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Comment: Re:I doubt most people care (Score 1) 337

by sootman (#47510101) Attached to: Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

If you rent less than a movie a week (and if you can get by with a small catalog of current-ish releases), Redbox is pretty economical at $1.29 per DVD per day. You can't leave it sitting around your house for days at a time, but then you don't really need to because you get the movie when you want to see it (as opposed to requesting it on the site a day or two in advance) and then return it the next time you're out. There are redboxes everywhere in my area so getting to one isn't a big deal. In the 2 or 3 years years I've been using redbox, there have literally only been 2 or 3 times where I had to make a special trip to drop off a movie on time. Usually, I leave the house at some point during a day, and if I do, there's a redbox either where I'm going or on the way. (On the borders of my subdivision, there are redboxes at the Walgreens stores on the NW and SE corners, and one at the 7-11 on the NE corner. There's nothing on the SW corner, but I rarely go that way, and if I do, it's 1 mile to the next redbox.) My usual process is to get something on the way home from work and then drop it off when I go out the next day.

One thing in Redbox's favor is that the window between "hey, I want to see that" and having the movie in your hand can be just a matter of minutes. And if you do that, say, twice a month, that's $33/year instead of $96/year. So for small users -- like me -- it's actually faster and cheaper. (Plus they send codes by email or text for either a free rental, rent-one-get-one-free, or $.75 off a rental, about once every 3 weeks. I used redbox about once a month when I first signed up and I just rented when I had codes and I only paid for about 2 movies the first 6 months. Once I got used to using it, I started renting a little more.)

Comment: Re:Ads are good for the internet. (Score 1) 391

by sootman (#47491545) Attached to: Dealing With 'Advertising Pollution'

I haven't seen anything in the last 14 years to make me doubt any assertions in this article, which gives MANY reasons that micropayments won't work. Here's just one short section, but it's one of the key points.

micropayments create a double-standard. One cannot tell users that they need to place a monetary value on something while also suggesting that the fee charged is functionally zero. This creates confusion - if the message to the user is that paying a penny for something makes it effectively free, then why isn't it actually free? Alternatively, if the user is being forced to assent to a debit, how can they behave as if they are not spending money?... Users will be persistently puzzled over the conflicting messages of "This is worth so much you have to decide whether to buy it or not" and "This is worth so little that it has virtually no cost to you."

Comment: Re:No excuses left (Score 1) 390

by sootman (#47485257) Attached to: Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

> Capitalist theory says that if an incumbent merchant/provider
> is too inefficient to provide a good service or if another potential
> merchant/provider thinks they can do a better job for a lower
> price, then that new provider will step in and provide said service.

If the barrier to entry is too high, no one else can step in. Once a company is making huge monopoly profits, it can save a bit for a rainy day and undercut competitors until they go under. McDonald's could start selling burgers for 5 cents apiece until Burger King was bankrupt if it weren't for anti-monopoly laws.

The natural result of pure capitalism is monopolies. Regulation is required, because monopolies always wind up being bad for consumers.

Even moderately benign monopolies suck. Craigslist is a great example. Even though they are relatively benevolently run -- almost everything is free; a few things like real estate listings in major cities cost a lot and pay for everything else on the site -- their listings suck in a lot of ways and they have no incentive to make them better. Why can't they have columns for things like cars and computer so I can search specifically by Manufacturer -> Model, and not just to text searches on the ads? That would help deal with the fact that almost every ad in "cars for sale" looks like this. But because Craigslist has a monopoly, no other "stuff for sale" site can gain traction, and Craigslist has no reason to improve. So you eat the shit sandwich that is Craigslist because there's nothing else on the menu.

Comment: Re:This a question that Microsoft should answer (Score 1) 272

by sootman (#47485137) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

> This week, I got a real WTF when dealing with Microsoft products and
> the amazing amount of redundancy that is possible in the company.

I work with SharePoint and see this DAILY. When editing, one kind of page has a button that says "save" (which also ends the editing session); another kind of page has a button that says "stop editing" (which also saves.)

I imagine the boss talking to employees: "Coder #1: put a button that stops editing and saves on this kind of page. Coder #2: put a button that stops editing and saves on that kind of page."

SharePoint lists are also fun. If you go past 10k rows, bad things happen. But you can have as many columns as you want.
List 1: 3 columns, 11,000 rows, 33,000 total "cells" (for lack of a better term): BAD.
List 2: 25 columns, 9,000 rows, 225,000 total cells -- almost 7 times more -- EVERYTHING IS FINE.
(I've made lists like this just to test. It really happens.)

Again, I imagine one guy in charge of how rows are handled, and another in charge of how columns are handled.

Comment: Re:And in totally unrelated news.... (Score 1) 382

by sootman (#47475965) Attached to: Microsoft CEO To Slash 18,000 Jobs, 12,500 From Nokia To Go

> How does this make Microsoft better?

You always here that competition in the marketplace makes all companies stronger. So, maybe that? Kind of indirect, but it might work. The losers who stay behind will have to up their game to compete with their now-stronger competition.

Comment: Re:Died Outside a Tesla (Score 1) 443

by sootman (#47435459) Attached to: The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

Old joke:
A white guy is driving through the South. He drives into two black guys. One is knocked across the street, the other pinwheels and crashes through the windshield into the car. The white guy gets out of the car just as a sheriff drives around the corner. He sees the wreck and gets out. The driver says "Oh my God, sheriff, this is so horrible." The sheriff says "Don't worry about it, I'll arrest these two." The driver says "I hit them -- why would you arrest them?" The sheriff points and says "This one, for breaking and entering, and that one, for leaving the scene of an accident."

Comment: Re:Thrown from the vehicle (Score 2) 443

by tempestdata (#47433837) Attached to: The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

" Emergency responders suspected that Slot was already dead when they arrived at the debris-littered scene. But he wasn't. Perhaps it's a testament to Tesla's safety measures that Slot remained alive and was briefly resuscitated en route to the hospital"

From the article...

Holy crap. perhaps he died of medical malpractice :O

Comment: Re:The question to me seems to be... (Score 1) 148

by SteveWoz (#47357639) Attached to: Lawrence Lessig Answers Your Questions About His Mayday PAC (Video)

End goal: change the constitution. We need a start. It's easy to see how hard this will be and to give up early, but some of us feel the imperative to fight for it. We can change things. The vast will of the masses (corporation political donations are not equivalent to the free speech we enjoy as individuals) needs to be strategically gathered. Critical mass could take decades, as with things like gay marriage.

For God's sake, stop researching for a while and begin to think!