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Comment Re:This is why you call your bank before tourism (Score 1) 254

Chase really has wonderful service. Card declined? Call customer service, it immediately rings to an American call center with people who have the authority to fix your problem. Five minutes later, the transaction goes through.

Indeed. They even tell you to call them collect when you're traveling outside of the country (you need to know how to do it, but it means they eat the cost of the call).

Comment Re:How it works? (Score 1) 143

Problem: "We're losing money on every student, but we make up for it with volume". Unless that $14k after-grants payment is actually enough to cover the university's costs for that student, getting more of them won't help.

Indeed. I don't see how this works unless they increase the student-to-faculty ratio. Basically add more students but don't add more resources.

Comment Re:WTF? (Score 1, Interesting) 956

What the actual fuck? He didn't create a bomb, he didn't create a hoax bomb

The issue is that the police and school don't know whether to believe him. After all, if it had been meant to be a hoax bomb and he got caught, this is exactly what you'd expect him to claim. So they have the unenviable task of figuring out whether this kid really did just bring a clock as he claims, or if he meant to use it as a hoax and got caught early. And for that matter whether they need to be concerned with copycats intent on causing a ruckus (as juveniles are so want to do).

Unfortunately he'll have learned the hard way that this wasn't a good idea. You have to take into consideration all of the dumb things other people can do, and this is at the top of the list of possibilities. His engineering teacher was smart to tell him to keep it put away. Shame that the alarm is what screwed him.

On the plus side this gives him a reputation with the students as a rebel. As a 9th grader coming into a new high school, that's not a bad reputation to start with. Especially at that age, the rebels tend to be popular with the guys and the gals. So he may yet come out ahead...

Comment Re:5K resolution (Score 1) 54

Even if it was "kind of an ugly hack", wouldn't it appear like a tidy one-cable hookup to an end user?

Yes. The issue isn't so much how it appears to the user as it is how it appears to the OS. MST displays have an unfortunate habit of having a tile drop out now and then, if only for a second. The iMac gets around this by being a closed system, but Apple would have to address this head-on with a 5K Thunderbolt 3 display. It's one thing for 3rd party monitors to do this, but it's another thing for 1st party monitors to do it.

Comment Re:5K resolution (Score 3, Informative) 54

Will the 28W parts be able to drive a 5K display when used with Alpine Ridge (Thunderbolt 3)?

Yes and no. Yes, they can. No, not in the way you want them to.

Alpine Ridge only supports DisplayPort 1.2, which does not have enough bandwidth to drive 5K (you need DP 1.3). So instead Intel has it carry 2 complete connections (8 lanes).

On paper that's enough bandwidth, but now you have to build a 5K display that uses multi-stream tiling to bond 2 interfaces. MST is kind of an ugly hack, and while Apple uses it on the 5K iMac since it's a closed system, it would be a bigger can of worms to use it on an external display given their demand for perfection.

Comment Re:Study Flawed from the Start (Score 1) 207

Agreed. Pretty much everything about this test screams that it was either done in ignorance or that it was constructed specifically to get the desired results.

From a hardware standpoint they are essentially comparing a high performance 2013 system to a very unbalanced 2014 system. The 2013 system is something of a worst case scenario: the CPU (i7-4820K) and GPU (GTX 780) are lower tier binned products that typically have lower power efficiency than their more expensive siblings (e.g. 4960X and GTX 780 Ti) since they came out of the factor with defective units and/or worse power characteristics than a prime chip. Even the RAM is a poor choice, being a 1.65v kit rather than 1.5v as is standard for DDR3. To top it off they used a 550W PSU, which for a system with that kind of power consumption is undersized. This causes it to run closer to its limits, and PSU efficiency drops off after 80% or so.

Meanwhile the 2014 system is an odd hodge-podge of parts that seems to be picked precisely to minimize power consumption under very limited circumstances. That system combines a high-performance GTX 970 (a well-regarded card for efficiency) with a low-end Pentium G3258, and then goes with an even larger 760W PSU.

The problem with this whole test is that they're clearly using a extremely GPU limited test metric, which is why performance doesn't drop despite the significant downgrade in CPUs. A GTX 970 is going to be CPU-limited in most games when paired with that processor, which is why "balance" is a concern when building such a system.

But perhaps the most baffling part is the monitor choice. They ended up using an old (circa 2008) Apple HD Cinema Display for the 2013 system, which is a 23" CCFL-backlit IPS display. Meanwhile the 2014 system switches that out for a 24" LED-backlit TN display. Even ignoring the age difference for a moment (backlighting tech makes a difference here), you generally don't see users swap between IPS and TN. Either someone favors IPS for viewing angles, color space, and color stability (while eating the power costs intrinsic to making that happen), or they favor TN for the fast response times. They're not equivalent displays beyond the fact that they're both displays.

Overall I really can't shake the feeling that this was rigged from the start for promotional purposes. The only way these tests and configurations make sense is if you built these systems to get the desired outcome, all the while focusing exclusively on GPU performance to hide the downgrade of the other components.

Comment Re:You're opening the door to your competitors... (Score 4, Informative) 294

Given the business environment they're operating in and how content licensing works, it's just as likely that someone in the industry is jerking them around.

And that's exactly the case. Netflix's streaming service started out as a last-run content distributor. They could get cheap access to lots of TV shows because the content had already been sold on DVD, sold to first-run syndication, sold to later run syndication (3am on TBS), etc. So selling that content to Netflix for cheap was the final way - the last way - to make money off of it.

However any time you're selling content on a last-run basis, you're also expecting the service provider to either rake in little in the way of income, or at least not overtake higher tier services. Instead what happened was cord cutting, with viewers no long subscribing to cable services, ordering PPV, buying DVDs, etc. This is a great deal for viewers - lots of content for cheap - but it's a poor deal for content owners. The fact that this happened indicated that they undervalued the content they sold Netflix, and that in turn was because they didn't see the value in streaming.

So whether Netflix likes it or not, they're going to be treated as a high tier syndicator due to the amount of revenue they bring in and the number of viewers. And Netflix doesn't charge enough or pay content owners enough to provide all that content that they got for cheap early-on. They either need to pay more or drop the content, so dropping the content they are. That leaves Netflix with little choice but to go the Turner/HBO model and provide original content to hook viewers, along with a mix of syndicated content to fill out their catalog.

As for content owners, they're going to turn to other content distributors who will pay more for it. Hulu, cable companies, etc until revenue sources at each tier match what providers think they can get. Remember, a lot of this stemmed from undervaluing their content in the first place by virtue of underestimating how many people would go to Netflix. They have a general idea of how much their content is worth, via revenue from the pre-Netflix days, so it's only a matter of finding the right mix of distributors to sell to in order to find the right mix of services and customers. There are people out there who will pay more, especially if you balkanize everything so that the viewer pays a larger number of smaller bills (to avoid sticker shock).

Comment Re:Statists will not go quietly into the night (Score 2) 330

Citation needed. From what I remember on Uber's own website, they claim to do background checks of drivers. That doesn't sound like opposition to me.

Sure: http://www.cnet.com/news/ubers-background-checks-dont-catch-criminals-says-houston/

Uber performs in-house background checks, but they oppose municipalities that require police background checks (which is the requirement in most areas for taxi services). There is concern that Uber's in-house checks aren't very thorough, and that they aren't looking very hard as to not have to fail so many applications, or more likely because a tougher background check is more expensive to process (fingerprints, etc). Not that even police background checks are perfect, mind you, just that they're going to catch more than Uber's in-house checks. Plus I suspect there's an element of municipalities not trusting Uber to run these checks in the first place.

And yes, taxi companies do more complete background checks, at least in more areas.

So while taxi companies check a prospective driver's fingerprint records against a database that theoretically (more on that in a minute) includes a person's complete criminal history in the United States, Uber background checks use a database that can only go back seven years for some information.

Anyhow, this is one area where Uber is inflexible. They seem generally disinterested in working with governments beyond getting their existing business plan approved, especially on anything where implementing a regulation would increase costs.

Comment Re:Statists will not go quietly into the night (Score 1) 330

Then that's something the governments need to work with Uber on fixing, instead of trying to shut them down.

That would require Uber to want to work with governments in the first place. They're opposed to regulations such as police background checks; there's not much middle ground there.

In space, no one can hear you fart.