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Comment: Re:No better moustrap at all ... (Score 1) 279

by horza (#47573461) Attached to: Amazon's eBook Math

" You also need customers however, and that's where Amazon's added value is. It has a big catalog of paper books and lots of customers who'll turn to Amazon *first* if they're looking for a book. Any book. And yes, that makes it easier to sell e-books too. In all other respects Amazon's added value is practically zero here"

As somebody that used to be a prolific customer of Amazon, and spend tens of thousands of dollars there before they pulled down the Wikileaks web site and I stopped using them, the value was very much in the incredible database of user comments on each and every book they have accumulated. It would take a long time to set up a rival and generate that much genuine user contributed information.


Comment: Re: I like it. (Score 2) 279

by horza (#47573433) Attached to: Amazon's eBook Math

The hardback version has extra value: offline ability, future-proofed technology, DRM free, prestige value on the bookshelf, and easy resale. However you are right in that the price is bottom-bounded by the factors you mention, time and ability.

Why has the softback version of a book always been considerably cheaper than the hardback? It's not harder to produce, and the difference in cost in materials is insignificant. It is because by delaying the publication of the soft-back they know they can price gouge real fans who must have the book "now".

Not passing on cost-savings of the electronic version over printed is as wrong as assuming no distribution cost means something is worth less in terms of content. Some books are better than others, some longer, some must-have tomes to be re-read over and over again, some to be read in an afternoon and forgotten. Price is an arbitary thing to set, and it's not on what it is worth but what will generate the most revenue.

Amazon is there to optimise revenue, which in theory should work out in favour of the author and publisher. Why don't bricks and mortar adapt to the ebook? A bit like cinema adapted to the dvd. Here is my vision:

* large coffee shop style lounge areas to read, as you have already
* pick up an ebook on your way in, log in using your shop membership username and password (or come in with your own)
* the walls are covered in massive colour touch screens 1m x 1m, tiled with book covers with synopsis underneath
* you can swipe the screens to scroll through books, hit buttons to drill down by category/author/etc
* pressing one of the covers zaps the covers, index and 1st chapter to the ebook you are reading
* at the end of the chapter there is a "Buy now" button, which when you hit it has the same monetary distribution (ie 1/3 to the store / publisher / author)

It would provide a venue to host live Q&A with authors, a more social place to browse where you can look over other people's shoulders, an interesting refuge whilst the SO is clothes shopping.


Comment: Re:Great... (Score 1) 571

by horza (#47549127) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

"with someone pro west who seems to think rushing these oil and gas contracts in as fast as possible is not nearly fast enough"

You forgot to mention Russia raising gas prices 80% and threatening to cut off the whole country's energy supply as being a possible reason for rushing to get oil and gas contracts outside of Russian influence.


Comment: Re:Youtube Comments (Score 3, Insightful) 238

by horza (#47464921) Attached to: Pseudonyms Now Allowed On Google+

The real-name G+ kept me away as I knew it was doomed. Many of my female friends use an alias, or a mis-spelled name, to avoid stalkers or getting hassled. Few of my guy friends would want to be on a service with no women on. Even I have 2 FB accounts, one for work friends and another for family. The fatal flaw, the one that killed various biometric companies as well as G+, is that in real life we are different people at different times. The person you are at work is not necessarily the person that is on a picnic with his family taking snaps of his loved ones or of wildlife.


Comment: Re:No. (Score 1) 502

Thanks for the useful advice AC, but having being burned by distros in the past that are cutting edge and that I do love in many ways (looking at you Gentoo) you tend to end up favouring ones that when things get b0rked you can easily reformat and reinstall with minimum hassle. The Ubuntu forums are also great. I'll stay on the mainstream bandwagon for now.


Comment: Re:No. (Score 1) 502

Excuse late reply but yes I have been plugging it in over the past few years every time I reformat my machine. Am on the latest Ubuntu at the moment, running Gnome Shell. It does not work. I've tried reading the forums but no apparent easy fix. I'm not going to bother doing kernel dumps etc as it simply isn't important enough for me. Like many others, if SB can't be bothered with me as a user then onboard sound is "good enough" and I'm not buying any more sounds cards.


Comment: Maybe something sensible? (Score 1) 94

by horza (#47422993) Attached to: Single European Copyright Title On the Horizon

So I expect to see:
* reduction of the term of copyright to 14 years
* ISPs granted common carrier status, and absolved of responsibility
* clarification that linking to copyrighted content is not illegal, hosting the content is

Though I doubt Jean-Claude Juncker, with his reputation as a beaurocrat, will help the EU in any way. Let's see if David Cameron was right about him or not.


Comment: Re:Specs On Paper & Buyer Mindset (Score 2) 198

by horza (#47348751) Attached to: Overkill? LG Phone Has 2560x1440 Display, Laser Focusing

RISC is not worse as a general purpose computer. They do not only offer gains in specific problem domains, they are a trade-off that are complementary to CISC. If storage is limited, or you have a very slow bottleneck getting to the CPU then CISC might be better. Generally RISC is better as single-cycle instructions means it is easier to parallise instructions and less expensive for branch prediction misses.

Most CISC instruction sets are reduced to RISC micro-code within modern processors. Take a look at the silicon for any x86 CPU these days. This translator takes most of the transistors and consumes most of the power. It also makes them more expensive than RISC, which is why RISC is used in nearly every single mobile phone. Both Apple and LG use the ARM RISC instruction set for their CPU, AFAIK.

However what you mean by CPU is actually the SoC (System on a Chip), which is effectively a computer on a chip. It integrates a lot of other specialist functions onto the chip such as graphics (GPU) and the latest 5S has hardware image processor built in. The bonus is reduced production cost and bottleneck. The penalty is reduced upgradability. The Apple chips are made by Samsung so I doubt they have anything Samsung doesn't know about on there.


Comment: Re:& Weak-kneed leaders in the West will ... (Score 1) 522

by horza (#46991467) Attached to: Russia Bans US Use of Its Rocket Engines For Military Launches

The US needs to stop Putin, and the space front rather than Ukraine is the perfect place to start. The EU is hopelessly hooked on Russian gas and scared silly of Putin, so don't expect any help there. The first space race took us (using 'us' in the human race sense) to the moon, and very little since. Maybe the next one will take us to Mars?

As an aside, 'our leaders' needs to include the people. Shifting off Russian oil and gas will be painful financially, and economies that are only just getting back on their feet financially are going to be hesitant to deal a blow to the economy already suffering from unemployment and austerity measures. They do need to get a spine, but they need to sell why to the people.


Comment: BMW won nothing (Score 3, Insightful) 258

by horza (#46897155) Attached to: BMW Created the Most Efficient Electric Car In the US

BMW won nothing. Tesla won the electric car race by creating a car that has the range of a normal car, is faster than a normal car, and looks as good as any normal car. This is why it is scoring so high in consumer reports that cover ALL cars, not just electric vehicles.

The BMW i3 has 1/3 of the range, does 0-60 in twice the time (7 seconds), and looks fugly. In my city we have dozens of public cars like this all over the city that anybody can jump into and use for €8/hour. I am sure lots of companies will buy it for staff than need to do local runs. Probably got a good market in local governments, councils and utility companies. Being one of the slowest production cars ever to hit the road will probably mean low insurance cost.

It's apples and oranges. A bicycle is more efficient than either. It doesn't do the same job though.


Comment: KeepNote (Score 1) 170

by horza (#46804613) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Professional Journaling/Notes Software?

The best app I have come across for storing ideas is KeepNote. Free and cross-platform, though it could do with a few more features. OneNote seems not bad for storing recipes etc, but is obviously unacceptable for storing personal data.

In terms of PIM, this is not really the same as OP was asking as most of them are calendar/to-do based. I've tried every single ones of these, and have found MyLifeOrganized to be the best. One of the few apps I've been happy to pay for. Microsoft Windows only but works under WINE.


You can't have everything... where would you put it? -- Steven Wright