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Comment: Re:more direct connection to producers (Score 1) 118

by JaredOfEuropa (#47952777) Attached to: Why a Chinese Company Is the Biggest IPO Ever In the US
It's true that customers enjoy a lot less protection on Alibaba. In the end, you'll have to weigh risk against savings and convenience. In some cases, the warranty does not matter that much if you can get the item a lot cheaper.

Some sellers on Alibaba offer some sort of warranty. I ordered 8 motorized ball valves from a factory through Alibaba (these things are hard to get here as they are not aimed at consumers, and priced at €250 a pop. Same item from China: $40). One of them appeared to be leaking after a few weeks; I returned it and promptly got a replacement. Well "promptly"... the one disadvantage of getting stuff from China is that shipping is cheap but takes ages.

Comment: Re:Alibaba's AliExpress store is ripe with fakes (Score 1) 118

by JaredOfEuropa (#47952747) Attached to: Why a Chinese Company Is the Biggest IPO Ever In the US

Also, US vendors lie on the customs sticker as well

I am glad they do. Many US shippers (as well as shippers from other countries) are happy enough to fiddle the declared value or shipping charges a little. Which helps: import duty is paid over the full amount (value + postage), and declaring either a little lower may bring you under the threshold above which tax is due.

By the way, I am ok with paying import duties. I am not ok with the processing of said duties taking upwards of 2 weeks suring which the shipment is held, and the post charging me an additional €10 in administrative fees to handle the tax.

Comment: Re:Too bad (Score 1) 416

by JaredOfEuropa (#47946023) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence
That depends. Belgium did benefit from having the euro, according to the Economist at least. Their franc would have been utterly destroyed by speculators otherwise by now. The problem with the southern European countries is that they got into dire economic straights, but were not given the chance to apply the tried and true remedy: a controlled devaluation of the national currency. The rest of Europe was overextended as well, otherwise the Spanish banks or Greek debt shenanigans would not have threatened the rest of Europe so badly. This would also have happened without the euro; the problem for the rest of Europe wasn't the single currency, but the large interest of their own banks in Greek debt. If anything, having the euro means it was much easier for all nations to form a front against speculators.

Comment: Re:"Affluent and accomplished" is not the criterio (Score 2) 168

Most middle class people are able to cough up the entry fee and yearly dues, but my guess is that very few of them would be willing to drop that much of their disposable income on something that probably has zero value to them. Except for royalty watchers who enjoy a more intimate peek at what goes on between movie stars and other rich folk, this fee will do a good job of keeping out the little people. It might also keep out the rich though; the well-to-do will pay extra to be shielded from the common folk, but they do expect value for money other than just privacy. The site had better be good, and offer a sterling experience and nice perks.

If I were rich and considering joining this site, I'd be less concerned about ads and more about the site selling off my data to others. It'll be a goldmine for certairn businesses, and I can already see how that plays out: site becomes popular, site gets sold to investors at an overinflated price, new owners change the rules and start milking more and more data to recoup their investment.

Comment: Re:One day, someone will explain it to me. (Score 1) 115

by JaredOfEuropa (#47929651) Attached to: Logitech Aims To Control the Smart Home
What you describe is remote control, the first step in home automation. Indeed, small difference in pressing a button while sat on the couch vs. getting up and flipping a switch. But a lot of what's going on is truly automatic, i.e. scripted. That's where the fun begins. And that's why I have small interest in Apple's HomeKit, or the API-less Nest, or similar devices that are indeed remote control only, or will not work with the hub of MY choice.

Comment: Re:One day, someone will explain it to me. (Score 1) 115

by JaredOfEuropa (#47927529) Attached to: Logitech Aims To Control the Smart Home
Sigh. Convenience, saving energy, security. None of this is going to change your life. But if you sit down and think for a moment you can come up with a hundred use cases that would make it worthwhile for someone to consider such a system. It's not really gotten out of the hobby stage yet, and security of the system itself needs to be addressed (it's piss poor in most systems), but even so, I'm happy with the level of automation I have. Lights, heating, cameras, irrigation, alarms, some locks (not on the house itself!), awnings, all of these are integrated, controllable and to some degree automated. A huge convenience and a money saver.

Not so interested in remotely controlling my oven, sure...

Comment: Re:I HATE multiplayer (Score 1) 291

by JaredOfEuropa (#47916523) Attached to: The Growing Illusion of Single Player Gaming
You can probably figure out why the "screw you and your orders" players are even less popular than the abusive guy shouting orders in groups or raids. The phrase "Lead, follow or get out of the way" applies remarkably well to groups in online games. Follow orders or give them (and if you think that's easy, do give it a go), or don't bother joining the group at all; you'll be doing everyone a big favour.

Personally, I found that succeeding at a hard challenge in a good team, with a good leader and everyone else doing their part, is one of the most rewarding experiences of online gaming.

Comment: Re:I've been on data roaming since last Monday... (Score 5, Insightful) 609

You can control the timing of your downloads. Turn off data roaming, which is a good idea on any smartphone if roaming charges are excessive. You can disable automatic downloads of music and other content. But most importantly: you can choose whether or not automatic downloads occur over the cellular network (roaming or not); the default setting is to disallow this.

Apple was a bit naughty by pushing an album we didn't ask for, but that's all it is: well-intended spam. No need to be overly dramatic about Apple owning our devices, and no worrying about racking up insane roaming charges.

Comment: Re:Been there, done that (Score 1) 589

by JaredOfEuropa (#47902275) Attached to: High School Student Builds Gun That Unlocks With Your Fingerprint
It's not a liability no matter what, it's just that I don't believe this technology is durable and reliable enough for mounting in a gun just yet. In a safe, you can have the scanner mains powered with a battery back up; a gun kept in the nightstand for home defense might well turn out to be out of batteries just when you need it most. And a gun safe is not subject to the not insignificant recoil of a gun, not to mention grease, dirt and other wear & tear. Lastly, it's good practice to keep the gun in a safe anyway, especially with kids around the house.

Maybe at some point, the scanner will be reliable enough to be put on guns. Even then, the question remains: what number of firearm accidents are due to an unauthorized person handling the weapon, instead of the rightful owner accidentally discharging it or misidentifying his target? And to what extent would unauthorized use have occurred anyway, i.e. a thief finding the firearm he just stole useless, then picking up a cheap saturday night special from his friendly illegal arms dealer?

Comment: Been there, done that (Score 5, Insightful) 589

by JaredOfEuropa (#47901501) Attached to: High School Student Builds Gun That Unlocks With Your Fingerprint
This is certainly not the first time someone came up with this idea, nor the first time an actual implementation was made. This article and the award sounds like a publicity stunt, and it has all the usual elements: young wunderkind, technical gadgetry to solve some social or politically charged issue.

And other posters here are right: the last thing you need is a weapon that fails when you need it most. If you want a weapon that's safe at rest, get a gun safe with a fingerprint scanner so you can get at it quickly when needed. And if you really want a gun that is disabled when it's taken away from you, I'd go with a simple mechanical solution like a pin on a lanyard that will lock the gun when removed. But in reality, if you've pulled out your weapon with intent to use it, you want nothing to stand in the way of a shot being fired when you pull that trigger.

Comment: Re: hahaaa....really ? (Score 1) 182

by JaredOfEuropa (#47901375) Attached to: The MOOC Revolution That Wasn't
The classroom is a bit like democracy: the worst system we have, except for all of the other systems we have tried. At any learning conference, or talking to any learning professional, you'll hear the words "the classroom sucks" at some point. Hated because of its assembly-line heritage, and "captive audiences". However those properties may be its strong point: it still seems the best way to educate large groups of people, and in some cases, capturing an audience is the one way to make sure they pay attention. Not every kid is going to be interested in mandatory material.

Comment: Re:What about other devices? (Score 5, Insightful) 421

by JaredOfEuropa (#47889827) Attached to: Windows Tax Shot Down In Italy
It only applies if the OS and device are really two separate entities. For Macs you could argue that you should be able to buy the device without the OS. For phones, it seems that the OS is part of the device, especially in case of iPhones (what else are you going to run on them). Keep in mind that iOS isn't sold separately either, nor are there any charges for upgrades.

Comment: Re:So what? (Score 1) 110

Not really. While it is true that in a lot of countries like these, low level bribery is almost a requirement to doing business. Want your goods to clear customs sometime this century? Pay up. Want your work visas processed in a timely manner? Some civil servant will need a filled envelope. Don't want you plant shut down? Make the inspector happy. This sort of thing goes on all the time, and is often handled through local intermediaries.

What HP did was bribing high level government and corporate officials to win business.

Real Users never know what they want, but they always know when your program doesn't deliver it.