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Comment: Re:Sell BandWIDTH not data (Score 2) 316

by droptone (#47613705) Attached to: Verizon Throttles Data To "Provide Incentive To Limit Usage"

ISPs used to advertise contention ratios on ADSL, but they stopped for this reason: your 1:50 contention ratio looks really bad next to your competitor's 1:10 contention ratio, but they don't advertise that the contended link for them is a tenth the speed of yours.

This only matters when there's competition tho...

Comment: Re:The textbook industry... (Score 1) 252

by droptone (#46948457) Attached to: $200 For a Bound Textbook That You Can't Keep?
New trend in some high level biomedical science textbooks? Not including full references in the physical book but including a code to access those references online. That's bad enough, but as you might expect if you're cynical about publishers, the code expires and often expires before a new copy of the textbook comes out. So effectively they are charging you for a temporary peak at the references which justify the claims that can be used to figure out whether those claims are true.

Comment: Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (Score 1) 106

by droptone (#46615419) Attached to: Aaron Swartz and MIT: The Inside Story

. That means that researchers and scholars woldwide lost access to a vital research tool. And as a response, and to protect the rest of the world's access, they finally had to cut off MIT's access. He was screwing with people doing medical research. People *die* because cutting edge research gets held back for bonehead reasons.

If we're being precise, JSTOR is mostly a database of humanities journals. If we were talking about Web of Science or Scopus, then sure, perhaps that could've occurred. Even if it were a biomedical oriented database, very, very, very rarely will any doctor involved in point of care service try to find a journal article on anything. They will largely be using point of care oriented databases like Clinical Key which provide actionable information rather than benign background which isn't altogether relevant to a particular patient's needs.

Comment: Very little until micropayments are added (Score 1) 361

by droptone (#46161535) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Online News Is Worth Paying For?
I subscribe to the Economist and the New Republic, make donations to NPR and ProPublica, but as far as electronic only sources, I haven't felt inclined to purchase any so far. And, quite frankly, I don't see this changing in the near future. Once micropayments are integrated into news sites, though, I will gladly pay an amount if I like the story. I have no qualms of clicking a button and sending $0.50-$2 for a very well done, in-depth story that I appreciate, but this feature just isn't there.

I want to support quality journalism, but no news site has floored me with its coverage and commitment to journalism to make me subscribe. I don't see this changing for major sites. For minor ventures like Glenn Greenwald's Omidyar site or Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias' Vox site, perhaps. But even then I'd far prefer a method where I can support exactly what I want to support.

This is the exact same problem record companies had to encounter when the pirates hit. Consumers do not want to buy a whole album for one good song. Even they begrudgingly adapted, and media organizations should as well. They can have their click-bait fluff which will get ad revenue, but rather than using that to subsidize quality journalism, why not let the consumer support that sort of journalism directly?

Comment: Re:Some appointments are forever! (Score 1) 366

To take a couple of examples from that list:

In February 1992, Stella Liebeck ordered a cup of coffee to go from McDonalds. Liebeck was sitting in the passenger seat of her nephew's car, which was pulled over so she could add sugar to her coffee. While removing the cup's lid, Liebeck spilled her hot coffee, burning her legs. It was determined that Liebeck suffered third degree burns on over six percent of her body. Originally, Liebeck sought $20,000 in damages. McDonalds refused to settle out of court. However, they should have. Liebeck was ultimately awarded $200,000 in compensatory damages, which was reduced to $160,000 because she was found to be twenty percent at fault. She was also awarded $2.7 million in punitive damages.

NSFW, but check out these burns and see if they look trivial. Also the documentary Hot Coffee wonderfully explains why this isn't a trivial lawsuit.

In 2003, Richard Schick sued his former employer, the Illinois Department of Public Aid. Schick sought $5 million plus $166,700 in back pay for sexual and disability discrimination. In fact, Shick was so stressed by this discrimination that he robbed a convenience store with a shotgun. A jury felt his pain and awarded him the money he was seeking. The decision was then reversed. Unfortunately, the $303,830 he was still awarded isn't doing him much good during the ten years he's serving for armed robbery.

In scanning through the case, the boss seemed to be a vindictive asshole who had him remove a sleeping bag he had in the break room to deal with sleep apnea, moved the copy machine close to his desk to interfere with his hearing aid, in addition to numerous other complaints. Sure, the dude surely could've done things to combat some of his issues (carpel tunnel can be mitigated with proper exercises), but the boss should probably not be a dick.

Comment: Re:Nice SNAFU by Mozilla (Score 1) 362

by droptone (#45210935) Attached to: Firefox's Blocked-By-Default Java Isn't Going Down Well
I'm not going to lie. I got entangled in this mess last weekend.

I am a fairly technical user, but by no means an expert. I had a fantasy draft scheduled for noon on Sunday. I loaded up my browser at 11:45 only to be greeted with errors loading. I thought I had an updated version of Java, but I went ahead and ran the update. Again, no go. Now this is under some time pressure so I didn't do as much research as I would've with a level head, but then again, what I did is what I'd wager the vast majority of folks would do at their best. Ran update again, no go. I decided to say screw it and used Chrome.

Comment: Re:So... (Score 1) 93

by droptone (#44642357) Attached to: Valencia Region Government Completes Switch To LibreOffice
That would be helpful in some respects, but not cut and dry, especially since salaries are sunk costs. It seems very possible that there are organizations that have support people who would otherwise not be doing anything important. Those folks would need to help retrain others, but their time doesn't have any organizational opportunity costs attached.

Comment: Re:Public schools have morphed into (Score 1) 1078

by droptone (#43614691) Attached to: Florida Teen Expelled and Arrested For Science Experiment
I'd like to see some more support for the claim that NCLB contributed much for this.

When I was in middle school, my 7th grade teacher found a printed off copy of the Anarchist Cookbook of mine that a friend printed off and gave to me at school. This was a bit after Columbine, which meant I probably was going to be expelled for this sort of thing. I was lucky that that particular teacher was the one who found it. She was a former Army officer and, at least in this instance, was a good judge of character. She sat me down, sternly told me that she did not have the slightest inclination that I was planning anything beyond teenaged mischief, but that I could never bring anything like this to school again. She explained that I would be expelled for this sort of thing and that essentially I owed her. While I was an honors student, I did have a rap sheet 1, which would've surely meant automatic expulsion. I was extremely lucky that that teacher was reasonable; most were not.

If NCLB did anything, it may've amplified the trend, but that trend has been going for quite some time, I suspect.

1: I had jumped a kid earlier in the year. He was making fun of the fact that I and several other boys had recently lost our fathers. We explained that if he kept it up, that we would kick his ass. He kept it up and we obliged. Maybe it was due to this being the South, but no administrator or adult told me that I did anything wrong per se, only that they had to suspend me for two weeks. The most condemnation I received was from my football coach who was upset that he had to lose a starting player for two games; he advised me to take the kid off campus in the future (so kidnapping and assault).

Comment: Re:Because you don't pay, you just complain (Score 1) 978

by droptone (#43131885) Attached to: Game Site Wonders 'What Next?' When 50% of Users Block Ads
This sort of issue is why I am upset that Paypal has turned out to be a problematic company. The main problem I see for getting people to pay, who would want to pay, is that payment causes a hassle. Have a seemless micropayment option would facilitate people paying without the need to enter your financial information into yet another random site and perhaps also create an account. That extra effort just isn't worth it for many users and for me as well.

I've often wondered whether the micropayment option would provide sufficient revenue to online magazines as well. Rather than going with a paywall where you generally prepay for content, have an easy payment option. Every day I read articles that I'd gladly pay $0.10 or $0.50 for without pause. Asking me to prepay for content even for a provider that I like, e.g. foreignaffairs? Only a rare few sites will get that out of me.

Comment: Re:Reasoning (Score 2) 349

by droptone (#38234478) Attached to: TV Ownership Declines For Second Time Since 1970
Currently running or in production: Game of Thrones, Homeland, Louie, Boardwalk Empire and Breaking Bad (I can't personally vouch for it, but a lot of people whom I respect love it so I am quite confident that it is worth your time if you're remotely interested in watching good TV).

Ran in recent memory: The Wire (might be too pessimistic for your tastes but excellent nonetheless), The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Freaks and Geeks and Battlestar Galactica.

If you're interested in comedies then there are mounds more. Like with all things, there's a lot of crap with a few gems.

Comment: Re:You're so smart! (Score 1) 627

by droptone (#37424596) Attached to: Anonymous Kills Websites, Cartels Kill Bloggers
I don't know what measure you're using to claim that alcohol is the 'hardest' drug. This source certainly doesn't agree with you. And while there are a very small number of drugs that can directly kill an addiction during the withdrawal phase, alcohol isn't alone. Benzodiazepines and methadone are also in that group.

Comment: Re:I think Madden is schitzo...... (Score 1) 124

by droptone (#35127794) Attached to: EA Simulation Correctly Picked Super Bowl Champs in September
You do realize that sports books do not set lines with the intention of accurately predicting the outcome, right? They set lines to induce equal betting on both sides so that they make money from the vig. The final outcome plays a role in setting the line but other aspects weigh heavily, e.g. whether a team is a public team or whether one team had an overwhelming recent win that will weigh heavily in the minds of the public.

Also, the Packers weren't really very middle of the pack.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten