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Comment: Re:Apple (Score 1) 230

by HiThere (#47734485) Attached to: When Customer Dissatisfaction Is a Tech Business Model

FWIW, you may need to look in a mirror. (I'm assuming that you are the same poster with a similar message above.) Some people may chose which service to use or which company to buy from based on price. Not everyone is such a person. I used to prefer Apple to MS, switched to MS reluctantly when it made it easier to use it with work, and then switched back to Apple over an MS license change. Then Apple tried to sneak in an equivalent license change on a security patch. Then I switched to Linux. Cost didn't enter into it. Convenience pointed in the other direction. (At the time Linux didn't have a decent word processor, and I had to use the Netscape HTML editor as the best available alternative for a couple of years. [Yes, I could have used Lyx, but word processing wasn't the job, it was a sideline to the job. Besides, Lyx [or TEX?] didn't understand what a paragraph was, or how to wrap a line. I didn't need something fancy, I needed something easy to use, with a bold, italic, and underline. A table of contents and an index would have been really appreciated, but they weren't available in something that was easy.) Commercial software that I bought during that time always died quickly as Linux kept changing, but when the source code was available it could usually be recompiled. I sure didn't make the change for either convenince or to save money...though over the years it's ended up giving me both.

Comment: Re:We don't want you anyway (Score 1) 230

by HiThere (#47732961) Attached to: When Customer Dissatisfaction Is a Tech Business Model

What they're getting is customers who don't complain to them.

No matter how angry I am with a company, I rarely bother to tell them, because they'll just ignore me. Instead I tell other people, who may, or may not, ignore me. If I feel endangered with a suit, I'll complain anonymously...but more frequently, because I'll be rather sure that fewer people are paying attention. Usualy, however, I'll attempt to phrase my complaint in a way that while clear, is non-actionable.

OTOH, this doesn't really help deal with a monopoly situation.

Comment: Re:Where? (Score 1) 230

by HiThere (#47732913) Attached to: When Customer Dissatisfaction Is a Tech Business Model

What you're ignoring is that the support for free software is often better than the support for commercial software. That in many cases free software is more responsive to consumers desire for functionality than is commercial software.

OTOH, as projects get larger and older they tend to become less responsive, whether commercial or free. So there's something else going on. Call is "Standard Social Structure" or some such. Developers of a project that's been going a long time tend to feel that they are the ones who know what the project should do. Perhaps this is all we need to explain Gnome3 and KDE4 (though KDE has finally gotten KDE4 to be almost as good as KDE3 was--of course, now they're pushing KDE5).

It's not a cost vs. quality issue, since quality seems to generally decline over time (after a peak is reached) whether payment is involved or not.

I think the whole thing is down to monopoly effects. Where the monopoly is felt to be stronger, the effect is stronger.

FWIW, I have generally been more satisfied with Free Software than I ever was with Commercial software. I didn't switch because of money, I switched because of licensing, but the Free Software licensing meant that there were fewer barriers to entry to competing products. The result was that generally I've been more satisfied. (OTOH, I haven't been using commercial software during the intervening years, I've only heard the screams of rage and agony....but there have been several of those in the Free Software community, too.)

That said, in niche markets commercial software is often better, or at least becomes of usable quality more quickly. My wife is appalled at the state of music score editing software available for Linux. Yes, I can do nearly anything with Frescobaldi and Lilypond that could be done with Finale, but SHE can't do it. She's not a programmer, and the user interface is, in her opinion, unusably terrible. She needs to be able to adjust the size of note heads, to control the placement of line breaks, and to write pieces of music more than one page long. With some programs she can do some of those things. There's no program with a, to her, usable interface, that will let her do all of them. But neither Finale nor Sibelius make a version for Linux. And I won't agree to the licenses offered by MS and Apple. So she's quite unhappy, and I'm not totally happy either, as I don't really enjoy typesetting music.

But do note that this is a niche market. Niche markets act differently than do mainstream markets. LibreOffice is, to my mind, as close to a decent word processor as is MSWord. Neither is perfect. (Though do note that my experience with MSWord dates to the version of 1999. It may currently be either better or worse...or both.)

Comment: Re:Did anybody notice? (Score 1) 62

by HiThere (#47732689) Attached to: UPS: We've Been Hacked

So. They don't know what was taken. They don't know who was compromised. All they know is that they were hacked, and various information COULD have been taken.

Yi! That's not enough information for anyone to make any decision based on anything but level of paranoia. They could at least have said whether it was historic records or only current accounts.

OTOH, I don't think I've ever paid UPS with anything but cash.

Comment: Re:It's called "theory" for a reason (Score 1) 55

by HiThere (#47732453) Attached to: The Star That Exploded At the Dawn of Time

He's probably expecting that if we were sure about it we'd call it a law. He's ignoring the game-rule of science that says you should never be sure anything is correct. All you can do is prove things wrong. And if there's no way to test whether it's wrong it's meaningless. (This is not the same as, and does not imply, "if there's no additional way to test whether it's wrong it's meaningless.")

Comment: Re:Why can't hydrogen cool? (Score 1) 55

by HiThere (#47732383) Attached to: The Star That Exploded At the Dawn of Time

You're being silly. There are good reasons that the clouds of hydrogen couldn't (easily) cool, and they remain true today. Of course these days the clouds are "polluted" with various heavy elements which radiate well and allow the clouds to cool relatively easily. (Even under current condition radiative cooling is rather inefficient.) Hydrogen just has a hard time radiating. It can, a little bit, but not very well. If the cloud is too hot, there aren't any bound electrons, so you don't even get the current (poor) radiation that hydrogen can provide, because radiative cooling depends on an electron slipping from an excited state to a non-excited state, and emitting a photon in the process.

I trust you don't want me to go on.

Comment: Re:Why can't hydrogen cool? (Score 1) 55

by HiThere (#47732309) Attached to: The Star That Exploded At the Dawn of Time

Well, that's the current theory, but I still have trouble accepting dark matter. Perhaps they'll actually find some soon. It *does* fit with the math, so it's easy to understand why it's been proposed and believed in, but "believed in" feels more appropriate for religion than for science. I'll grant that it's the best current theory, but until they actually catch some, or explain why they can't in a convincing way, I'm going to remain iffy about it.

Comment: Re:"expanding by a light year per second" (Score 2) 55

by HiThere (#47732259) Attached to: The Star That Exploded At the Dawn of Time

You sure about that? I was under the impression that it was probably STILL expanding faster than light, if measured from edge to edge (which, of course, you can't do, but can only calculate). In fact I was under the impression that it was believed that many areas of the universe may still be rapidly inflating, just not around here.

FWIW, (and in my understanding) there are theoretical reasons to believe that inflation will continue forever. They're just beyond our light cone. Perhaps this "problem" has been generally agreed to be resolved, but if so I haven't heard about it.

OTOH, I am not a cosmologist.

Comment: Re:Too much good content is deleted at Wikipedia. (Score 1) 236

by HiThere (#47725253) Attached to: Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

The only historical connection is get to Nimrod is biblical: "Nimrod, that mighty hunter". I could look it up, but I don't remember any context. The only current connection I get it to the SF book "The Nimrod Project" in which Nimrod is used because...guess what?...they're building a super-intelligent hunter.

I do have some vague feeling that I heard it used in the way you describe once several decades ago, but I'd hardly say that such a meaning is "well recognized".

Comment: Re:Nicatoids and bees (Score 1) 150

by HiThere (#47723121) Attached to: China Pulls Plug On Genetically Modified Rice and Corn

While Golden Rice is not related to Monsanto, it's my understanding that the right to use it free of patent restrictions is limited, though I don't remember the exact limitations.

N.B.: Open Source doesn't mean free of patent restrictions. It doesn't even mean free of copyright restrictions. It just means that you can read the source code.

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis