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Television

Cable TV Prices Rising At Four Times the Inflation Rate 286

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-the-market-will-bear dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A new FCC report (PDF) has found that U.S. cable TV prices are rising at four times the rate of inflation over the past two decades. 'Basic cable service prices increased by 6.5 percent [to $22.63] for the 12 months ending January 1, 2013. Expanded basic cable prices increased by 5.1 percent [to $64.41] for those 12 months, and at a compound average annual rate of 6.1 percent over the 18-year period from 1995-2013. ... These price increases compare to a 1.6 percent increase in general inflation as measured by the CPI (All Items) for the same one-year period.' Equipment prices rose faster than inflation, too. The report also found that the price increases weren't helped by competition — in fact, the prices rose faster where there were competing providers than in areas where the main provider had no effective competition."

Comment: Re:Well actually he's pretty solidly anti-gun too. (Score 1) 234

by Mephistro (#46599705) Attached to: Anti-Game-Violence Legislator Arrested, Faces Gun Trafficking Charges

... and you end up with taxes on drugs to pay for some of the likely increase in health problems

If you remove the war on drugs, you also remove contamination -poisonings-, variations in drug's concentration -overdoses-, needle sharing - AIDS, hepatitis- and most of the reasons for violent drug related crimes. Your "likely increase in health problems" is quite unlikely, indeed.

Comment: Oh, well (Score 5, Interesting) 296

You can build your own steam machine for peanuts, if you are technically inclined. If you aren't, you can request the help from a friend, and if you can't/don't want to do that, you can still buy a suitable PC an add SteamOS on top. If you're too lazy even for that and have money to expend, you can purchase one of these pretty Steam machines. At the very least you'll be free from the Windows tax and still you'll end up with a full fledged PC with a serious OS (Linux) that can run lots and lots of 'serious apps' + a growing number of games. I think Valve has hit the nail in the head with this one. Kudos to them.

Comment: If I had to design a weapon to be 3Dprinted... (Score 1) 344

by Mephistro (#43278329) Attached to: The ATF Not Concerned About 3D Printed Guns... Yet
... it wouldn't be a 'classic' firearm.

You don't need receivers and metallic mechanical parts if you use electric ignition, just an electric trigger, a battery and some circuitry.

You don't need proper barrels if you can use thin standard tubing encased in a 3d printed plastic sleeve, both for reinforcing the barrel and for safety.

You don't need magazines if you can store several bullets in the barrel and make the barrels single use and swappable. Due to their flimsy construction, the barrels should be strictly one use only, having to swap barrels for a new burst.

A company called Metal Storm is already applying some of these concepts in the real world.

As for lack of precision due to the lack of rifling in the barrel... they'd still be great for urban guerrilla scenarios, and probably far more precise than UZI style weapons.

I don't think the ATF guys have thought this one thoroughly enough.

Cloud

EU Citizens Warned Not To Use US Cloud Services Over Spying Fears 138

Posted by timothy
from the oh-don't-you-worry dept.
Diamonddavej writes "Leading privacy expert Caspar Bowden warned European citizens not to use cloud services hosted in the U.S. over spying fears. Bowden, former privacy adviser to Microsoft Europe, explained at a panel discussion hosted at the recent Computers, Privacy and Data Protection conference in Brussels, that a section in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act 2008 (FISAAA) permits U.S. intelligence agencies to access data owned by non-U.S. citizens on cloud storage hosed by U.S. companies, if their activity is deemed to affect U.S. foreign policy. Bowden claimed the Act allows for purely political spying of activists, protesters and political groups. Bowden also pointed out that amendments to the EU's data protection regulation proposal introduce specific loopholes that permit FISAAA surveillance. The president of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves (at a separate panel discussion) commented, 'If it is a U.S. company it's the FBI's jurisdiction and if you are not a U.S. citizen then they come and look at whatever you have if it is stored on a U.S. company server.' The European Data Protection Supervisor declined to comment but an insider indicated that the authority is looking into the matter."

Comment: Re:Provoking (Score 1) 1130

by Mephistro (#42737441) Attached to: Machine Gun Fire From Military Helicopters Flying Over Downtown Miami
Reality states that at least it would make weapons more expensive for the criminals. Nowadays thousands of weapons are stolen from their rightful owners, or illegally sold by their rightful owners to criminals every year. As smuggling operations have to compete against these sources of weapons, they have to keep prices low. If you close the former sources, smuggled weapon prices will soar, just like with any other monopoly.

What is more, with the actual status quo, for many crims not having a weapon would be suicidal, as many of their prospective victims are probably armed and willing to shoot at them. It's like an arms race, with the added factor that most of these weapons are sold to both sides by the same companies.

Comment: Re:Blame Napster (Score 1) 334

by Mephistro (#38974931) Attached to: File Sharing In the Post MegaUpload Era
"do you think you can bring Harry Potter onto the big screen without the resources of big budget movie studio?"

Give it ten or twenty years and technology will make expensive films and film studios follow the path of dinosaurs. In that timeframe and thanks to Moore's Law the average user will have enough power at his fingertips to make CGI films indistinguishable from reality, including tricks like motion capture. A group of friends could do a film for peanuts, and if the film is good enough it could make tons of money for its makers. Of course, there would be lots of crappy films, but without the help of some humongous promotion campaign, they would be winnowed out really fast.

In that moment, with good quality films costing less than, say, 50000 $, it suddenly would make sense to obtain revenues by alternative means, i.e. publicity and product placement, and what we call 'piracy' would be the best way of promoting a film.

I think that movie studios are aware of this, and are just desperate to milk the cow as much as possible, before she falls dead.

Comment: Re:not to mention... (Score 1) 174

by Mephistro (#38897287) Attached to: Early Plants May Have Caused Massive Glaciation

The fossil record shows that time and time again biosphere changes are not only recovered from, but that the net effect is dramatically positive in terms of long term diversity.

Yep! You're totally right! If we trigger a mass extinction, in a few millions of years everything will go back to normal, and our descendants -if they miraculously manage to survive - will thank us for our hindsight in causing said extinction.

Nah.

He who steps on others to reach the top has good balance.

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