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Comment: Re:API vs DYI (Score 1) 99

by astinus (#26623319) Attached to: Best Buy API Aims To Expand Store's Reach Online

If Best Buy's display* were all one had to go on, one might be inclined to wonder aloud about what the big deal is with this newfangled high def that everyone's talking about.

Maybe my BB was an exception, but their big screen TV displays were excellent. They had a demo running on Blu-ray on most of the screens, with frequent comparisons between regular and blu-ray picture quality, and even the difference between 720, 1080i, and 1080p.

I also went to Circuit City at the time, which didn't have the demo but was running Transformers in Blu-ray across all the TVs, which made for an easy picture quality comparison between the 2 models I was considering. Plus more of their TVs were at eye level, so I didn't have to crane my neck to see certain models 15 feet above me like at BB.

It's just too bad their prices weren't as good as their store displays, but therein lies a whole macroeconomic story beyond the scope of this post.

I don't know about best-buy's version of this, but in general I'd go for it. Depending on the model, a lot of the adjustments aren't even exposed through the menu system, and the test pattern generators I've seen for HD are stupidly expensive. (stupid, because with HDMI, every player should be able to push a perfect test pattern off a cheap mass-produced BD).

Store-bought configuration? And you're suggesting that on Slashdot?!? Sacrilege!

Besides which, I had already researched all the individual settings on my particular TV, and spent 30 min doing it myself on a Saturday using a handful of my own DVDs for calibration. Turned out just fine and I saved $100.

Comment: Re:Nothing New (Score 1) 1061

by astinus (#26622113) Attached to: Global Warming Irreversible, NOAA Scientist Finds
A correction to your generally accurate thoughts:

And this kind of hysterics has been around a long time. Hobbes had his "nasty, brutish, and short" predictions for mankind in Leviathan.

Hobbes wasn't making alarmist predictions or forecasts. He was explaining the utility of the sovereign state by comparing life under civil authority to life without any government. The "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short" was used to describe the lives of people living in a natural state of anarchy, without a governing social structure. Mankind started in the "war of all against all", and through social contract was constantly improving his lot. (Obligatory Wikipedia link, since I'm too lazy to fully source it)

Furthermore, Hobbes wrote Leviathan in the context of the great political upheaval around the English Civil War. Although there were competing sides claiming legitimacy of government, Leviathan wasn't a prediction of ultimate doom, it was an argument against the frequent revolutions and uprisings that were relatively in common in Europe at the time. Contemporarily, Hobbes wasn't being a doomsday alarmist.

So unless you feel all governments everywhere are on the brink of collapse, or the natural right of rebellion is due for a 100% global re-assertion, I think you can remove Hobbes from your list of failed prognosticators.

Comment: Poor planning (Score 2, Insightful) 438

by astinus (#26616453) Attached to: Senate Approves 4-Month Delay In Digital TV Switch

It would also allow consumers with expired coupons, available from the government to offset the cost of a $40 converter box, to request new coupons.

Wait a second... why wouldn't you print all such coupons to expire the day after the planned switchover? What possible reason is there to have them expire early?

Comment: API vs DYI (Score 3, Insightful) 99

by astinus (#26615275) Attached to: Best Buy API Aims To Expand Store's Reach Online
From TFA:

Vis-à-vis Wal-Mart, Best Buy can't really compete on price, but its value-added service offerings -- professional home installation of flat-screen TVs, for instance -- can be a significant differentiator, especially considering the coming digital TV transition.

Well OK, but will these services be available for linking/displaying/reviews through this API? Will anyone actually link directly to these services, even if they are available?

I'm sure there will be a hard upsell attempt once the customer clicks to buy the actual product, but how will they translate this services "advantage" into inducing people to link Best Buy products instead of the same product through, say, Amazon?

When I went in to Best Buy to look at plasma TV's (nothing on the web beats a real-world viewing of a potential purchase), the salespeople were pitching all kinds of installation, delivery, warranties, and even an in-room color setting tuning. Amazon, where I eventually bought the TV from, had a handful of additional services, but got the purchase because they were $400 cheaper.

How will directly linking to a virtual pitch of the same "differentiators" change decisions like mine?

Comment: Re:Hail Obama, Savior of America. (Score 1) 906

by astinus (#26590651) Attached to: Obama Sides With Bush In Spy Case

Again, please inform us where it ONLY applies to citizens?

I always thought that was covered pretty handily at the very beginning:

We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union...

But let's turn it around. So you think that the various rights in the Constitution apply to everyone? Well, we have a very famous Second Amendment over here, which (almost) absolutely guarantees the right to carry firearms. Try exercising that right as a non-citizen over to the UK or Japan or various other countries. How nicely do you think that will work out for ya?

Comment: Re:Not banning plasmas. (Score 1) 278

by astinus (#26580265) Attached to: Efficiency Gains Could Prove Proposed Plasma Ban Shortsighted

They would also prevent the sale of any new technology if it were very inefficient, but that is a good thing surely?

Surely not. How efficient were automobiles when they first rolled off the block ~100 years ago? How efficient was the first computer display monitor? How efficient was Edison's light bulb?

Looks all good to me .... another "EU bans xxxxx" which turns out a) they are not and b) it is a sensible decision....

Banning should only happened when there is a demonstrable harm. "Driving other people's prices up" is a natural function of supply and demand, not an evil force that necessitates government intervention. Why should the market constrict to fit energy infrastructure, instead of forcing the expansion of the demonstably insufficient existing capacity?

If the EU doesn't like its inability to scale with growing power demands, and will just ban new things that force it beyond status quo, then they should explicitly state its intention to halt progress of all kinds instead of doing piecemeal bans.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein

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