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Comment: Re:Not France vs US (Score 1) 241

simply shrinking the market doesn't radically change things,

The market doesn't shrink. The market is the number of exchanged goods. The market doesn't care if there are 200 merchants or 250 merchants. What changes is the distribution of goods and merchants, and when the number of merchants is very low and their concentration of market power high, we get into situations (oligopoly, monopoly) that we do not want because we know they are bad.

If you want a book that isn't in the bestsellers list, then in your local town there's probably only one or two book shops that stock it at best and most likely none.

For the past 20 years, when I go to a bookstore and I want a book they don't have, they could almost always order it and have it for me the next day.

while it'd be nice to have geographically distributed demand for labour, in practice this has not been true since the invention of cities.

I'm not talking about a perfect equilibrium. I'm talking about the simple fact that if your country has one region with 50% unemployment rates and one region where employers can't find workers, your whole country will destabilze.

Of course there will always be differences. But if they get too extreme, the consequences are much higher and much more expensive then the costs of some small interventions.

What's more once you decide that lots of people deserve to be protected from changing times,

I never said anything like that and my arguments are completely unrelated to technical or other progress. So please burn the strawman somewhere else.

Comment: Re:Not France vs US (Score 1) 241

small local bookshops are inherently worth protecting. Why is that?

Because you need many, many competitors in a market for it to actually be a market. The amount of large corporations any market can support is limited and fairly low, general business wisdom has it that it is around 3-5 with the first 3 being profitable and two or so more being able to just barely make it.

If you want many participants in a market, most of them will be small. That is why small shops are worthy of protection.

You also want to have employment in your country be fairly even, and not have some areas with high demand and low supply and some with low demand and many unemployed, which is why local shops are worthy of protection.

Really, you just need to use your brain a little more and it's all very simple.

Perhaps the space the bookshops used up can be replaced by coffee shops

Maybe, but this is not at all about bookshops being replaced by something else, it's about small competitors being driven out by large competitors, so put the strawman away again.

Comment: Re:Not France vs US (Score 1) 241

Protectionism is protectionism,

And sometimes it is needed. The whole "free market über alles" philosophy makes assumptions that are not true in the real world, such as perfect transparency. To come even close to working as it should, the free market needs to be guided. Among other things, protecting small competitors guarantees that it remains a free market and doesn't turn into an oligopol or a monopol.

Comment: Re:Things are simple... (Score 1) 241

The ones that actually provide value to the customer will stay due to people actually visiting them.

Unfortunately, they will not. Too many people will use the cozy atmosphere and the good service to make their selection, and then order it online because it costs a dollar less.

Yes, poor buggy whip makers will be out of jobs in the short term, but we can't all be riding carriages into the future...

Except that Amazon has not invented the car. The buggy whip makers are not going to be out of jobs, they are going to be replaced by minimum-wage buggy whip warehouse slaves.

Comment: Re:@CauseBy - Re:Yes (Score 1) 340

by Tom (#47441227) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?

* Displace smart phones/dedicated GPSes used for turn-by-turn directions (visual and audio) while driving. It's going to be great for motorcycle users. I'm not sure yet whether it will be legal for this use.
* It will make the policeman's job more difficult by allowing drivers to check their emails/texts while driving without it being obvious to an observer.

Having the stuff on your wrist in a way that may often require you to turn your hand is quite probably no less dangerous than having a phone in your hand.

* Provide quick updates to stock/commodity traders who are on the go or not near a desktop/laptop.

They're already being replaced by fully-automated trading systems, in a few years we'll wonder why humans ever even did the job in the first place.

* Allow joggers to skip songs without carrying their smartphones in their hands.

Earphone pieces already allow for this. Those from Apple, for example, let you stop, start, skip forward and backward. And it only requires one arm to do it, not both, which is more important in running than having a cute gadget.

Comment: smart vs. what marketing says (Score 1) 340

by Tom (#47441163) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?

If it is actually "smart" in any appreciable sense, I'm interested.

Right now, I see nothing on the market that even approaches anything that would justify using that term. The best that these watches have to offer at this moment is that they're about 3 seconds faster to look at than the smartphone in your pocket. Maybe if you're a lady and keep your smartphone dug in deep in your bag of holding and it takes you a minute of searching to find it that's interesting, but for most people I don't see any actual practical value (not that that would stop a million or so customers from buying it simply because it's new and flashy and advertisement budgets have convinced them it's the second coming).

I can't say what a watch would need to be interesting. If I could, I wouldn't post it here, I would sell it very expensively to Apple. So I'm looking for what everyone announces, maybe someone is smarter than me and I'll say "I didn't think of that, it's really cool". But so far, that hasn't happened.

Comment: And done elsewhere (Score 1) 221

by Sycraft-fu (#47440405) Attached to: Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water

In Tucson 10%ish of the drinking water comes from reclaimed water (aka filtered sewage). Makes sense in an area with not a lot of fresh water resources. Also in those areas you can have different kinds. You can purchase a non-potable (not for consumption) water source for irrigation. Again, reclaimed water, but it undergoes less filtering and thus is cheaper. Plenty of larger places get a hookup to keep their watering costs down.

It is a very sensible way of doing things and you actually have more control of purity than water that comes out of the ground.

Comment: and... (Score 4, Insightful) 152

by Tom (#47435245) Attached to: "Internet's Own Boy" Briefly Knocked Off YouTube With Bogus DMCA Claim

as activists are all too aware, false copyright claims can can knock legitimate content offline.

As not only activists but almost everyone aware of the rampant abuse going on has been claiming for years, it is high time that the "under penalty of perjury" part of the DMCA claims is actually enforced. Mistakes can happen, nobody is perfect, but some companies have been taking down large amounts of content for years, repeatedly and with not even a slap on the wrist.

Comment: That and DACs aren't the issue anyhow (Score 2) 486

It is easy to make good DACs these days. Basically any DAC, barring a messed up implementation, is likely to sound sonically transparent to any other in a normal system. When you look at the other limiting factors (amp, noise in the room, speaker response, room reflections, etc) you find that their noise and distortion are just way below audibility. Ya, maybe if you have a really nice setup with a quiet treated room, good amps, and have it set for reference (105dB peak) levels you start to need something better than normal, but that isn't very common. Even then you usually don't have to go that high up the chain to get something where again the DAC is way better than other components.

Now that said, there can be a reason to get a soundcard given certain uses. For example you don't always want to go to an external unit, maybe you use headphones. In that case, having a good headphone amp matters and onboard sound is often remiss in that respect (then again, so are some soundcards). Also even if you do use an external setup, you might wish to have the soundcard do processing of some kind. Not so useful these days, but some games like to have hardware accelerated OpenAL.

Regardless, not a big deal in most cases. Certainly not the first thing to spend money on. If you have $50 speakers, don't go and buy a $100 soundcard. If you have a $5000 setup, ok maybe a soundcard could be useful, but only in certain circumstances.

As a side note, the noise in a PC isn't a big issue. Properly grounding/shielding the card deals with it. A simple example is the professional LynxTWO, which is all internal yet has top notch specs, even by today's standards. http://audio.rightmark.org/tes...

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