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Comment: Re:Pay-per-minute line (Score 2) 234

by Smauler (#48664097) Attached to: The Slow Death of Voice Mail

Land line providers charge extra for long distance.

This is one of the biggest differences between the US and most other places in the world. I'm 36, from the UK, and remember long distance charges on landlines, but only just. Now just about all national calls from a landline are essentially free.

Calling mobiles from landlines used to be horrendously expensive (almost 50p a minute IIRC). This is how mobile companies made a whole load of their money - charging others to phone them. Now it's a little better, but the mobile companies still massively profit from calls from landlines.

International landline calls used to be expensive... now they're cheap. It's cheaper to call Australia from your landline than it is to call the mobile next to you in the UK in most cases.

Finding out the exact charges is difficult.

Comment: Re:So the question is... (Score 1) 99

by Smauler (#48643553) Attached to: Birds Fled Area Before Tornadoes Appeared

I understand that.

The BBC had a programme tracking ospreys a while back. A couple of them just flew to completely unexpected places (more than 500 miles from where they were expected), the more normal ones were much more random than expected too. No one could really figure out why they flew to the places they did when they did.

Had there been some kind of problem where the ospreys were not, it would have been all to easy to assign knowledge to the Ospreys.

Also, as I said above : Plenty of animals do get killed in natural disasters, migratory birds are _very_ affected by storms.

Comment: Re:So the question is... (Score 5, Insightful) 99

by Smauler (#48642179) Attached to: Birds Fled Area Before Tornadoes Appeared

The trouble with stories like this is that animals do a whole host of stuff that we cannot explain, and we connect it to events that happen after the fact.

Situation 1 : Lots of animals are running somewhere. Nothing happens.... they must have just been spooked by something random.

Situation 2 : Lots of animals are running somewhere. There's a tsunami/earthquake/tornado.... they must have known something we don't.

Finding that some animals behave in an odd, unexplained way just before a major natural disaster isn't news - Animals behave in an odd, unexplained way all the time.

There has been lots of genuine research into animal behaviour to try and predict major natural disasters, nearly all of which has been fruitless. Many animals are killed by natural disasters.

Now, if someone actually predicted a natural disaster by using animal behaviour, that might be interesting. Saying that the animals acted weird just before, when looking back, is suspect.

Comment: Re:Yes this is Terrible. (Score 1) 191

by Smauler (#48641893) Attached to: Apple Wins iTunes DRM Case

Of course Apple had _some_ DRM free titles by 2007, everyone did. Selling a small portion of your catalogue DRM free is not very useful for me. I don't want to have to check which DRM is on which song.

In 2007, Apple was selling EMI (and EMI only) music DRM free at additional cost. By January 2008, Amazon sold everything DRM free. Apple went DRM free in 2009. Google Fairplay.

Comment: Re:Commerce clause abuse (Score 1) 482

by Smauler (#48639495) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

This cases has been cited by a more relevant one, Gonzales v. Reich which was about the right to grow your own marijuana in states in which it is legal to use it medicinally : "The government also contended that consuming one's locally grown marijuana for medical purposes affects the interstate market of marijuana, and hence that the federal government may regulate—and prohibit—such consumption."

Comment: Re:The video game crash of 1983 (Score 1) 191

by Smauler (#48611903) Attached to: Apple Wins iTunes DRM Case

In addition, DRM is good for consumers because it ensures that studios will be willing to publish more than zero desirable works in a format.

You seem to forget that studios _have_ to be willing to publish in a format that people will use. The studios being "willing" to publish is irrelevant. If they try to publish works in a format no one uses, they lose their revenue stream. Their entire business model is having as many people as possible buy the content.

Comment: Re:I'm shocked. (Score 0) 191

by Smauler (#48611639) Attached to: Apple Wins iTunes DRM Case

they blocked and non-apple DRM like every other company out there and Real had to hack it.

Is this supposed to be a sentence? If so, I don't know what it means, at all. I'm speaking literally here.

but in the end itunes allowed you to use any hardware you wanted as long as the maker coded to a few of apple's API's.

I can just about understand this sentence, I think.

Comment: Re:So No Space Elevator ??? (Score 0) 187

by Smauler (#48610369) Attached to: Graphene: Fast, Strong, Cheap, and Impossible To Use

Of course, for men who are circumcised and so who already lost most of their ability to feel what sex is (because of thicker and less sensitive skin as well as no foreskin movement), it doesn't matter much

How on earth would you know what a circumcised man can feel during sex? Do you have any experience of this, or are you just making assumptions?

Comment: Re:80 years it was German (Score 2) 150

by Smauler (#48609981) Attached to: Want To Influence the World? Map Reveals the Best Languages To Speak

Technically, a "Lingua Franca" is a language used by two people whose first language is something else entirely. I, for example, can't use English as a Lingua Franca, since it's my first language. I have, however, spoken to a Spanish person (who could not speak English) in French, therefore was using French as a kind of Lingua Franca.

The original Lingua Franca was a trading language used around the Mediterranean from about 1000 years ago, and was originally based predominantly on northern Italian dialects. The term has been applied to other languages like Latin retroactively.

MSDOS is not dead, it just smells that way. -- Henry Spencer