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Comment Re:Stats (Score 1) 209

Yeah, the problem is that as always with capturing such metrics, they only tell half the story.

If someone can no longer see movies listed that are big hits, then it destroys the perception of value people have in the service, even if they never watch those movies.

So sure such movies might not get as much click through as their value implies, but if they're gone then the service appears less premium and no longer worth the cost.

Comment Re:You're opening the door to your competitors... (Score 1) 209

"They either need to pay more or drop the content, so dropping the content they are."

Actually that's the whole reason I take take issue with this. They're dropping content AND hiking the subscription fee.

They just increased the UK subscription rate only two months ago by 7%, and now they're slashing content.

So now, I can pay £89.88 for a year of Netflix, with all this content removed, or I can pay £79 for Amazon Prime where I get just as good content, free next day delivery 7 days a week, access to prime music which gives me access to millions of songs for free, and some cloud storage to boot.

I think your thoughts are quite accurate for the most part, but when Netflix is hiking their price to already be less competitive against their already more competitive competition I don't think it's an excuse that holds merit anymore. I think it's simple profit gouging, but the sort of profit gouging that's likely to hurt them in the long run.

As many companies do as they get bigger and seek to maintain the sort of persistent rapid growth they saw when smaller and younger, they get so desperate to grow their margins that they end up self-harming in the process because they put too much emphasis on growing profits by cutting costs, not realising that those costs are actually one of the pillars maintaining the existing profit in the first place.

I think this is a key example of that, I don't see Netflix maintaining their UK userbase at least by hiking the price of the most popular package whilst removing some of the most popular films. Justifying to their userbase a 7% hike whilst inflation is running at a mere 0% - 0.1% in the UK is difficult enough in itself, but doing so whilst also drastically reducing the amount of content they offer? Good luck with that - "pay more for less" isn't going to make anyone happy.

Comment Re:The reason for these laws (Score 1) 690

First of all, the Nazis actually managed to pull that trick before.They convinced enough people to vote for them to get into parliament, then leveraged politicians who underestimated Hitler, defects in the German constitution and apathy to take power.

I would argue that it wasn't something that could be prevented by muzzling them (if anything, I suspect it would have made them even more popular). Generally speaking, if your society is so close to the brink that it can be pushed over by an election, it's already well and truly fucked. The real fix is to not get there in the first place. In a healthy society, a Nazi-like party would gather some protest votes and such, but would never be in a position to define policy.

For instance, in a first past the post system (like the U.S.) third parties have virtually no chance to gain any influence at all. That means that many political viewpoints are ignored, and power remains with the entrenched parties, which are not required to act in a democratic manner (superdelegates).

This is not entirely true. In the American system, FPTP merely pushed a large chunk of political squabbles inside the parties, with primaries instead of general elections. And extremists can still gain political power that way - just look at Tea Party. For all the ridicule heaped on them, they did sweep quite a few states, enough for a strong faction of their own in the parliament. Again, this is an indication of an ill society, and not something that you can resolve by legislation - at best, you can sweep symptoms under the rug for a while.

If you really think that no form of speech is worth restricting, go look at how ISIS is recruiting people. That's pure speech.

I'm fine with restricting speech that directly leads to a crime. This is basically the "imminent lawless action" standard that is currently in force in US. The key part here is "imminent", and the onus is on the prosecution to prove such. It gives you the ability to prosecute people who actually manage to incite someone to a crime (because in that case the commitment of the crime is prima facie evidence of imminence), and it also gives some wiggle room for cases that are very borderline, but it's hard to abuse because it's so strict.

In case of ISIS speech, it boils down to this. People should be allowed to advocate for it, praise the virtues of the Caliphate, argue in favor of Sharia (including the promotion of death penalty and torture killing for apostasy and adultery) etc. That's all free speech. When it becomes a specific call to action that is illegal (e.g. an invitation to join ISIS), and that call is not just a random diatribe but is actually directed towards an audience that is likely to heed it, then that becomes fair game. And, of course, giving specific directions on where to go and whom to talk to in order to join, or providing specific instructions on how to wire money, is fair game.

Comment Re:The reason for these laws (Score 1) 690

A quick glance of the Wikipedia page on it disagrees with you, not that Afghanistan is related to Germany.

Instead of doing a quick glance, you can try reading the thing - it's linked from that very Wikipedia page, in fact.

"The religion of the state of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is the sacred religion of Islam"

"In Afghanistan, no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam."

[on political parties] "The program and charter of the party are not contrary to the principles of sacred religion of Islam"

"The provisions of adherence to the fundamentals of the sacred religion of Islam and the regime of the Islamic Republic cannot be amended."

And this is how these work out in practice.

But the Wiki entry on that doesn't say what you assert either.

The wiki entry does actually say exactly what I said: that in German constitution, there are certain provisions that are deemed immutable, and that one of them pertains to a "democratic nature" of society, which is interpreted to mean that no political party isn't allowed to organize on a platform that would promote changing that nature. It's actually a feature of the political system that is distinctive enough that it has its own unique name, "militant democracy".

Comment Re:So now we have a new paradox... (Score 1) 168

No, it still vanishes, however an imprint of the egg persists on the floor (but in the short run invisible even in principle to anything not actually in or under the floor) such that it interferes with the thermal radiation the floor produces on a cold cold cold day in the far future. Careful examination of that thermal radiation will show the mass-energy-momentum of the egg reached the floor at some point in the past, but is insufficient to reconstruct the egg.

(Additionally, there's the interesting point that the dropped egg is in free-fall until it hits the floor at which point it experiences a dramatic acceleration. The "no drama" conjecture holds that the dropped egg would pass through the event horizon without experiencing an acceleration, and it in turn is based on the (strong) Einstein Equivalence Principle. One of the reasons Hawking is even interested in this is the question about whether the EEP is preserved in a resolution of the AMPS (Polchinski et al) paradox, and his and his collaborators' solutions rely upon the BMS symmetry (and in particular supertranslations). Their argument suggests that the whole spacetime outside the black hole biases the Hawking radiation when the black hole evaporates, but this raises a number of so-far-unanswered questions (presumably this will form part of a future paper).

The biased Hawking radiation means that the entanglement energy of the swallowed half of entangled pairs ultimately escapes to infinity (they claim that this is background-independent, but that's something else which will have to be demonstrated in a forthcoming paper), and so there will be no firewall at the (inner) event horizon (of a Kerr black hole).

So there's no splattered egg. It may be (sort-of) splattered under the floor. (Both GR and semiclassical gravity predict this, but also that the splattering will be unseen above the floor, and also that the precise behaviour of the microscopic components of the egg depends on the behaviour of strongly curved spacetime and quantum fields, and theories describing those presently tend to make inconsistent or even incompatible predictions).)

Comment No, the Democrats shut it down. (Score 1) 118

Backing a republican is understandable...but risky in this day and age. This is a political party that has shut down the US Government twice.

No, the Democrats are the ones that "shut it down" - to the extent that a "government shutdown" actually shuts anything down - and the Replublicans caved both times and gave them what they wanted.

The "power of the purse" is SUPPOSED to be the House of Representatives' check on a runaway executive branch. When the executive does something Congress doesn't want it to do, Congress is supposed to cut off the money for that, to make the executive branch stop. (This is why military appropriations, in particular, have a constitutional limit of two years: If the President, as Commander in Chief decides to go to war without a declaration, congress can stop the war within a couple years by stopping the money for the military.) This is also supposed to work when the majority of either house of congress is opposed to something.

But in these recent "government shutdowns" the Democratic majority in the Senate, along with the President, held all the services of the government hostage when the Republicans tried to defund the no-longer-popular Obamacare. The Republican-controlled house split the funding for various sections of the government into several bills, and passed essentially all of them, with the idea that Obamacare would be in its own bill which could then be voted on separately - both likely failing to pass it in the House and giving a recorded vote showing which senators and reps supported it, to use in the next election's campaigns.

The Senate leadership and Democratic majority then refused to pass ANY of the fund-a-part-of-the-government bills, holding the popular parts of the government's operations hostage: Give up the House's prerogative to originate all funding bills, pass an omnibus bill including Obamacare, or the government will be shut down - and our pet media will blame YOU for it!

The Republicans tried several iterations, from an everything-but-Obamacare bill, through several sets that added up to funding everything but Obamacare, to a bunch of little fund-somethng-really-important bills, and the Democrats bounced pretty much all of them.

Eventually the old budget timed out. Then the President ordered his people, not to go on vacation for lack of money to pay them, but to do things like actively blockade federal parks and roads. And for days the Democrats and the media said that it was the Republicans who had "shut down the goverment" (when they'd passed bills to fund pretty much all of it).

Eventually the Republican leadership threw in the towel and let an Everything Including Obamacare bill through. But people like you are STILL fooled into thinking it was the Rs, not the Ds, that made it uncomfortable for them by "shutting it down".

(I'd be a lot more impressed, by the way, if cutting off the money actually DID shut down the government, rather than just 17% or so of it, leaving the remaing 83% running full-bore. It would be interesting to try actual anarchy for a change, just to see what would happen. ;-) )

Comment Re:Hey Apple if you want enterprise business (Score 2) 55

Offer some real management tools, don't require an Apple account to do everything on your computers, etc, etc, etc.

Or honestly, you know, just... fix the broken crap. Take all the stuff that Apple does offer for business, and fix the bugs.

Like take care of the bugs in Mail that cause it to not sync properly when mailboxes hit a certain size. Fix the bugs with Open Directory, Profile Manager, and mobile user account syncing. Speed up access to file servers, and fix the SMB problems that cause files to become locked and Finder to crash. Some of these problems have existed for years, and they're just not getting fixed.

If they can lock that down, here are some more things they can do: Start supporting server hardware again. If they don't want to make their own server hardware, just provide some licensing route to allow you to run OSX server on ESXi or HyperV on non-Apple servers. Throw some money into OSX server development. Either forget about providing email/calendar/contact/chat, or invest enough in it to make it competitive with Exchange and Google Apps. Integrate something like Munki or Casper to provide configuration management and updates for 3rd party applications.

They're want to partner with Cisco...? Fine. Partner with the Meraki division, and make co-branded Cisco/Meraki/Apple networking equipment. Create an integrated cloud management platform that manages routers, wireless access points, switches, servers, NAS devices, virtual machines, MDM, and really the whole network to be controlled from an single-pane-of-glass. Have Apple assist in the hardware and UI design, and integrate it with the now-fixed Profile Manager, Open Directory, and Munki functionality that's been added to OSX server. Then have it support Windows, too.

But of course, they're not going to do any of that. They won't do anything as mundane as fixing the bugs in the SMB support, and they won't do anything as ambitious as trying to make Mac OSX Server competitive with Windows or pushing cloud management forward. Instead, they're going to continue making incremental upgrades to their consumer-centric features while striking buzzword-friendly deals with Cisco and IBM to provide the illusion that they care about the Enterprise.

Comment Re:Actually, the common saying... (Score 0) 278

Actually it is what drove me to linux. Due to a sound bug I never managed to properly shut down Win95, it would bluescreen on exit when playing the default exit sound. I only found that out in hindsight long after I had given up on it and moved on to better things.
Start me up ... it makes a grown man cry.
There was a long list of other things that rendered it a disappointment compared with OS/2, Macs, linux and even Ataris and Amigas FFS. I powered up an old laptop at work with Win95 on it last year and that reminded me of what a pile of shit it was - and ugly too.

Comment Seabirds and landfills (Score 1, Insightful) 84

The birds that figure out NOT to eat plastic (or how to get their body to deal with plastic after it's consumed) will survive to breed ...


There are clouds of seagulls constantly hanging out at the landfills in the San Francisco Bay Area, picking food out of the trash as it's dumped. Lots of plastic in the same load (even now that the plastic grocery bags are banned.) Why haven't THEY gone extinct yet?

Do the "environmentalists" think these gulls are better at distinguishing, or surviving ingestion of, plastic than the ones at sea? Or do we have to put roofs over our landfills to protect these endangered avian pests?

Somehow I'm not convinced this is a real problem.

Comment Re:This is why (Score 1) 196

I'm with Trump on this one.

When the government, or any other gang of crooks, steals your resources, and you get the opportunity to take some of them back, letting them keep it (and potentially use it to harm others), rather than taking the "tainted money", isn't "principled", it's "stupid".

I'm following the law as written. If you want to help me change the laws so:
  - I don't get the Social Security and
  - I don't get Medicare, but
  - I also don't have to pay income tax when I earn money in the free market or liquidate my 401(k)s (money earned honestly that hasn't been taxed yet) and
  - can buy medical care and insurance, for myself and my family, on an open market, from providers that aren't forced to give free care to all comers and gouge people like me to cover it.
I'd be ECSTATIC to work with you.

But if you just want to eliminate the first pair without enabling the second, you're just trying to loot me further and can take a hike.

Comment Re:Ironic (Score 1) 210

There's actually an update to the Gizmodo article since I'd last read it. I'm reading the new article now.

Its quite interesting.

You're looking at a single metric or two (inbox opened, messages replied to) and trying to extrapolate additional information that is simply not there.

You are right. I conflated "replied to" with "sent". That changes things significantly. But the debate is somewhat mooted by the new article.


Comment on the upside... (Score 3, Insightful) 84

Most birds have trouble passing large bits of plastic, and they build up in the stomach, sometimes taking up so much room that the birds canâ(TM)t consume enough food to stay healthy.

We can start harvesting bird carcasses for plastic, taking it out of the environment, and acting as a source of plastic. Win-win. /sarcasm (that shouldn't be needed here... but...)

System going down at 1:45 this afternoon for disk crashing.