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Comment: Re:Future historians will be confused (Score 1) 89

by Blue_Wombat (#41627609) Attached to: New Zealand Turning Hobbits Into Actual Cash

The growth rate isn't 1%, it's 2.6% (Statistics NZ, quarter ended June). Also, the NZ dollar isn't as strong as many make it out - historically we were fixed against the $US (until the mid 1980s), and that's still what people seem to quote as "the" exchange rate. We are up against some currencies like the US and UK - because their economies are in the toilet and their central banks are debasing their currencies as fast as they can. Against other major trading partners (eg Australia, our biggest) the NZ dollar has actually weakened quite a bit.

Comment: Re:That's all great, but.... (Score 1) 205

by Blue_Wombat (#39157295) Attached to: Hard Drive Shortage Relief Coming In Q1 2012

@macraig: Are you serious or just trolling?

You don't have to agree with Friedman or anyone else for that matter, but if you are going to hold forth on economics you should at least be familiar with the thought that has gone before, and the evidence that supports their theories. Otherwise, you just come across as a raving crackpot. And what's with the references to "alleged data"? If you feel the data is wrong, say why, and offer better/alternative data.

I hope that I never get sick and wind up with a doctor who thinks the way you go! "Here, apply this leech to your arm. Don't worry about the alleged data from the blood pressure monitor, it's not even data. No sir, I've never been to medical school or read a textbook, that would be just having an interpretation handed to me by someone else, Reading medical journals isn't even data, it's just the interpretation of alleged data by someone other than me. When I diagnose patients, I prefer to reason medical science out by myself - from scratch. Flu - poppycock - I have reasoned that it's imbalance of flux in your system caused by the full moon - here chew this arsenic restorative"

I'm not going to launch into a discourse on price as an allocation mechanism, as other posters have already done a pretty good job. However, unless you want to look even more clueless, I would suggest reading up on some of the basic concepts (supply, demand, elasticities, the impact of price controls in a market, and the historical evidence success of non-market/price allocative mechanisms. Start with a search on Gosplan, then one on black markets, and try a good book such as "The Russians" by Hedrick Smith to see how well bureaucratic allocation works as an alternative to markets in practice. Once you have enough background to differentiate your arse from your elbow, feel free to re-enter the fray.

For the record, I have read Friedman (I have also read Keynes, Adam Smith (v. turgid book), Goodhart, Bentham, Marshall and Marx etc). If that's not eclectic enough for your taste, do please tell me which "cult" I am supposedly in thrall to.

Comment: Re:Why many turn to piracy (Score 1) 620

by Blue_Wombat (#35500808) Attached to: Cutting Prices Is the Only Way To Stop Piracy

All Sony DVD players are region free in this country, in fact it's virtually impossible to buy a DVD player that isn't region free (Blu Ray is another matter). The official Sony dealers will confirm that players are region free when you purchase. The only DVD players regioned out of the box are Panasonic, and their official service agents will de-region them at no charge. Of course, Sony is a nasty vile company which means that you should avoid their stuff where possible, but that's not because of DVD regioning.................

Comment: Re:okay, makes sense now, thanks (Score 1) 245

Your point (1) is plain wrong. DC can be transmitted over very long lengths of cable. High voltage DC links are often preferred for very long transmision distances. In many countries (thr Benmore -->Haywards link in New Zealand springs to mind) there are HDVC link many hundreds of miles long. They are actually more efficiant than AC for that type of transmission.

Your point (4) is a bit whacky as well. Not many business sell their product at exactly the same price that they buy it - they need a margin to pay for silly little incidentals like their infrastructure and staff wages, as well as making a profit.

Your point (6) is *almost* accurate. They need diverse supplies, not just one type. If they have, say, hydro, then they can use solar and wind when the sun shines and wind blows, and hold back the water to deal with peaks and periods when it's dark and the wind isn't blowing. It lets them eke out scarce hydro very economically - or they could use a thermal plant for the same thing. I recall that in Norway they were actually using a lake as a "battery" - using surplus power to pump water back up a hill into hydro storage, which could then be run back through the turbines when they needed extra.

Comment: There are other obvious reasons for this (Score 1) 375

by Blue_Wombat (#35321214) Attached to: Music Execs Stressed Over Free Streaming

Number 1 is the recession that has been biting for the last few years. People are being squeezed - music is a discretionary entertainment purchase, petrol, groceries and rent (mostly) aren't. It isn't rocket science to deduce that in a deep recession, where many people are scared for their jobs and/or struggling to pay the rent and put food on the table, purchases of non-essentials get squeezed. Could be nothing to do with piracy, streaming or the (abysmal!) quality of most of what they are releasing at the moment.

Comment: I don't like this..... (Score 1) 1049

by Blue_Wombat (#35321154) Attached to: Activists Seek Repeal of Ban On Incandescent Bulbs

I have CFLs - I have been using them and they are great in the areas I use them. This includes the main lighting in all but the lavatory and the laundry, where the lights aren't on for that long anyway, but will probably go CFL when the existing bulbs fail. However, there are some things I still prefer incandescents for, most notably my bedside reading lamp. They are just nicer, somehow, to read by. I feel that I know how much the bulbs cost, I know how much energy I use/save by switching, and I know how much energy costs me. Given that I have this information, and am paying the bills, the choice of what bulb I use should be left to me. It shouldn't be imposed by some politician scraping the bottom of the barrel for a media soundbite.

If they want to reduce energy use, they should just tax it at the economic value of the externality they are trying to address - I will respond to the price of power whn I make purchasing decisions - they shouldn't be trying to micro-manage my behaviour. Time for me to join the group stockpiling some bulbs methinks..............

Comment: Re:Hello HDFury (Score 1) 469

by Blue_Wombat (#35251452) Attached to: Goodbye, HD Component Video

The saturation bombing of FBI noticies and unskippable adverts certainly do work - they make the pirated product more user friendly and attractive than the legitimate product. Adding this is just a further step in this direction - I doubt the pirated product will include the ICT! If it gets to the point that I can't play legit product over the component inputs of my HD TV, it will probably be enough to erase my remaining scruples and cause me to start torrenting instead of purchasing.

Comment: If only it was from a reputable vendor........ (Score 1) 86

by Blue_Wombat (#35250564) Attached to: Sony Unveils First PlayStation Phone

Bah..it's a Sony - the vermin of the consumer electronics industry. There is no way they are getting another dime from me .... ever. If it was from a reputable vendor I might have been interested. Do you have to wait five minutes before you can make every call while it downloads new firmware to patch its in-built root-kit?

Comment: My Planned setup (Score 1) 356

by Blue_Wombat (#35197284) Attached to: File Organization — How Do You Do It In 2011?

Timely article, I am in the process of re-doing my setup at the moment. Here is the plan, most of which I intend to implement over the next 2-3 months:

1. A NAS box, with either 8 or 12 TB of storage in JBOD configuration as a media server. Media files originate with my main PC, and are transferred to the NAS box. As this is done the converted files are duplicated to a USB external drive (stored offsite), and also burned to DVDs (stored in the garage, seperate from the house, with numbered disks and an index file on the PC for recovery). Original disks are stored in a safe cool place - re-rippable in extremis.About 300 CDs and 1,400 DVDs (some purchased, some recorded off cable on a DVD recorder) still to process - tedious! Emulator software, copies of ebooks, my photos etc will also go here. Organised in a logica directory structure (/media/TV/documentaries, /photos/2010_03_15_Fred's_Party/ etc). As well as my main network, a pair of WD TV Live's will be wirelessly linked to this. For photo directories etc, I will include a small text file describing the contents.

2. A second NAS box with 2x2TB drives in RAID 1 configuration. This is for the stuff I am working on and that has value to me & isn't easily replaced. This will be backed up nightly to a USB drive. Two external USB drives will be used for the backing up, one kept at home, the other locked in my drawer at work, and rotated weekly. All three of my machines will be backed up to this box. These will be encrypted.

As disk capacities continue grow exponentially, and my storage needs will as well, I will just keep migrating the whole kit and kaboodle to NAS boxes with ever larger capacity, but with the same structure intact.

Comment: Re:I think (Score 1) 351

by Blue_Wombat (#35160052) Attached to: Sony Marketing Man Tweets PS3 Master Key
So if Ford sold a cheap car and got $1 a gallon every time you filled up at Exxon (which is "how their business model works") they would be justified in specially locking the gas tank so you couldn't fill up elsewhere, and putting sugar in your gas tank if you tried? Or prosecuting you if you buy a better radio from an after-market vendor, or dared to get an oil change at an independent garage? That's more or less what Sony has done.

Comment: Re:I think (Score 1) 351

by Blue_Wombat (#35160018) Attached to: Sony Marketing Man Tweets PS3 Master Key
And that's precisely why people aren't angry with Microsoft or Nintendo, but are furious with Sony. Microsoft and Nintendo never offered it in the first place - so if you bought an Xbox or a Wii you got what you paid for. Sony did more than graciously "allow" something, they incorporated it into their marketing as one of the attractive features of the box. Then, after they had sold it to you and taken the cash, removed funcationality they had just promoted and sold to you. It's called fraud!

Perhaps there should be a class action suit to make Sony fully refund the purchase price of all ps3 consoles that had been sold as otherOS capable and then had the feature removed? Arguably, since they have taken away enjoyment of the product, they should have to refund full retail on any games etc surrendered with the console!

Comment: Re:Money (Score 1) 609

by Blue_Wombat (#35135554) Attached to: An Open Letter To PC Makers: Ditch Bloatware, Now!
I have tried to pay more for a bloatware-free PC. For my desktop, which was built to order, it was easy to get one with no bloatware and original windows media. It was, however, impossible to purchase a laptop that way from any vendor in this country (which isn't the US). And yes, I was perfectly willing to pay $50 more.

"People should have access to the data which you have about them. There should be a process for them to challenge any inaccuracies." -- Arthur Miller

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