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Comment Re:scary for net neutrality (Score 1) 400

People pay what they value something at. Soda for example costs maybe $0.05 to fill up a glass in a restaurant. Yet people pay $2.00 for sodas in sit down restaurants. Just because something has a high profit margin doesn't mean something's dishonest. It just means you found a successful product. It would be dishonest if they were telling me I was paying for Soda and instead getting some inferior concoction, but when a product is clearly labeled and the consumer agrees to pay a price for that product, it isn't dishonest.

...Which is the other reason I tend to stick to ordering just tap water when eating out (the first being that I just don't drink soft drinks for health reasons). That's a very apt analogy I hadn't considered -- point well made. Kudos!

Also, a lot of times businesses will lose money a in certain areas like when they sell you your phone under a 2 year contract, expecting to make that money back from services like this. Is it dishonest for them to sell me a phone at a loss and make money back by charging more for texting? Dishonesty would be if I went to best buy and they tell me that monster cables are amazingly superior to the $5 cables I can get from monoprice, but best buy simply selling monster cables for $50 is not dishonest, even though it's not worth that money, because they sell their TVs a lot lower than competition and expect to make it back on such accessories and service plans. That's not dishonesty, that's me being an uniformed consumer.

Funny you should mention Worst^H^H^H^H^HBest Buy and Monster Cables.. I've actually been told that exact thing by a Best Buy salesperson. I, too, happen to know better, but I would say this still constitutes dishonesty on their part, regardless of my level of awareness. Unless there's a difference between 'telling the consumer an outright lie' and 'not telling them anything about a product (or at least hoping they don't ask) and assuming they know all about it already', this seems to turn the "simply selling Monster Cables for $50" or 'selling text plans for $5/month' or 'selling unhealthy $2.00 soft drinks in restaurants' into a bit grayer of an issue than suggested. (Quite a bit grayer in the area of soft drinks.. Whose responsibility is it to look out for a consumer's health: the vendor or the consumer himself? Restaurants sell alcoholic beverages as well, also at a tidy profit. Yet it's clear that alcohol impairs judgment and physical coordination even at low levels, which makes driving away from said restaurant an inherently dangerous undertaking. AFAIK, vendors of on- and off-sale alcoholic beverages have been successfully sued by the deceased's family for wrongful death caused by a driver impaired by the alcohol the vendor supplied. But this is now WAY off topic (not that it wasn't before...).)

That being said, I do agree that caveat emptor is a useful axiom to live by. I just wish it wasn't necessary to do so. :)

Comment Re:scary for net neutrality (Score 1) 400

The problem I have is with the artificiality of the price they charge -- it is motivated purely by greed. People think the price they pay for texting services is based on what it costs the carriers to provide the service. But the cost is more closely associated with the operating overhead involved in actually charging their customers for the service, not the service itself, and it's certainly not even 1% of the amount of money they charge. It amounts to price gouging, pure and simple, and it's in the carriers' best interest to hide this fact from consumers. I'm fine with them making a reasonable profit -- emphasis on 'reasonable'. Then again, P. T. Barnum said, "There's a sucker born every minute," and Theodore Geisel wrote in The Lorax, "You never can tell what some people will buy." In all honesty, I do have a texting plan on my phone -- $5/mo. for 200, which roughly equates to 2.5/message, but only if I send/recieve 200 messages. The reality is closer to 10/message (50 messages for my $5), and while that's still cheaper than the 20/message à la carte rate, they don't have to charge even that much to make a tidy profit. Again, it's just greed. It may be basic supply/demand economics and the status quo but that doesn't mean it isn't dishonest.

Comment Re:scary for net neutrality (Score 1) 400

The problem is that it because of the way SMS messages are sent (i.e. along with other data that was "already going that'a'way" (in the packet headers for the nerds) it functionally costs the wireless carriers nothing to provide the service for which they charge money. In other words, it's 100% profit, no matter how much they charge.
The Internet

Movable Clouds Migrate To Chase Tax Breaks 151

1sockchuck writes "State legislators have been offering huge tax incentives to attract data center projects from cloud-builders. But what happens if the political climate changes and the tax break disappears? If you're Microsoft, you can just take your cloud and move it someplace else. The infrastructure for the Windows Azure platform is being migrated out of a facility in central Washington after the state ruled that data centers no longer qualify for a tax exemption on equipment. Mike Manos, a key player in site selection for many major data centers, predicts that future cloud platforms will move often to chase lower taxes or cheaper power."

Northern Sea Route Through Arctic Becomes a Reality 373

Hugh Pickens writes "Andrew Revkin writes in the NY Times that since 1553, when Sir Hugh Willoughby led an expedition north in search of a sea passage over Russia to the Far East, mariners have dreamed of a Northern Sea Route through Russia's Arctic ocean that could cut thousands of miles compared with alternate routes. A voyage between Hamburg and Yokohama is only 6,600 nm. via the Northern Sea Route — less than 60% of the 11,400 nm. Suez route. Now in part because of warming and the retreat and thinning of Arctic sea ice in summer, this northern sea route is becoming a reality with the 12,700-ton 'Beluga Fraternity,' designed for a mix of ice and open seas, poised to make what appears to be the first such trip. The German ship picked up equipment in Ulsan, South Korea, on July 23 and arrived in Vladivostok on the 25th with a final destination at the docks in Novyy Port, a Siberian outpost. After that, if conditions permit, it will head to Antwerp or Rotterdam, marking what company officials say would be the first time a vessel has crossed from Asia to Europe through the Arctic on a commercial passage."

DHS Pathogen Lab To Be Built In "Tornado Alley" 275

Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that Department of Homeland Security is relying on a rushed, flawed study to justify its decision to locate the $700 million National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility for highly infectious pathogens in a tornado-prone section of Kansas. A GAO report says that it is not 'scientifically defensible' to conclude that lab can safely handle dangerous animal diseases in Kansas. Such research has been conducted up to now on a remote island on the northern tip of Long Island, NY. 'Drawing conclusions about relocating research with highly infectious exotic animal pathogens from questionable methodology could result in regrettable consequences,' the GAO warned in its draft report. Critics of moving the operation to the mainland argue that a release could lead to widespread contamination that could kill livestock, devastate a farm economy, and endanger humans. Along with the highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease, NBAF researchers plan to study African swine fever, Japanese encephalitis, Rift Valley fever, and other viruses in the Biosafety Level (BSL) 3 and BSL-4 livestock laboratory capable of developing countermeasures for foreign animal diseases. According to the article, DHS lobbied a Congressional committee to try and convince them that the GAO report was flawed, and to head off any hearings on the controversy. Despite this, the House Energy and Commerce Committee's oversight and investigations subcommittee plans to hold a hearing Thursday on the risk analysis."

Microsoft Backs Down On Making IE8 Default At Upgrade 160

Barence writes "Internet Explorer 8 will no longer replace the default browser when a user selects the 'Use express settings' option during installation. Back in May, Mozilla and Opera accused Microsoft of force-feeding users Internet Explorer 8 through the Automatic Updates process. The object of their ire was the 'Use express settings' option which automatically sets Internet Explorer 8 as the default browser. The option was already ticked when Automatic Updates offered users the choice to upgrade their browser. 'We heard a lot of feedback from a lot of different people and groups and decided to make the user choice of the default browser even more explicit,' notes Microsoft in a blog post."

Eye In the Sky For City Crime Fighting 389

Tiger4 writes "The mayor of the City of Lancaster in the Antelope Valley of southern California is considering a high-definition video flying platform to aid in crime fighting. The aircraft, would circle the city constantly, able to zoom in on activity spots instantly. 'You never know when you are being watched or followed. It would be stupid to commit a crime. You see it with such detail,' said Mayor R. Rex Parris, who took a ride last week in a camera-equipped airplane with pilot Dick Rutan. 'I have every hope that Lancaster will be the first city to deploy it. I've never been so excited about anything.' Dick Rutan is the same pilot who flew around the world non-stop in the Voyager, custom built by his brother Burt Rutan at Scaled Composites in Mojave." The aircraft is nothing special, a garden-variety Cessna or the like, but "the camera is an example of technology developed for and used by the military making a transition to civilian applications, Rutan said."
The Internet

Examining the HTML 5 Video Codec Debate 459

Ars Technica has a great breakdown of the codec debate for the HTML 5 video element. Support for the new video element seems to be split into two main camps, Ogg Theora and H.264, and the inability to find a solution has HTML 5 spec editor Ian Hickson throwing in the towel. "Hickson outlined the positions of each major browser vendor and explained how the present impasse will influence the HTML 5 standard. Apple and Google favor H.264 while Mozilla and Opera favor Ogg Theora. Google intends to ship its browser with support for both codecs, which means that Apple is the only vendor that will not be supporting Ogg. 'After an inordinate amount of discussions, both in public and privately, on the situation regarding codecs for and in HTML5, I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that there is no suitable codec that all vendors are willing to implement and ship,' Hickson wrote. 'I have therefore removed the two subsections in the HTML5 spec in which codecs would have been required, and have instead left the matter undefined.'"

Good PDF Reader Device With Internet Browsing? 167

ranjix writes "I need a handheld device which would allow me to read ebooks and/or browse the internet while actively and intensely laying in the hammock (and Yes, I do have a hammock in my mom's basement). I'll try to sum up the basic requirements: (good) PDF reader (and ebooks of whatever sort), WiFi connectivity and Internet browser, screen minimum 4.5", readable in sunlight, etc, fairly responsive, at least 4-5 hours battery. Obviously I looked at the usual suspects: Kindle/Amazon tries to grab one into the proprietary formats and their own network (while other ebook readers don't really browse the internet), laptops/netbooks are pretty hard to hold, and the UMPC arena seems a hodge-podge of 'to be released' (Viliv S5? Aigo whatever?) with 'seriously expensive' (Sony, OQO) or plain 'we recommend you don't buy' (Samsung Q1Ex). Is there anything else I could use in the given circumstances?"

May all your PUSHes be POPped.