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Comment: Re:You know... (Score 2) 153

by Mandrel (#49502703) Attached to: The Upsides of a Surveillance Society

I've once had the fortune (misfortune?) of living in East Germany for a year, back when the Berlin Wall existed. Do you want to know what living surveillance state is like? It's a place where you are ALWAYS on guard. You can never be honest with anyone - your teacher in school could be with the government, your best friend could be undercover, even your own family could be recruited. You have to bottle up everything inside yourself, and you present this lovely facade to the public.

This need to be too nice is also true of non-anonymous forums like Facebook, where there's a split between anodyne comments and over-the-top complaints. The former comes about because no-one wants to be accused of being a hater or a whinger, and wants to maximize their "likes", so nearly all comments are content-free sunshine and roses. But once the target is a corporation or a prominent person who may have done something wrong, everyone smugly gangs up and lets loose. The middle path of polite and measured criticism is lost, which is where the meat is in any discussion.

Comment: Re:I wonder if... (Score 1) 120

Amazon probably won't (initially) force service suppliers to be exclusive to Amazon, though they could offer a fee reduction for those who do.

What Amazon are doing however is forcing any offer on Amazon to be no worse than any other offer, so providers can't charge Amazon customers more to cover the fees. Providers must yield some of their margin to Amazon but hope to make it up through greater volume.

Comment: Re:Queen of the 9s (Score 1) 529

by Mandrel (#49219349) Attached to: Apple's "Spring Forward" Event Debuts Apple Watch and More

Do any of its prices not have a 9 in it?

Yeah. All of the Watch Edition models.

The $10,000 model? That's the first Apple price I've seen without a "9". Pricing of non-mass-market luxury products is usually more classy, which is why I think they're tainting their mainline products with such pricing.

It's hard to have respect for a company that doesn't respect your intelligence through ubiquitous use of a dumb pricing trick.

Right, Apple is sure unusual to use those price points. Dick.

Wall-to-wall "9" pricing is unusual in tech companies, though Apple are encouraging a trend. It's more common in discount retailers.

At least on me, such pricing doesn't have the intended effect of reducing the headline digit by one and making it seem like prices have been precisely cut to the bone. Instead they make prices seem more what-the-market-will-bear than cost-plus.

Comment: Re:Doxing is asking for trouble. (Score 1) 467

Revealing a trolls identity isn't asking for trouble. It implicates them as a suspect for anything bad that may happen to you in the future.

...but makes it more likely that something bad will happen to you. While you lay dying or nurse a permanent disability you can comfort yourself that you were able to give the police a list of your enemies.

Comment: Re:Open Source limits your business models. (Score 1) 208

by Mandrel (#49042583) Attached to: Elementary OS: Why We Make You Type "$0"

I don't know why more open source projects don't just charge for their software. Sure this removes Freedom 0 (the freedom to run), so it's not (big-O) Open Source.

The GPL lets you charge for software. The problem is that whoever you sell it to can then distribute it willy-nilly, and who's going to pay you for a copy when they can just download it for free somewhere?

I'm advocating a nearly-Free licence where the purchaser can indeed distribute the software willy-nilly (altered or unaltered), but the recipient cannot run it until they pay the development chain. To ensure this point is brought to the software recipients' attention, you would need a licence condition that prevented removal of a small bit of code that checked for the presence of a licence file, plus non-distribution of those licence files. (Easily hacked, but it takes an act of will that brings the law and conscience into play.) Small restrictions, but big benefits to funding the development ecosystem.

I don't think that's true, especially for business users, and especially if a purchase comes with support.

This is precisely why businesses like Red Hat charge megabucks for support and changes and give the product away for free.

And why a thousand as many companies still charge for their software (but stuff things up by keeping it closed).

Comment: Re:Open Source limits your business models. (Score 1) 208

by Mandrel (#49035831) Attached to: Elementary OS: Why We Make You Type "$0"

Humanity shouldn't be in the business of rewriting software hundreds of times over because they can't afford a license that would suit tailored needs. Let's write some good software to solve a problem, then move on and solve some other problem.

A paid open source development model that distributes payments down derived work chains should increase the re-use of software because it combines unhindered redistribution & modification with a work incentive for programmers. Because it doesn't pay well, often Open Source software is usually either done as a hobby or as a way to gain employment (ironically, developing proprietary software).

But sure, charging for software will make it unaffordable for some. But that's how capitalism works in order to make open software development a viable job. There no stopping licence discounts being given to worthy recipients like non-profits, students, small business, and contributors to the software.

Comment: Re:Open Source limits your business models. (Score 1) 208

by Mandrel (#49034335) Attached to: Elementary OS: Why We Make You Type "$0"

Creating software isn't cheap, or effortless, however once it is completed it can be duplicated and shared at near no additional costs. So using good old Economics 101 supply and demand you have a fixed demand, and an infinite supply, so the market rate for any software is near $0.00 below the cost to make it. Software does want to be free.

I don't know why more open source projects don't just charge for their software. Sure this removes Freedom 0 (the freedom to run), so it's not (big-O) Open Source. But it preserves all the important tinkering freedoms, especially if original authors get a cut from sale of derived works.

What you wrote above implies that most users will pirate anything not completely locked down. I don't think that's true, especially for business users, and especially if a purchase comes with support. Charging is better than a donation model, where donors are made to fee like chumps, usually gaining nothing more than karma, and freeloaders haven't done anything wrong.

The old RMS model of making money off of software is selling the distribution. Putting it on Tape, Disk, CD... Some physical media, then you can add manuals to jack up the price. These physical media reduces the available supply so you can make money off of software. Now with nearly everyone with high-enough speed internet access, such physical distribution of software is antiquated. And not a good business model.

Quite true. You can't make money from Open Source software in itself. But you can from software that's free in every way except price.

Comment: Need "Apply" or live updates in dialogs (Score 2) 148

by Mandrel (#48937755) Attached to: LibreOffice Gets a Streamlined Makeover With 4.4 Release
I really appreciate LibreOffice's existence in making Linux a complete desktop OS. However do I find it hard to use due to the lack of live updates or an "Apply" button when making changes in character, paragraph, and, page dialogs. I must estimate the change I want, press "OK", and bring the dialog up again if it's wrong. It's still this way in 4.4.

Comment: Re:It's the people, not the platform. (Score 1) 126

by Mandrel (#48785359) Attached to: Radio, Not YouTube, Is Still King of Music Discovery

Discovery occurs with selective filtering of the music.

Yeah, there's so much new music that one could never find what you like without some sort of human or machine filter/sorter. But even mild filtering makes the job of music discovery manageable.

I create weekly YouTube playlists of the new music played on our local music video TV show. By removing repeats, the playlist is cut down from 11 hours to 2-3 hours, which is easy to listen to over the week. The playlist is filled with all genres, which I like because good stuff can come from anywhere. That's why I don't like music services that try to categorize music and stereotype you as only loving music "similar" to what you already love.

Such a YouTube playlist is the only 100% concentrated eclectic source of new music that I know of. No repeats, ads, charges, DJs, or schedules.

Comment: Re:As expected... (Score 1) 400

by Mandrel (#48722957) Attached to: Box Office 2014: Moviegoing Hits Two-Decade Low

The number of really good movies may be limited each year, but the number of "good enough" movies has exploded. Ten times more feature films were made in 2014 compared to 1914, and five times more than 1956 (see below). Viewers today are so spoiled for choice from new and old films that they are becoming devalued, mostly not worth an outing (much like what has happened to the music industry).

Second, kids now grow up with interactive entertainment, and the old "passives" just don't cut it.

Script to show feature films made by year:

for year in $(seq 1914 2014); do
wget -qO - "http://www.imdb.com/search/title?title_type=feature&year=$year" | grep -m1 '^1-50 of ' | cut -c9-

1,079 1,563 1,988 2,054 2,016 2,124 2,347 2,175 1,825 1,521 1,549 1,587 1,553 1,611 1,614 1,486 1,504 1,642 1,588 1,508 1,625 1,697 1,781 1,776 1,769 1,677 1,602 1,450 1,360 1,242 1,126 1,038 1,208 1,331 1,472 1,633 1,679 1,697 1,789 1,869 1,906 1,928 2,068 2,153 2,231 2,202 2,284 2,333 2,318 2,258 2,447 2,536 2,576 2,884 3,216 3,019 3,257 3,097 2,995 2,854 2,823 2,786 2,783 2,757 2,846 2,974 2,964 2,889 3,018 3,042 3,053 3,061 3,101 3,224 3,266 3,207 3,522 3,369 3,359 3,223 3,169 3,225 3,273 3,452 3,560 3,737 3,749 3,850 3,852 3,812 3,904 4,375 4,751 4,976 5,766 6,819 7,104 7,770 8,182 8,703 10,951

According to the latest official figures, 43% of all statistics are totally worthless.