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Comment: Re:Discrimination of girls is bad and unethical (Score 1) 673

by Mandrel (#46721965) Attached to: Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

cross-culturally more egalitarian societies have even larger sex differences (probably because people are more free to do what they like doing)

That's an interesting theory. Usually the fact that women are more equally represented in science and technology in Eastern Europe has been explained by a weaker legacy of discrimination compared to Western countries. But were the communists assigning people to careers based on either raw aptitude or equal gender splits, so that any social reluctance was driven underground?

Comment: Re:Affiliate link (Score 1) 37

by Mandrel (#46690051) Attached to: Book Review: Mobile HTML5

Yes, all Slashdot book reviews have Amazon affiliate links. I agree that Slashdot would benefit from labelling them as such, because transparency inspires goodwill.

My only other problem with such links is that they endorse and prefer one specific (behemoth) vendor. Links to other vendors should be added, even if there's a bias to ones who pay affiliates. Sort of like smartURL, that chooses a list of music affiliates based on IP, but for books.

Comment: Automatic SSD caching of spinning disks in Linux? (Score 1) 353

by Mandrel (#46654227) Attached to: An SSD for Your Current Computer May Save the Cost of a New One (Video)

all you need is a large enough SSD to contain your OS and software and whatever data you're working with at the moment,

Can the Linux kernel be configured to use a SSD as a 2nd-level disk cache, behind the RAM cache, so that you don't need to manually put your working data in the SSD?

Comment: Re:Why the Paywall Hate? (Score 1) 361

by Mandrel (#46173703) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Online News Is Worth Paying For?

Thanks for those insights.

I am familiar with The Economist. The reason I asked the question was that I suspect people are more willing to pay a subscription fee for information that gives them a practical benefit — such as advice — than for information that just makes them better citizens, better talkers, or enjoyably passes the time. This would make it harder for sources of general news, analysis, and opinion to monetize their service, compared to more specialist media such as the ones you mention.

Comment: Re:Asahi Shimbun (Score 1) 361

by Mandrel (#46170759) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Online News Is Worth Paying For?

My local paper's doing the browsable, etc. PDF online version for subs too. I won't use the thing because there's no reason to make me skip several pages to read the rest of a story just because that's how they had to lay it out in the physical medium. Browsers != newspapers.

I find a paper layout much easier than a normal website layout for skimming to find something interesting to read. But yes, there should be a way to click on a partial story to automatically show the rest of it in a pop-up frame. PDF can't do this, but the newspaper I subscribe to uses a browser-based replica edition, and you can double click a story on the layout to bring up a window containing a copy-able version of the whole text of the article. But it's still hard to search this for the break point.

Comment: Re:Economist and NYT - but with conditions (Score 1) 361

by Mandrel (#46170705) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Online News Is Worth Paying For?

I would pay NYT $.0001 per word for articles of interest to me if the money didn't expire and I had a 7 second grace period for exiting stuff I clicked by mistake.

That's a good way of charging, as long as it didn't encourage verbosity and click-bait headlines. For full a la carte, I'd be willing to drop one of your zeros.

Comment: Re:Why the Paywall Hate? (Score 1) 361

by Mandrel (#46170655) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Online News Is Worth Paying For?

I will second the economist.

I'd be interested to know the main thing you get out of The Economist:

  1. Better knowing how the world works so that you live and work smarter,
  2. Being a better citizen, informing your political stances and voting, or
  3. The enjoyment of learning, and being a better conversationalist.

Comment: Re:lizard-brain visual heroine (Score 1) 361

by Mandrel (#46170465) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Online News Is Worth Paying For?

That is incorrect. The payment you make to the site you browse is a chance to be influenced. The site thus gains an opportunity to influence you, which they sell forward to the advertizers. Whether these advertizers succeed or fail in their attempt to use their opportunity is their problem, not yours. Either way you've paid.

True in the short term. But unless advertising with a particular publication produces sufficient ROI, it will be diverted. There's no such thing as a free lunch for publishers whose users tolerate their ads but don't change their buying habits, even when ads get clicked.

Comment: Re:I do not mind IE (Score 1) 390

by Mandrel (#46117491) Attached to: IE Drops To Single-Digit Market Share

The fundamental problem is that people are hanging onto Windows XP like it's their god damned life.

That's what's driven people away from IE: XP users couldn't upgrade past IE8, so to get a modern browser they had to switch to Firefox or Chrome, which they then got used to, and so kept using when they eventually upgraded their Windows OS.

So Microsoft may have shot themselves in the foot by preventing IE9+ from working on XP.

Comment: Re:Cable Cutters don't care (Score 1) 169

by Mandrel (#45860981) Attached to: ABC Kills Next-Day Streaming For Non-Subscribers

The trick is to have friends who aren't dicks and reveal the ending but can offer good recommendations.

Yes, this usually works one-on-one with a friend, but doesn't usually happen with forced larger groups like office chat, parties, mates at the pub, gaggles of girlfriends at the coffee shop, and online group chat.

Comment: Re:Cable Cutters don't care (Score 2) 169

by Mandrel (#45853761) Attached to: ABC Kills Next-Day Streaming For Non-Subscribers

The biggest commonality of cable cutters (including me) I know is that they don't watch or care about "live" TV.

I'm not sure this is true in the larger (more social) community. Many get much of their enjoyment from a show by talking and writing about it afterward (something I suspect is also true of sex). So unless friends synchronize delayed viewing, and participation in online discussion isn't important, this drives viewing close to release dates, which this move by ABC aims to better monetize.

But yes, if you can do without timely talking and writing, you can save a lot on AV entertainment.

Comment: Re:Old skool history of copy protection (Score 4, Interesting) 281

by Mandrel (#45710827) Attached to: DRM Has Always Been a Horrible Idea

Take the humble Commodore 64. The most common home micro of the 80s. Lots of users. Lots of software. Lots of piracy. What happened in the end is that lots of companies making software made lots of money, despite the piracy, until the computer faded into obscurity with a dwindling userbase that had moved on to more powerful computers.

I've never owned a game console, but watching things it seemed to me that the reason the Playstation greatly outsold the Nintendo 64 was because the Playstation used crackable CDs while the N64 used cartridges. The weak DRM was a winner for Sony, while the game makers had their piracy losses offset by the bigger ecosystem.

However I don't think this is a good argument that content makers lose more than they gain from DRM. Weak DRM can be a net gain for publishers if some of the gains had by making piracy inconvenient is given back to users as lower prices or automatic updates.

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun

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