you could still only read (44640 minutes * 1000 wpm * 20 bytes per word =) 851 MB per month.

        You're just wasting bandwidth because you have it available, there's nothing practical or
        • by MikeFM ( 12491 )
          Why would you read all your email? Most of it is there in case there is a problem so I can do a search, find all the records, and pull up the data. Also systems, and other people, email me a lot of non-text data. Just because you live in 1995 doesn't mean everybody does.
      • by IANAAC ( 692242 )

        I get more than 15GB of email a month.

        You're using email for something other than what it's intended, if you get that much email each month.


    • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ( 245670 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:46PM (#32384926)

      Today, it's the 250 giggers. Tomorrow, 200. They will ALWAYS try to reduce the impact of the most prolific users. If they manage to get 99.9% of their customers under 250 gigs, they'll drop the limit to 200 gigs. Then 150. Then 100.

      Meanwhile, maybe you start streaming HD movies from Netflix and watch your favorite TV shows on Hulu instead of paying $15/month for your DVR. Your 15-22 gigs a month starts going up. Eventually, your increased usage will meet their decreased level of acceptable use. Next thing you know, we'll be like Australia or England.

    • Re:So? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:49PM (#32384958)
      A 250GB cap that will NEVER EVER get raised. It seems like a lot now but I can still remember buying a 90 MEGA byte hard drive for hundreds of dollars and being astonished by it's size. I copied ever disc I owned to it and declared I'd never need another drive. Comcasts limit is there for one very nasty reason. Soon we will stream HD strait to your home. This is a cap that will prevent you from watching that stream. That's why its there. To prevent you from having choice. They want to retain their monopoly.
      • by Lehk228 ( 705449 )
        i'm sure verizon is going to be THRILLED at that. start rolling out FIOS in the middle of comcast territory and let their customers revolt, and even if comcast raises or removes caps in FIOS areas the surrounding areas are going to be pissed as well.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tabrisnet ( 722816 )

      Just this [calendar] month, my flatmate and I have the following stats:

      - Roku: # me, Netflix & Amazon VoD
      in: 46.67GB 46667040679
      out: 373.73MB 373734958
      - skuld: # flatmate. anime, Netflix & iTunes
      in: 43.16GB 43164082021

    • I nearly went over with Steams Christmas sale!

    • I rather like Netflix watch now. You can see some of their catalogue in realtime off the net. SD uses something in the realm of 1mbps. Well at 1mbps that would be a MB every 8 seconds. A movie will use like 900MB to play. that's just for SD. Start doing Hd from somewhere like Vudu and that goes up. Then there's online games services. I buy games on Impulse and Steam. So I bought The Witcher, since it was on special. Cool, but 13GB to download. Twice, actually, since I want it on my laptop too and there's no

  • Two months ago my (terrible) ISP decided that the contract we signed was a one way deal, and went from having no bandwidth cap to putting a 20 GB cap on us, with no way to purchase a higher limit. This is beyond asinine, as we are a family of six people, and a 20GB limit is tiny for six people, especially as the usage they claim we use is around twice as much as I measure us using. They probably base it on an assumed 1-2 people. *sigh* I'd kill for a 250GB cap.

    I'd love to change, but this is, literally, the

    • What makes me the most angry, is how we signed a contract with them for a certain service, then they arbitrarily decide that their contract only applies to us, and they can change the terms all they want.

      If you really look at the fine print in the contract, I'm sure it says exactly that.

      • by V50 ( 248015 )

        Oh, I'm sure it does too, but that still doesn't make it any less stupid.

    • IANAL, but get a lawyer?
    • by cdrguru ( 88047 )

      If you thought they gave you a binding contract, you were wrong. They had you sign a service agreement which is quite different. They offered you terms of service which are subject to change at any time and you accepted their terms.

      No business is going to give a consumer (or even another business) a contract that commits them to anything unless there is no other option. And then, it will take six months to negotiate the contract between the lawyers and cost $10,000. Hardly practical for most things.


  • When I was on comcast I used to download torrents 24-7 - never even came close to hitting that.

    • Yep, the people who are most likely to get hit with this are people who are uploading content, copyrighted or not, using workarounds. If you really want to push out your podcast, get a cloud services account for about $50/mo. and you'll have a much more reliable system and all the bandwidth you need.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rolfwind ( 528248 )

      Then you had jackshit for bandwidth. My math might be off, but 250GB 24/7 per month is like a constant 100 kb/s.

    • Of course, it is impossible to reach with your 64Kb/s connection.

      Imagine that there are people with faster connections.

      Seriously, this is equivalent to downloading 2 DVDs every day, or 12 Blurays every month.
      I guess this is possible with torrent seeding, but I doubt any sane guy is able to look at 2 movies every day.

  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Friday May 28, 2010 @08:46PM (#32384920)

    MSDN today sent me an e-mail asking if they can stop sending me DVD shipments because it's all available online. Sorry, not while I'm subject to this. :)

  • Just Get Business (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Omniscientist ( 806841 ) <<moc.ohcedab> <ta> <ttam>> on Friday May 28, 2010 @09:06PM (#32385102) Homepage

    After discovering a local ISP wasn't able to service my apartment appropriately, I ended up getting Comcast Business class. You get a lot for a pittance of additional cost (~$20 / month more than residential around here).

    One thing that's very different is the support. The support is phenomenally better. You call the phone number, and in seconds a knowledgeable person who is able to speak English well will get on the line (never had to be transferred to someone useful) 24/7. Other than better support, I get two static IP's with the package, and I believe that the business service has no monthly cap. Additionally, and unlike the residential service (where your monthly bill can get jacked up for no good reason) the rates I pay are contractually locked.

    So (at least in my area) if you get residential, you're pretty much a sucker.

    • Just wondering, do they give you Business Class TV service too? ESPN charges more to be shown at a business than it does at home... and those situations make the business TV package a little less attractive than the consumer service.

      • by Lehk228 ( 705449 )
        that would not be tied together, "business" TV would be for public performance and would depend on size of establishment
  • by lucm ( 889690 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @09:24PM (#32385250)

    Maybe should start to offer its content on tape backup sent with Fedex. Might end up cheaper than my ISP.

    I can picture the ads: "Weekly internet: 7$, delivered with a smile".

  • Business Class (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @12:03AM (#32386276) Homepage

    Aside from whether it's right or wrong that a 250GB cap even exists; if you really need to move that much data in a month, perhaps you should consider a business class account. Still cheaper than a shitty T1.

  • by IonOtter ( 629215 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @12:22AM (#32386354) Homepage

    A friend of mine just signed up with Comcast at his new apartment? I warned him that Comcast has the WORST reputation in the US, but he just shrugged.

    He pays for business access, rather than private home access. It's another $40 per month, but there's higher bandwidth, servers are allowed, no traffic shaping, no throttling of Bittorrent protocols, and best of all, NO CAP.

    His theory-and it seems to hold-is that if you're going to cough up the dosh for a business account, then you know what you're getting into with such things, so they don't care if the RIAA/MPAA shows up at your door.

    I suppose, but I think it's just the extra $40 that turns their head.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wmbetts ( 1306001 )

      Which is complete BS. He shouldn't have to buy business class access to receive what they advertise.

      If I buy ad space on a website and the ad directs people to a website that tells them they can loose an unlimited amount of weight in 1 month the FTC would be all over me, but for some reason it's okay for ISPs to say you have unlimited bandwidth. You can say "oh the fine print they sign says so". Well the FTC recently cracked down on all the diet rebills that were going crazy and are now prosecuting people.

  • by microbee ( 682094 ) on Saturday May 29, 2010 @03:53AM (#32387134)

    All of you need to go green by not using so much bandwidth!

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson