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Comment: eBooks make terrible textbooks (Score 1) 468

by dgcaste (#28268069) Attached to: California To Move To Online Textbooks
I've attended an online university for some time, and they recently decided to move to eBooks because the university covers the cost of the texts.

Ebooks are TERRIBLE for study. You have to be in front of a computer to study, it is hard to highlight and annotate, it is a strain on the eyes, and it is not as easily portable as people think. I had to resort to loading them on my iPhone but that became a problem when I realized there's really very little out there that allows you to bookmark PDF's and I ended up scrolling through dozens of pages to get back at where I was.

I suggested to my university that they invest on subsidizing a good PDF reader, even if it's the Kindle DX. I have yet to hear from them.

The funniest part to me was that they cited "inflation" as the reason why they moved to eBooks. I think that's silly, since inflation affects ALL prices, not just conventional or physical ones.

Comment: Re:Using the data for good purposes (Score 2, Insightful) 302

by dgcaste (#28246719) Attached to: Hackers Claim To Hit T-Mobile Hard
The cell companies are not monopolies, they are an oligopoly. They DO compete, but their prices are sticky and their demand is relatively inelastic. What Congress needs to do is outlaw anything that's more than 6 months or a year of a contract. It's not about subsidy since most cell phones are worth pennies, but this would really force them to compete amongst themselves.

The truth is that cell networks are incredibly expensive to expand and maintain, and even though cell companies are gobbling up profits, something that has become pretty much a necessity is not that expensive. We enjoy a great deal of consumer surplus since people would pay more than what we pay now for cell service. In fact, if it cost the average citizen $300 a month to have a cell phone, many people (including myself) would still have it. Then again, land lines wouldn't be extinct.

Comment: Re:But corporations don't pay tax (Score 1) 1142

by dgcaste (#28242681) Attached to: Ballmer Threatens To Pull Out of the US
I didn't say that at all. When I said that there were no substitutions for Microsoft products, I implied that the demand is inelastic. One pretty much goes with the other, considering most businesses and individuals are forced into using Microsoft products due to their lack of interest in learning anything else.

Comment: Re:But corporations don't pay tax (Score 1) 1142

by dgcaste (#28235291) Attached to: Ballmer Threatens To Pull Out of the US
Mod parent up. Voline is absolutely right. People think that firms decide how much their price will "sell" at. That's only half of the equation. Now, Voline, since there really are no substitutions for Microsoft's product, the fact that Microsoft has all but eliminated consumer surplus by offering 200 different SKU's for their OS and charging this demand determined price, the price increase that would make up for the corporate tax has already happened in the past. At this point, any increase in tax is really a hit on their profit margins.

This gets me to thinking, if MS's software is as essential to business as oil is, does it share its inelasticity? Part of the problem is that Microsoft isn't always selling to consumers, but to a manufacturer's input in the form of OEM installs. That manufacturer's output is definitely substitutable and shows a high degree of elasticity, which is probably why Dell is trying out Ubuntu installs in some of its laptops.

Comment: Re:Capitalist flight (Score 1) 1142

by dgcaste (#28235179) Attached to: Ballmer Threatens To Pull Out of the US
Corporate taxes don't necessarily get passed onto the consumer - remember, companies don't set the price of goods, supply and demand does. I'm not naive enough to think that the economy works like every firm is perfectly competitive and that they all produce the same products, but for things that aren't Gucci and Ferrari oftentimes the firm has to swallow the cost and cut from its profit margin.

Remember, there's very few things out there that don't have a substitution (like oil, for example), so the elasticity of the demand prevents firms from raising their prices at their own will.

Comment: Re:About Fucking Time (Score 1) 665

by dgcaste (#28138199) Attached to: Wikipedia Bans Church of Scientology
Not sure why this got modded down to Troll. I believe the actions of the CoS in retaliation to social and media events is critical in ascertaining the level of threat they pose to society, and especially to the minds of these poor souls that got sucked into their vortex. I, however, am not worried. These men and women are trying to hurt nobody, except themselves. Unfortunately, splash damage does occur, but it's the exception rather than the norm. Even useless arms of the church such as Criminon and Narconon have very little effect on their subjects, but seldom a negative one. As long as we keep an eye on them and make sure things stay under a moderate level of control, with a "healthy" push and pull with the church (in which this Wikipedia ban falls squarely in), everything should be alright.

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