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Comment: Re:The solution is obvious (Score 1) 545

Exactly. I have a Nexus 7 2013 tablet. Samsung has some very tempting products, but I prefer to have Google's flagship products that get the longest support and the fastest updates.

Apple has the clout to fight the carriers on crapware, bloatware, and lock-in. I hope Google in conjunction with hardware manufacturers get the same leverage soon.

'Til then, buy what you like, but know that if it's not supported directly by Google, your support may be lacking.

Comment: Re:The solution is obvious (Score 2, Interesting) 545

" a smartphone is just a shrunk down PC/laptop."

No. It isn't. Seriously. PC/Laptop CPUs are all either x86 or i64 (mostly i64) compatible and standardized. The various modified ARM versions in mobiles are not. ARM tech is licensed and various core manufacturers make their own changes - but also, there are ARM4, ARM5, ARM6, ARM7, and ARM8 based CPUs out there with incompatible binaries. MS and Apple just compile once and go (Though Apple compiles for A5, etc for tablets and MS compiles for 32 bit and 64 bit)- but you have to compile for each architecture for various devices running Android. In fact, it's smarter for the manufacturer to compile it specifically for the configuration they created - as well as enabling/disabling features to optimize memory, speed, etc. Manufacturers also may have to recompile any other binaries/drivers to inter-operate with the updated code.

Also, MS and Apple have standardized OSes. Android is not - it's a base for the manufacturers and carriers to modify. Because it's modified, it's up to the manufacturer who made the modifications to update the systems to be compatible. It simply is not possible for Google to maintain a list of all manufacturer's various hardware and software modifications for each device produced (assuming manufacturers would even give them that info).

"What does a pure software component, WebView, have anything to do with hardware drivers? Nothing."

Now, here is where you have a solid argument. Google could release a patch for each Android version affected rather than require an upgrade to a new Android version to resolve the issue. That's not an unreasonable request for maintenance on 2 year old software. Even then, it would be up to the manufacturers to compile and test the code for their devices, then to release it.

I'm not sure there's much of an argument if the devices could be upgraded instead of patched. MOST of them can be upgraded to Android 5 - it was designed to have a smaller footprint so that even older devices that couldn't take previous updates could upgrade to 5. Either way, it'd be the device manufacturers' responsibility to test and push out the update.

Your device manufacturer chose the hardware configuration, modified the OS, and accepted responsibility for supporting the hardware AND software updates for the device. That's why it's their fault and not Google's. Android 5 can be run with few modifications on practically any device that could run Android 4 (ice cream sandwich) which came out 3 or 4 years ago. There's no reason each and every device manufacturer couldn't recompile from source, test, and push out the very latest Android to just about every device out there. Why haven't they? Because they don't care about long term support. They are in the business of selling you a NEW device, not maintaining your old one beyond a reasonable time for them not to be sued.

Want to blame someone? Manufacturer FIRST, then Carrier, then Google. Google's done their part IMHO by releasing free fully patched OSes for the manufacturer. It's not their fault if the manufacturer refuses to compile, test, and push out the updates (with their carriers' blessings) which they accepted full responsibility for doing.


Comment: Re:The solution is obvious (Score 0) 545

The real question is: WHEN will Google have enough leverage to force carriers and device manufacturers to allow them direct access to upgrade the devices and without crapware or disabling features?

I bet one could jailbreak a device and flash a firmware hack to patch the hole if Google or another team released a fix.

Google lets manufacturers use their base OS for free given some restrictions, and yes, many of the devices use radically different hardware with different kernel modifications, GUIs, and drivers. It's a fragmented ecosystem, and it would be pointless to push updates without consulting the manufacturers on how such changes would affect such customized systems. Think of the many different Linux distros running various window managers, kernel versions, hardware, etc. You push the wrong update to the wrong distro and you break all sorts of things. Google doesn't want that liability. Not to mention, they don't have the authority to alter a device - it would void your warranty without the manufacturer's permission.

The smartphone market is less like the laptop market and more like the embedded OS market - highly customized software specifically for one configuration of a device and also tailored for the manufacturer's preferred interface and the carrier's preferred lock-in schemes with crapware and disabled features (so they can offer premium paid features).

Blame the carriers first, the manufacturers (who stopped thinking about supporting your phone about 5 months after they released it) second, and Google very last.

Look at Google's Nexus product line - those get updates first b/c Google negotiated to have a clean OS on good hardware that would be largely portable between carriers. It's not Google's fault people choose other less supported makes and models. If consumers only purchased Nexus devices, Google would have the clout of Apple and could command more authority on the design, implementation, and upgrades of Android devices.

It would be very nice if and when the Android market were more like the laptop market, but even then -- remember all those Windows XP machines that could upgrade to Windows 7, but the manufacturers never made drivers for the hardware? XP laptops upgraded to 7 sometimes didn't have trackpad drivers or webcam drivers... same thing could happen with android devices. Fix a kernel bug and suddenly your phone loses a feature because the manufacturer didn't bother to upgrade the driver for the new kernel.

The current arrangement is Google makes the software, Manufacturers customize it for the device and carrier. Google updates the software, Manufacturers support the device with software upgrades pushed over carrier networks. If google's made a patch or update (and Android 5 can work on older devices that couldn't take the 4.4 upgrade), then it is definitely the manufacturer's fault for not supporting their hardware and testing and rolling out the patch. If the arrangement is going to change to more like the Apple model - people need to start buying Nexus products and shunning all hardware that doesn't come with updates straight from Google.

I understand that the life cycle of phones is about 2 years, so It's hard for me to be upset about 2 year old unsupported hardware (Verizon has a "new every 2 plan"), but I certainly wouldn't blame Google for he issue when manufacturers and carriers are the ones blocking their ability to provide the updates. IF Google could update any old Android device on their own, they'd wipe out crapware and bloatware, enable the features Verizon and others have disabled by default, and get rid of crappy UIs some manufacturers put on their devices in favor of the Nexus interface.

Comment: Re:New System: Inner/Outer Planets (Score 1) 170

by Ramze (#48852907) Attached to: Analysis Suggests Solar System Contains Massive Trans-Neptunian Objects

No need to begin with tl; dr as it's obvious you either didn't read it or simply have a lack of reading comprehension. Odd that you'd bother to reply without reading and comprehending, though. You clearly missed my point entirely.

My post was a response to yours, not its grandparent, so all references to such are moot. Mostly, I was trying to convey a general sense that modern astronomy lacks clear, descriptive definitions and designations - including one for "binary planet" which you were clearly arguing for.

This gem is what I was specifically replying to:

"But I take solace in the fact that the Moon is spiralling away from the Earth and long before the death of the Sun makes all this insignificant, the Earth and Moon will, in fact, become a binary planet. According to the precepts of contemporary astronomy."

The Earth and Moon will absolutely, emphatically, undeniably NOT be considered a binary planet according to contemporary astronomy because THERE IS NO SUCH DESIGNATION.

I hope this post was short enough and uses small enough words to get the point across for you.

I apologize for attempting to enlighten you on your error while simultaneously agreeing with you that the current system is extremely flawed.

Comment: Re:New System: Inner/Outer Planets (Score 1) 170

by Ramze (#48848341) Attached to: Analysis Suggests Solar System Contains Massive Trans-Neptunian Objects

Modern astronomy is still clinging to the historical method of naming things according to their influence on and by their surroundings. Yes, it's silly. I'd rather a system that describes bodies by their characteristics instead of their locations relative to other objects.

Phobos is just an asteroid captured by Mars, but because it's a satellite of Mars, it is classified as a moon. Some large moons around gas giants like Triton are thought to have once been planets or dwarf planets. Obviously, there's a huge difference between Titan with its large diameter and thick atmosphere and the tiny, irregularly shaped Deimos. Yet, they are both moons. The current system cares nothing for their characteristics or how they were formed.

Your notion regarding the Earth/Moon system having a different classification in the future than it does today is no more relevant than if Mars were to be captured by Jupiter in a few billion years due to orbital instability. We'd then call Mars a moon instead of a planet. Odd, perhaps, but that doesn't mean we should start calling Mars a Jovian moon in the meantime - even if we had mathematical models proving it was going to happen. Even more odd -- if a Jovian moon were to be hurled into deep space, there is no official designation for what to call it at that point. Rogue planet, sub-brown dwarf, and interstellar planetary body are merely suggestions.

To say that the Earth and the Moon have a special relationship is obvious, but it doesn't warrant any extraordinary classification given the absurdity of the current system. The Moon does indeed orbit Earth as evidenced by the barycenter being inside Earth as well as the Earth being the more massive of the two objects. The Moon is also tidally locked to Earth as most moons are. Yes, as you point out, both the Earth and the Moon have a sinusoidal/elliptical orbit around Sol, but I'd argue that it's not only insignificant, but its shape would change entirely if Earth/Moon were a greater distance from Sol. Earth's orbit only shows a tiny wobble while the Moon's is more pronounced, but more importantly - the shape of the Moon's orbit has little to do with the mass of the moon itself. At its current distance from Earth, given the masses and positions of Sol and Earth, any satellite would have a stronger gravitational influence from Sol than from Earth. However, if we moved Earth and the Moon to a distance say... in place of Jupiter, Sol's influence would be less, the barycenter between Earth and the Moon would stay the same, but you'd instead see a true looping orbit path for the Moon around the Earth as Earth's gravity will be significantly stronger than the Sun's at that distance. Some of Neptune's outermost moons also have a sinusoidal path around the sun, but again, it's more to do with the masses and distances to Neptune and Sol than anything unique about the moons in relation to Neptune. Alternatively, over 4 billion years ago, the Earth/Moon system would have had a barycenter closer to Earth's core and the distance between the Earth and Moon was shorter, making Earth's gravitational effect on the Moon much stronger. I haven't done the math, but given the distances, I'd bet the Moon's orbit at that time was more influenced by Earth than Sol as well and took a different shape around Sol.


Your argument that the Earth and Moon have a special relationship in our solar system is valid, but your argument to classify that relationship as a binary planet is flawed primarily because there currently is no such formal classification. One was proposed for Pluto because the barycenter for it and its moons is outside of Pluto, but that proposal was abandoned. Pluto is a dwarf planet with moons instead of a binary planet or even a binary dwarf planet with Charon. The barycenter idea isn't a rule - it's just an arbitrary argument which wasn't strong enough to convince a committee that it was important enough to warrant such a distinction. There are other arguments such as the relative sizes of the planets, whether they formed from the same material or one captured another, the relative gravitational influences of the host planet and the star and so on. Nothing was convincing enough to warrant a separate designation for Earth/Moon or Pluto/Charon.

Sadly, since there's no such formal classification, even billions of years from now if the Earth/Moon system still exists (presumably having not been consumed by the Sun going red giant) and the barycenter is outside of Earth, it would still not be classified as a binary planet by today's naming method. All dominant bodies wobble when others orbit them. The barycenter didn't matter for Pluto / Charon. Sometimes even the solar system's barycenter is outside the Sun's corona. Apparently, many agree with you that barycenter location alone is not enough to matter. Neither does relative size to the host planet, origin, or a host of other factors. Perhaps if we one day find a system comprised of 2 planets of equal masses rotating around a barycenter at the midpoint of the distance between them, it'll warrant a new designation simply because astronomers would have to flip a coin to decide which is the planet and which is the moon.

There's so much variety out there that it's difficult to create meaningful definitions and categories - I don't envy the committees making such decisions.

Comment: Re:Cat and mouse... (Score 1) 437

by Ramze (#48734691) Attached to: Netflix Cracks Down On VPN and Proxy "Pirates"

The issuing bank is coded into the credit card number. International transactions could be auto-rejected. Credit Card applications tend to reject any address that isn't a physical residence, so a PO Box wouldn't work - at least not as an initial address, possibly a forwarding address would be fine (at least temporarily).

You'd likely have to travel to the US and open a bank account with proof of address in the US (something like a bill sent to a rental house or a rental agreement would do), then return to your home country and leave the account open - wire money to it and use its DEBIT or CREDIT card for the service. Of course, you'd still have to use a VPN or proxy and stay ahead of Netflix blocking such services.

Comment: Re:Cat and mouse... (Score 1) 437

by Ramze (#48734063) Attached to: Netflix Cracks Down On VPN and Proxy "Pirates"

Interesting concept. How would that work exactly?

Would that be through tariffs, bans on imports, or immigration laws? The US has economic sanctions forbidding business deals with North Korea and others.

I'm sure one could write laws to forbid the purchase of some product or service produced outside the states. We have something similar for the defense industry - certain products must be composed of raw materials (a certain percent at least) produced in the USA, and a certain percentage of the labor (if not all of it) must be done in the USA as well.

To have the "Made in USA" label, products have to adhere to certain labor conditions, too. Like for cars, parts can be from overseas, but if it a certain percentage of assembly was done in the USA, it can have the "Made in USA" designation. (I've read the terms for these designations, and it's really sneaky. Parts can be designated as "Made in USA" even if their components are largely not made in the USA.)

Comment: Re:Cat and mouse... (Score 1) 437

by Ramze (#48734033) Attached to: Netflix Cracks Down On VPN and Proxy "Pirates"

Bittorrent is fantastic, but as PirateBay has shown, it likely won't be around forever. Governments are willing and able to shut down or block every bittorrent tracker site that pops up long enough to have any credibility or usefulness. I've had some friends get cease and desist orders - some even had their ISPs to shut down their service. People are using VPNs to get around such tracking, but even those are getting IP blocks or shut down. Governments are investing a lot of money into hardware, hacking, and spying to help shut down P2P networks. The Hydra theory - lop off one P2P head, and 2 take its place is not going to work when your ISP and your government both are snooping on everything you do - and everything everyone you connect to is doing. Even Tor and other networks are easily breached.

I don't disagree that the region restrictions suck for the end user - especially one that travels. But, that's not the point. The system is the way it is for valid reasons. You're dealing with an entire industry and multiple countries - not just a single corporate entity that can change its mind on a whim. It doesn't help that the EU is largely an economic union and not a political one. I don't know, but it's possible Netflix may have to have additional legal paperwork and/or negotiations for each country involved. There may be things the EU could do to ease such business negotiations within the EU for member countries. I suspect the difficulties have more to do with the various languages and cultures of the regions and trying to cater to each, but additional negotiations and time spent would cost money as well.

You have to ask yourself whether you're willing to pay for the service you describe, and if so, how much? Will it be worth it to all parties involved? If not, then why would they offer it? They're fine with not giving you a service you aren't willing to pay their price for, and you're fine with pirating the content and taking your chances with a fine or lawsuit. TV shows in the states run roughly $2/hr per household per episode from commercial sponsors. To deliver that content to you, you'd have to find a way to pay at least that much either directly or through finding commercial sponsors willing to show ads targeted to your demographic to pay for you to watch them - plus cost of whatever technical and legal hurdles to set it up for you. US series generally run 11 to 13 episodes per season, so you'd be paying between $20 to $25 minimum per season for each tv show unless you are willing to sit through ads and find someone who will pay to run ads just for you (and/or others using the service that fit your demographic. It would scale better with others.) Just selling the advertising in a region for a show can be a full time job. As to why shows are released in the states before the EU - I assume a show created by ABC, for example, would first run on ABC plus a few re-runs, then be packaged for sale to an EU network not owned by ABC for a price based upon the US ratings and EU demand, and then the EU station would set up negotiations for EU sponsors for the content and find a time slot. That negotiation would take time - plus any dubbing and subtitle translation work. If ABC owned the networks in both countries and knew EU demand was such that the show was a hit, they might simulcast, but I doubt it. I've seen the reverse happen with shows like Merlin - made for Britain, then 5 months later air on a different network in the USA. There's no language issue for the show between the UK/Canada and USA, but it still took 5 months or more to air. My guess is Syfy was showing its own programming in a time slot while SkyOne was showing Merlin, and if and when Syfy decided it could free up a slot, it paid to pull in Merlin. SkyOne probably did the same thing with some Syfy programming. So, each plays its own content, then swaps and plays the other network's if it works for them. They have the option of just not picking up a show if it stinks and going with something else.

Each content producer does what is in its best interest, each network chooses the content and time slot that works in its best interest, and no one really cares to restructure their business for the convenience of consumers. They want maximum profit. The only way to really get to a consumer-oriented model is for streaming content distributors to make their own content - like Netflix with Orange is the New Black. They know who watches the show, instantaneously know the ratings, and they don't create the content for advertisers - it's straight to consumer, paid for by Netflix subscription only.

I have a feeling that Netflix would be insanely happy to make you personally an individualized package of HD streaming content at high speeds with licenses for all 10 countries you visit and impeccable release times for only 1 Million Euros a month. Why, I bet they'd even come out and dig a trench for fiber optics at each location you visit for an extra 20%. Most of that money will go towards Netflix hiring lawyers and contractors to negotiate licenses for each and every content owner for the individual TV shows and movies you personally want to watch... and then some for the hardware, the digital transfer, and the subtitle creation. I'm sure they'll still turn a tidy profit. I'd love to see the look on the negotiators' faces when they specify the license is for 1 individual for instantaneous global streaming capability. You're half right that most money goes to lawyers. Most lawyers for large corporations are on salary, so at least they aren't paid by the hour. The lawyers wouldn't be necessary if there weren't so many parties involved and/or deals for global distribution were made up-front. Problem is, no one knows whether or not a show will be a hit, so they don't talk money and global distribution rights until a series has proven itself.

If they offered you a service that was even slightly similar to what you describe, Netflix wouldn't offer it cheap. Content owners wouldn't allow Netflix to provide it cheap. If they did, it might cannibalize other distribution channels. Or, alternatively, maybe Netflix just doesn't see why it should waste resources on that particular content for the region when it could instead invest in more profitable content that might benefit many regions.

If it's any consolation, we get the shaft here in the states, too. We're just now getting TV channels like BBC America where we can watch Dr Who as it's released. Still, we get some Aussie and British produced TV months behind their UK and Australian airtimes. Our Syfy Channel often shows series from SkyOne years late - many times after a series has already been cancelled.

I am a bit surprised you'd have to have a separate account for each country if they're all in the EU. The Euro should help with stabilizing the pricing, but I could easily see how different countries with various regulations could cause issues.

That said, I'd love it if moving forward, contracts started to include global streaming rights and Hulu Plus /Netflix/whatever was set up to allow streaming to the EU the same as in the states (even if there's no translation or subtitles ready). I have no idea how Hulu would handle the advertising for EU streaming, but I bet it could work it out as it can create profiles for users to work with. Hulu might even be working on such a plan as we speak, but by offering EU streaming, they risk not being able to sell their programming to EU cable TV - even if it's 5 months late to air. Is the revenue from catering to paying EU Hulu Plus users worth the hassle and the risk of losing the revenue from the EU cable TV networks? I don't know. Maybe.

Comment: Re:Cat and mouse... (Score 1) 437

by Ramze (#48729683) Attached to: Netflix Cracks Down On VPN and Proxy "Pirates"

I'd like to add that media companies are evolving - and I'm extremely excited about HBO allowing people to sign up for HBO GO - even if they don't have an HBO subscription through a cable provider. (even if it may be a limited subscription without the HBO subscription... I don't know all the terms yet)

HBO knows that Game of Thrones and other shows are pirated. They also know that the pirates are very likely to become paying subscribers of HBO GO if they can watch Game of Thrones legally without having to pay for HBO itself (and possibly the cable subscription as well). They're lucky that they're both the creator and distributor for the show, so distribution rights won't be as much of an issue.

I'm also excited that Netflix creates its own content with shows like "Orange is the New Black" and "House of Cards." I love the model where the creators are also the distributors, but I also really like that the consumers can give instant feedback through number of views or individual ratings. It's an evolution to a direct-to-consumer model with great feedback. They know every time you stream a show, so they don't need a separate ratings company to know how many viewers were watching. Netflix even has a ratings system, so they get feedback from the consumer in a great democratic format. I sincerely look forward to HBO GO, Netflix, and Amazon continuing the trend towards that new model (which will probably work well for most TV shows). Movies, however... those are likely still in the realm of Hollywood labyrinthine production and distribution channels for some time to come.

Comment: Re:Cat and mouse... (Score 5, Interesting) 437

by Ramze (#48729117) Attached to: Netflix Cracks Down On VPN and Proxy "Pirates"

It's called tiered marketing and discriminatory pricing. I'm not sure which business school you went to, but the AACSB accredited one I went to described this situation pretty well to the undergrads, and it makes perfect sense - it's just complex. They use it because it works best in squeezing the most profit out of each segment. All media companies use it, to a degree. I recall in college, I'd order my MBA texts from India - "International Editions" that were paperback versions of my classmates' books. They were usually full color paperback versions of the exact same textbooks. I was able to buy them for around $20 (including shipping from India) where the course book in the US was hardback and $125.

With the book analogy, it's a kind of region locking. Yes, if you know how, you can get around it with a bit of time and effort.. even if it's not exactly the same quality. Also, you can just borrow the book from a friend or share as needed... or even use a photocopier for just the excerpts you need. Most people will buy the book, and the one for their region, and that works well enough to not worry about those skirting the system. Like enforcing any system (even the legal/criminal justice system), there's diminishing returns for protecting against cheating it.

Game makers and DVD/ Bluray producers do the same thing with region locking. They don't want you to buy the content for $5 from China when they can get you to pay $30 or $50 here in the states. Media distributors for movies do the same. Their model is set to get cash from theaters first, then pay-per-view and DVDs, then cable movie networks, then Netflix, and then general cable networks with commercial breaks - pretty much in that order. They have all that sliced up by regions, too - mostly because people in different regions are willing to pay different prices for the same things, but also so they can control the length of each phase of distribution for each region independently. It's not easy to untangle because there are so many different companies involved that sell distribution rights to different distribution channels in each region and then reward content-makers as a percentage based upon that distribution. That's before countries get involved with taxes, copyrights, streaming rights, etc. as well. That's not even to mention that some actors get paid a percentage of one distribution channel profits and a different percentage of another distribution channel profits - written into their movie contracts. Other actors get residuals from syndication from TV episodes. It really is licensing "all the way down" as the grandparent post suggests. Netflix follows its licensing agreements, Sony, etc follows the ones it made with producers, directors, actors, etc. Even with Hulu - watch what they do with episodes. Sometimes one episode out of a season will be missing due to licensing - and it'll be because of some obscure part of a contract not allowing the episode to be shown because of a clause for an actor or for the background music.

Netflix would love to have a simpler model. Hulu would, too (well, yes and no b/c they're currently owned by Comcast and others that want to spin it off). Hulu got streaming rights for computers, but didn't think ahead to get the licenses for streaming to any internet device... which is partly why there's Hulu Plus. I don't know about now, but when Hulu Plus first came out, I could watch some things on Hulu on my laptop, others on Hulu Plus on my smart TV, but Hulu Plus wouldn't show all of Hulu's content. I had to switch back and forth between them. Different licenses for different methods of distribution. Negotiating for other methods of distribution after the fact would almost certainly lead to higher charges for content, and then higher pricing for Hulu or Netflix subscribers (unless the subscriber growth was substantial)

Hollywood is a huge industry - and getting them to switch their model is a bit like telling the American public that we should go ahead and switch everything to Metric b/c it's easier and/or better. Literally everything retroactively from Grandma's chocolate chip cookie recipe to the highway signs to your car's driver's manual. The current system is deeply ingrained and will take a massive effort on multiple fronts to change - and that is if you can successfully argue that you've got a better system.

Content is mostly going digital with encryption and individual licensing. I see a future where content providers like Steam, Netflix, Amazon, Apple, etc have individualized licenses for every song, book, movie, tv show episode, and game you play. No one will "own" a copy, so there will be no resale value and you can't give or sell your collection to anyone. Totally locked down, but with ways to temporarily share with other accounts (family/friends). Probably even a side program to scan your library for unlicensed material and report any "cracked" files to authorities based off of digital fingerprints. Amazon and others are already toying with individualized pricing. I imagine future pricing will be set at one point, then "discounts" and "sales" offered for individuals at just the right price points to get them to buy. That's the corporate dream - to sell licenses to individuals directly at exactly the highest price they'd be wiling to buy them without creating too much anger from the public when the people discover they're not all paying the same amount for the same product. People think the price they paid is fair until they discover someone paid a different price... so, sellers take into account region, timing, secondary benefits (oooh, special edition packaging!), etc. I'm sure they'll come up with ways to differentiate it enough for those that care enough. Usually coupons/discounts is the way to go - so some people feel they got a deal and others that paid full price don't feel cheated.

The real question is -- What method of distribution do you propose, and how do you expect it to make the industry more money than the current system? Is that amount worth renegotiating every contract for every actor, musician, writer, director, photographer, etc etc for each and every piece of media as well as breaking all the current long term contracts with the present media distributors? I'm betting not. This will be a slow evolution ending in corporations maximizing their profits, but at the same time, maximizing their distribution to those that want their products through more creative price discrimination. You won't see one price for global distribution ever -- the economics just don't support it. You also won't see all Netflix content available everywhere even at various prices for Netflix subscriptions - because content providers will be negotiating for various amounts per view or percentages per region and won't agree to a deal if they think they can make more money on an alternative distribution channel for a region.

You're not wrong to say that there are inefficiencies in an entrenched system, but it's not fair to say they're dinosaurs holding on to a dying business model either as some suggest. Cable companies now offer free time-shifting with DVRs, some Pay Per View options are available same-day as DVD releases. Hollywood has a lot of work to do in transitioning from a theater, DVD, HBO, and Cable highly segmented model to a more modern Theater + anywhere/anytime/anydevice individualized model, but they'll get there eventually. If Internet companies were classified as Tier 2 utilities, I think it'd happen a lot faster. Cable channels could easily all become streaming channels, Cable Companies simply ISPs... then eventually cable channels themselves could simply become content providers for streaming services like Netflix. I'd rather have a Netflix service with massive, indexed ready-to-play content than a cable company with 1,200 channels of random content spewed constantly with no regard to my preferences or schedule. I say give it another 20 to 30 years.

Comment: Re:What difference would it make if we were "it"? (Score 2) 334

by Ramze (#48528977) Attached to: Aliens Are Probably Everywhere, Just Not Anywhere Nearby

This is the crux of the "intelligent life out there" argument. We literally have no idea how probable intelligent, industrialized life is to develop - even on planets proven to have life and what time scale or necessary events must take place for it to arise. Apes likely became intelligent on Earth because of extreme changes in habitats and multiple near-extinction events which forced survivors to adapt and adopt tool use to compete and thrive. Maybe such evolutionary pressures are rare, and maybe species that endure them find other survival methods or simply go extinct. Animals only need to be "smart enough" to survive and breed. It may take extraordinary events to push them into an arms race for intelligence to better control and shape their environment.

I personally think life is common - as its components are common, and many chemical reactions necessary for life can happen with a solvent (water) and energy (sunlight) without life. I think intelligent life capable of spaceflight is exceedingly rare. Dolphins, dinosaurs, parrots, and octopus rarely dreamed of space flight, I think.

Life may exist nearly everywhere that conditions allow - as it likely spontaneously came from natural chemical reactions on Earth (or was seeded from another world where it spontaneously came into being), there's no reason to believe it's not a natural event itself which is likely to occur wherever it can given enough time. To say that such life would evolve into an intelligent, tool-using being capable of interstellar communication or even interplanetary flight is quite another issue entirely.

From an evolutionary perspective, intelligence may be highly overrated.

Comment: Re:What is the best way to buy some in bulk? (Score 1) 944

by Ramze (#45784607) Attached to: 60% of Americans Unaware of Looming Incandescent Bulb Phase Out

No. The electricity is certainly wasted if it's being spent to turn electrical resistance into heat. Any HVAC guy can tell you that electric heat strips are a terribly inefficient way to produce electricity and that it's actually FAR, FAR more efficient to suck heat out of the freezing air outside using a heat pump than it is to generate heat using electrical current through a metal filament or even heat strips designed to generate heat (as backup or extra heat for use in addition to a heat pump to heat things up quickly).

Comment: Re:Because they had the money to become entreprene (Score 1) 61

by Ramze (#44140735) Attached to: Why the MIT Blackjack Team Became Entrepreneurs

I think you're missing the point. Index funds follow the market which has always trended upward at that rate over time -- even including the great depression. It's considered a safe bet to earn 10% per year in an index fund (like the S&P 500) on average over at least a period of 10 years (gives time for full recovery of any economic downturn).

Comment: Re:Bitching is the name of the game (Score 1) 578

by Ramze (#43906695) Attached to: A Serious Proposal To Fix Windows 8

"everyone says" -- really, Everyone?!?!?

I don't know what polls and sales figures you were looking at, but Win95, WinXP, and Win7 were all winners from the get-go. Win98, Win98SE were OK, WinME was crap, Vista was crap (SPs fixed that, so it's basically Win7 now)... and Win8 is crap without a start menu shell utility. (Win2000 was also loved in businesses, but XP added much needed media features while increasing some bugginess. XP SP2 and SP3 were welcome upgrades).

The fact is that touch-tech is useful on small devices that lack keyboards but is mostly useless on a desktop, projector, or TV, so it was asinine for Microsoft to make it the primary interface for Windows 8. The Start Screen is also poorly designed for he same setting, so equally asinine to have it replace the start menu. These are real problems that need to be addressed for usability - including workplace safety and disabled user's ease of workflow.

That said, Win 8 has some great tech under the hood & I like using it with Classic Shell as my start menu w/ the charms crap turned off.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"