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Comment: Re:Wouldn't a sorted table have been more useful ? (Score 2) 132

by fermion (#48892859) Attached to: By the Numbers: The Highest-Paying States For Tech Professionals
This is advertisement from the parent company of /., so there is no need for any real information.

Presenting things as maps is the 21st century method of establishing credibility. It is much cheaper than actually creating an informative graphic with useful data, a la Edward Tufte.

As has been mentioned, this data is not all that useful. One still pretty much makes more money in places that are more expensive to live, but not nearly enough. For instance, in San Jose one might make 25% more than in Houston. On the other hand, the median price for a home in San Jose is 5 times the average pay listed on the site, while in Houston the median price for a home is only 1.4 times the average pay listed on the site. Doing this type of normalization is simple, but does not drive rubes to higher paying jobs that might pay higher commissions to places like Dice.

Comment: Re:Or: (Score 5, Interesting) 65

by fermion (#48892777) Attached to: Smartphones, Tablets and EBay Send SkyMall To Chapter 11
This seems to be the narrative that the parent company, Xhibit Corp,is pushing. Perhaps blaming 'the market' will help it in bankruptcy with creditors, and protect the owners from personal liability.

What is not being widely reported is that Xhibit Corp sold the customer loyalty fulfillment part of the business last year for around $20 million. This was the unit that apparently generated the vast majority of the revenue and probably all the profit. Why would a firm who expected to stay solvent sell of the unit that generated most of the revenue, a unit with guaranteed sales?

It really seems like a scam to create liquidity of the profitable assets and then screw the creditors. The fact that the business was a failing was probably known at the time of the sale. For instance, it was probably known that Southwest Air was going to stop carrying the catalog.

Comment: Re:oh good grief (Score 1) 790

by fermion (#48877357) Attached to: Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret
The Miata is a highly tuned engined with a highly tuned exhaust system in an attempt to create a pleasant engine noise experience.

What we are talking about here is noise for those who need others to notice them. Who buy the big truck or the loud motorcycle because they do not get enough attention at home.

This of course is different from an electric car which needs fake noise so that others are not startled.

In any case the Miata has one of the most expensive engines, and that along with the suspension contributes the majority cost to the car. There is nothing else that one buys a Miata for.

Comment: Re:We've sold the spectrum here; wouldn't be allow (Score 1) 104

by fermion (#48812241) Attached to: Where Cellular Networks Don't Exist, People Are Building Their Own
Another thing to consider it that is not as necessary. For many in developing world there is no landline, or at least affordable landline.

I remember about 20 years ago I knew many more people in South America who had cell phones that in the US. I, at that time, did not have a cell phone. OTOH, many of those in SA that had cell phones did not have land lines because the lines either did run into the mountains, or the land line was too expensive. In particular, the local service would not sell what we call residential lines, instead requiring the higher business rates.

What they did have outside the US were reletively strong repeaters, and many had then. The cell phones would work in urban areas, then fade, then work again when they were in range of the home signal booster.

Now, as in many places outside the US, the coverage is excellent and one is never very far away from a shop that will top off your data.

Comment: Re:You don't say !! (Score 4, Interesting) 324

by fermion (#48804435) Attached to: How To Hijack Your Own Windows System With Bundled Downloads
This is old news, but still of a concern because of Google. I have noticed lately that sometimes when I search for software to install on a new machine or try out for a project, one of the download services comes up as the first result instead of the actual place hosting the repositories and packages.

This reminds me when link farms were more of an issue than they are today, and when just doing a search could kill your windows machine.

Really it is the search engines that keep these people in business, and modifications of the algorithm could minimize the damage just like it did with link farms.

Comment: Re:We don't need to stinkin' badges ... (Score 1) 46

by fermion (#48794801) Attached to: Chicago E-Learning Scheme Embraces Virtual Badges For Public Schoolers
"gamerfication" is something that some educators want to try. I see no problem with this as some students will respond to this kind of motivation. I see it as worthy as grades. Long term, however, the value will be no more than grades or a high school diploma. There will be issues with validity and value. Did the kid earn the badge or was given the badge. Were the requirements for the badge the same everywhere, or were some people give lower requirements.

Comment: Re:Rewriting history to favor India/Arabs? (Score 1) 187

The reality is, for instance, that Algebra is derived from Arabic, that Algebra as we know it today was refined in the middle east, and is of particular Arabic origin. Much of the origin myths of the west have been written to exclude non-western contributions. This can be as simple as US children not being taught that the Russians were instrumental in defeating Hitler, to including stirrups on horses in B.C.E Europe even though such technology only existed in China until the 5th or 6th century C.E.

Comment: Re:Broadcast Radio? Eeew.... (Score 1) 126

by fermion (#48785027) Attached to: Radio, Not YouTube, Is Still King of Music Discovery
who is going to pay $200 a year for radio. I pay almost that much for contributions to non profit stations, but if I listen to commercial radio it is streaming from my phone, mostly non-US stations to discover movie.

In any case Sirius does not solve the basic problem, which is the payments to the artists for airplay. Streaming services are going to tend to much better than radio to target new music to listeners, and are not running ads to pay for excessive fees to allow artists to publicize their music, so while these services need to pay artists, they cannot be as much as radio. Likewise, the big publishers should be removed from the process, otherwise we are going to end up with same lame formats we have on radio.

Comment: Re:The great lie of the market. (Score 2) 34

So a diamond is essentially worthless, but good upselling makes it worth a lot. This values pays for the processing and marketing of the stone. In the US, for instance, 50 years of brainwashing has made couples forgo homes and food to buy a rock. In the case of the apparently paid link, they are a delivery service. The problem is that it is hard to create enough value for delivery. Overhead, profits, and minimum wage means that someone is not going to pay a large delivery fee, the value is not going to create a viable business. Of course you could do what Uber and Lyft does, which is essentially externalize all real costs to contractors, but even in that case profit is apparently not possible without surge pricing which tricks customers into paying multiples of the expected price.

Comment: Re:Not all bad, some middling to good-ish reviews (Score 1) 351

by fermion (#48664067) Attached to: Ars: Final Hobbit Movie Is 'Soulless End' To 'Flawed' Trilogy
My take on it is that there are higher expectations for movies, not just in terms of the production values but in terms of the actors. This was the sixth middle earth movie, and everyone is showing a bit of fatigue. The cameras angles, thankfully sparingly used, to make hobbits seem small are getting increasingly passe. There were few landscapes which though also getting a bit old were at least entertaining. The actual battle could have used a some lesson from TV on how to shoot on a budget.

In fact the entire movie reminded me of an elevator episode from a TV series. These episodes are made when on has blown one's budget for the season, but still need to get 24 in the can. So you have everyone stuck on an elevator, or locked in a room, or the like, and have some dramatic events happening. Of course it is hard to carry an entire movie on this premise, but when one has promised a mini series, one has to deliver.

Comment: Yes, idiocy (Score 1) 580

by fermion (#48625779) Attached to: Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'
We are not talking about the risk of an attack on the level of 9/11. We are talking about a risk of an attack like Newtown, or Littleton, or the Holocaust Museum, or the Knoxville church, or, to be apropos, Aurora.

We are talking a movie that has a lot of hype, but may not last past the first weekend. A lot of people were planning on seeing it, but are people going to make a statement and risk some lone gun nut coming in and killing several people

Is it commercially responsible to pay for the distribution of a film when people may be afraid of the consequences of seeing it? Might it be more commercially responsible to release it when the heat dies down. Are parents going to allow their kids to see this movie know a lone gun nut might kill them?

Again, we really don't know what is going on here. Team America already killed this guy in the movies, and made fun of him in the most racist of ways(I so ronery). But this is just a movie. It's purpose is to generate revenue for sony. It is not an 'film' so it's sole purpose is to generate revenue for Sony. It has some hype, but it also has some risk. Again, not of movie theaters being bombed, but of someone, who does not necessarily have and national backing, coming in with tactical shotguns and 100 round rifles and killing several people. This is not that hard to imagine as it happens with some regularity.

Comment: good will (Score -1, Offtopic) 190

by fermion (#48601151) Attached to: Why Didn't Sidecar's Flex Pricing Work?
There is also a surcharge of good will in economics. When one company buys another, there is good will. When people pya $1000 for a MS license instead of much less for Google docs, some of that is good will.

The taxi service in my area has had tracking of the cabs for a while and the ability to get a cab with an app for a very long while. The wait on the phone is not long at all. I am not in an area where cabs are used a lot, but sometimes a cab is better than a bus or driving.

I specifically use cabs because of lack of surge pricing. There have been times when I have had to get home at midnight, and it good that i can just take a cab and not get gouged. If one want to show appreciation, tip better.

In some ways I see these ride buying service as Walmart. Come in, chage less to drive out others, then raise the prices and the consumer is at the mercy of an unregulated monopoly.

Comment: Re:They have good reason to be nervous (Score 1) 280

by fermion (#48560937) Attached to: Utilities Face Billions In Losses From Distributed Renewables
it is an interesting theory, but misses a couple facts. First, the owners of the grid are protected. For instance, in disasters in the recent past the repair costs for the grid have been passed directly to rate payers even though the gird operators should have reserved cash to pay for those repairs. It is like the owner of corner grocery charging everyone a dollar extra because he was robbed the previous evening. Likewise, many people buy electricity through resellers. The producers mostly know just sell bulk, so they are not really interested in how much electricity is used, just that enough is sold to support the plants. And the solar panel is only going to allow them to reduce capacity, and increase profits. Here is how. There is such an overcapacity of overnight electricity that resellers give it away. The generators have to provide an excess during the day, and have to charge more to cover the costs. With a bunch of residential solar panels feeding electricity back into the grid during the day when people are not home, the providers can afford to supply electricity at night when they were giving it away for free before. In my a typical use case in my area, a family might spend $300 on electricity when there is a lot of sun, and $100 when there is little sun. With solar panels, such a family might see no money going to electric company, but maybe extra electricity feeding the grid at peak times when before there might have been brownouts. The only problem is this grid, which obviously is going to have to be funded separately, maybe $20 a month for a connection.

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker

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