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Comment: NO DRM! (Score 4, Insightful) 433

by TarPitt (#48593861) Attached to: Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

The best thing about an analog format is no digital rights management. You buy it, you own it. You will always be able to listen to it, no-one will be able to revoke your license.

Digital formats and DRM have made music a transient, throw-away experience.

With vinyl, the recording has history. The vinyl you buy in middle school will be still playable in middle age.

Comment: Re: Not quite true (Score 1) 307

by Zeinfeld (#48430745) Attached to: UK Hotel Adds Hefty Charge For Bad Reviews Online

Whether the term is enforceable or not is debatable and almost certain to be rendered moot. Unlike US Republicans, UK Conservatives do actually believe in the rule of law and honest business practices (sort of). There isn't any party who believes that screwing the consumer is a constitutional right. There will be a bill passed.

A rather more direct question is whether the hotelier was entitled to collect the charge under the credit card agreement. And that is unambiguous, he isn't. A credit card merchant cannot use a charge card to recover a disputed charge. It does not matter what the purported contract term was or if it is enforceable. The credit card agreements are designed to prevent cardholders from dishonest merchants. So the consumer will get their refund and the hotelier will find themselves facing a 30 quid chargeback fee.

The only option for the hotelier to recover would be to take the matter to court. The most he could win is the hundred pounds, if he lost he would likely be out the legal costs which could be a couple of thousand. Small claims courts don't usually award costs but they might well do so in this case. Judges tend to detest bullies.

Comment: Re: Ask the credit card for a refund (Score 1) 307

by Zeinfeld (#48430547) Attached to: UK Hotel Adds Hefty Charge For Bad Reviews Online

Its more than that, without regulation you end up with a lemon-law market.

Lots of times the difference between an honest product and a dishonest one only becomes apparent years later. If the product is safety equipment you only find out if the hard hat works when someone drops the brick on your head.

The libertarian theory that self interest will drive people to make honest products has turned out to be utterly false. In fact it turns out to be quite difficult for a company that intends to do the right thing to do so. I once had to get a guy fired after I found he had goosed his response rates for customer support calls by deliberately setting the phone tree up as a maze.

People do all sorts of idiotic short sighted stuff. This hotelier for example got his pants in a twist over a bad review and now he has probably sunk his business completely.

Rational choice is not an empirical fact of human behavior. It is a modelling assumption that tends to give good results in certain cases. But it does not hold for corporations because the interests of the corporation are not identical to those of the employees. All those banks who go belly up because the traders get big rewards for raking in profits and face no consequences for a loss. I don't gamble with my own money but if you want to give me $100,000 to gamble with I am happy to take it to Vegas, find a roulette wheel and let you take 100% of any losses and 90% of any gains.

Comment: Re:Concrete proof at last (Score 2, Insightful) 330

by TarPitt (#48293429) Attached to: Reactions To Disgusting Images Predict a Persons Political Ideology

Conservative believe people suffer because they have freely made bad life choices. People who suffer therefore do not deserve our assistance or our sympathy, as they are wholly to blame for their condition. Public policy should discourage bad choices by allowing these people to suffer the consequences of their freely chosen action. Welfare, unemployment insurance, and public healthcare are wrong, as they go against the natural order by isolating people from the consequences of their actions.

Conversely, the wealthy and powerful have made good life choices and deserve our admiration. Public policy should encourage these high ranking individuals through lower taxes and less regulation of their activities.

Comment: Re:are conservatives just showing more reaction? (Score 3, Insightful) 330

by TarPitt (#48293351) Attached to: Reactions To Disgusting Images Predict a Persons Political Ideology

It seems very reasonable to blame those with the greatest share for wealth and power for the current state of society, rather than the impoverished and marginalized.

Though the latter position has a long heritage, stating back to the days when isolated, quirky old women were burned for being witches, somehow causing famine and pestilence despite their poverty and lack of influence.

Comment: Re:They're better off avoiding CS (Score 3, Interesting) 608

by TarPitt (#48237513) Attached to: Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment

I work in an environment where most of IT is outsourced to India-based corporation. My casual observation is that there are many more young females from India in our IT group than Anglo-Americans. I've also noted the same with computer courses - that there are many more Asian women (South Asian and East Asian) relative to their male counterparts than there are Anglo Americans.

I suspect that Asian societies do not view computer work as primarily male-oriented work, and that talented women are encouraged to work in the field.

Among the Anglo-Americans, many of the IT focused women are in their 50's and 60's, having entered the field when mainframes were predominant and hence when computing was viewed as less of a male domain.

Comment: Re:forensic 'science' (Score 2) 135

by TarPitt (#47846805) Attached to: New DNA Analysis On Old Blood Pegs Aaron Kosminski As Jack the Ripper

There was also an eyewitness who saw him leave a bar with a prostitute hours before the prostitute was horribly murdered. The eyewitness refused to testify in court.

Story I heard was that the police were very sure this was the guy, but knowing they couldn't convict, they arranged to have him locked up in an insane asylum. The murders then abruptly stopped.

Source: Recent "Jack the Ripper" tour in London. Not peer reviewed.

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