Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Comment: Classic pricing problem (Score 4, Interesting) 329

by jratcliffe (#48614007) Attached to: 11 Trillion Gallons of Water Needed To End California Drought

Make something free (or nearly so), and people will use lots of it. CA's water problem is by no means insoluble.

1. Figure out how much water the state can sustainably use.
2. Set a price for water usage. Set a flat price for all users, residential, commercial, industrial. No reason that some users of water should get it more cheaply than others.
3. If usage remains above the level determine in #1, raise the price.
4. Repeat process until usage falls to the level determined in #1.

Of course, this process would likely result in a big chunk of the unsustainable agriculture in CA going under, but so be it - basing a business on the assumption that you'll get continued massive discounts on a key input isn't particularly wise planning, and there's no reason why other CA water users should be forced to subsidize those businesses.

Comment: Dubious About This Survey (Score 3, Insightful) 53

by jratcliffe (#48606005) Attached to: Snowden Leaks Prompt Internet Users Worldwide To Protect Their Data

Some really odd responses in here, that make me question the honestly of the responses. For example, on 35% of Chinese respondents believe their government restricts access to the Internet?

Secondly, on the Snowden question, the question calls out for a "yes, I have" response. People don't want to admit to surveyors that they don't know something, so a good study will actually test whether they actually know about Snowden, or are just not willing to admit ignorance.

Finally, it doesn't say what the "steps" people took actually are, so it's very hard to say what impact Snowden's actually had.

There is a section asking about what people are doing differently on the net vs. last year (changed password, not go to certain sites, etc. etc.), but that was asked of all respondents, not just those who say they know of Snowden, so there's no output on what specific changes people made. Would be interesting to see the responses to that question separated between those who know of Snowden, and those who don't.

Comment: Re:So the media dick-waving goes into the next rou (Score 1) 302

by jratcliffe (#48605957) Attached to: The Pirate Bay Responds To Raid

1. PC gamers are a much smaller, and techier, market than the market for movies or music. Hardly representative.
2. Even in the PC game sector, DRM, outside of a few egregious cases, doesn't seem to be much of a barrier to success (a la most games on Steam).

To flip it around, extensive DRM doesn't seem to hurt console game sales, which far outstrip PC game sales in both units and $.

Comment: Re:Probably had 10 pounds postage too.... (Score 1) 138

by jratcliffe (#48605847) Attached to: Amazon UK Glitch Sells Thousands of Products For a Penny

Weird, because Amazon in the US sorts on price+shipping, not just on price. It works out to the same thing for some products (i.e. books), since shipping outside of Prime is a standard $3.99. It will, however, include Prime, so if you have a book selling for $0.01, with $3.99 shipping, that would rank below a book that qualified for prime with a price of $3.98.

Comment: Re:So the media dick-waving goes into the next rou (Score 1) 302

by jratcliffe (#48605791) Attached to: The Pirate Bay Responds To Raid

And I am by no stretch alone, or a minority.

You're not alone. You're _definitely_ a minority. If the studios offered the content for free, but with current DRM, people would be lined up down the block. If they dropped the FBI warnings, etc. from the start of DVDs, sales would go up 0.1%.

Comment: Re:The Pirate Bay (Score 3, Interesting) 302

by jratcliffe (#48605771) Attached to: The Pirate Bay Responds To Raid

Working hard since 2003 to preserve your right to consume media without the annoyance of paying.

Working hard to enable people to download movies and music that will work on their streaming and mobile devices after they've paid for the original DRM encumbered media that forces them to watch adverts and FCC warnings every time they use the media.

There, fixed that for you.

Do you seriously think that a significant portion of Pirate Bay downloads are people who have purchased the content, and are just downloading a copy to get an unencumbered version? Honestly?

Comment: Re:Programming Language (Score 1) 173

by jratcliffe (#48602675) Attached to: The GPLv2 Goes To Court

Problem is, people aren't identical. Take 1000 Macbooks, run the same code on them, and you'll get (almost always) identical results. You won't get the same asking 1000 people to interpret a law or contract.

Lawyers (at least good ones) attempt to deal with this issue by being as precise and comprehensive as possible. Often, they're derided for creating "1000 page contracts in legalese instead of a one page agreement," but 999 of those pages, and the legalese, are usually efforts to explicitly deal with the corner cases that can come up in a contract.

Comment: Re:Article doesn't address they "why" (Score 1) 205

by jratcliffe (#48554599) Attached to: The Failed Economics of Our Software Commons

You're absolutely right, it's not a tragedy of the commons, it's a free rider problem. Brain failure last night. Still raises the question, what changes to our IP laws would fix that? In both tragedy of the commons and free rider problems, assigning excludable ownership fixes the problem, but would likely create others...

Comment: Re:Article doesn't address they "why" (Score 2) 205

by jratcliffe (#48551947) Attached to: The Failed Economics of Our Software Commons

What aspect of current IP law do you believe creates this situation (i.e. the ease of free-riding on open source), and how should they be reformed?

This looks like a classic tragedy of the commons problem, in which case assigning ownership (i.e. eliminating the free-as-in-beer aspects of FOSS) is the relevant solution.

Comment: Re:"This problem of freeriders is something... (Score 2) 205

by jratcliffe (#48551925) Attached to: The Failed Economics of Our Software Commons

"Create a Basic Income (financed by the Fed at zero cost to taxpayers),"

How, out of curiosity, will this miracle be achieved? What magic wand will the Fed wave in order to create these resources from midair?

Now, there's a pretty decent argument for a basic income (from economists across the political spectrum, including Friedman, not generally known as a soft-headed liberal), but the money would have to be transferred from elsewhere in the economy via taxes.

Comment: Re:Looks like the mismatch nailed me (Score 2, Informative) 163

by jratcliffe (#48532173) Attached to: New Virus Means Deadlier Flu Season Is Possible

The Flu vaccine is no more effective than random chance, but it's a huge money maker for the pharmaceutical industry.

Got any actual evidence for this claim? I see your unsupported assertion, and raise you a page of peer-reviewed studies.

Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.