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Comment It's a balance. (Score 2) 725

I have, on a couple occasions, used my smartphone to price-compare when in a retail store. Both times were at local, non-chain businesses. I like to visit a small shop when possible, because usually the owner or manager is present.

On both occasions, I very politely explained "Hi, I like this item and am hoping to buy it here. I was able to use my smartphone to compare prices. Some retailers will price-match Amazon (etc), who has this for $X. I can show you if you like. Would you be willing to match that price please?"

Now, here's the thing. I get that small businesses don't get the same wholesale pricing as Amazon. I'm not really demanding an Amazon price match. If they weren't willing to budge at all (especially if it's more than a 10% difference), it's possible I would walk. But, even if they met me halfway, I would still be happy to do business with them.

I think the idea of always paying the "asking price" is a very American cultural phenomenon. In Turkey, for example, it is literally expected that a customer will haggle for at least a 10% discount. It never hurts to ask, politely!

Comment Maybe just for subpoenas? (Score 1) 445

Sometimes when the government subpoenas an ISP for data on a specific customer, they request that this be done in a way that won't let the customer know. You can imagine the nature of criminal investigations that would call for this. The Google policy discussed here may very be for dealing with those types of cases. It's not logically correct to assume that this means Google is secretly sharing all e-mail data with a government.

Comment Ban Javascript! (Score 1) 319

Ad networks should not enable their clients to include Javascript, Flash, Java, or other active content in the first place. If they have a compelling business case for doing so, all code should be "whitelist" filtered before being distributed. The ad network's reputation is on the line every time they serve an impression.

Comment Any Platform? (Score 1) 370

Would this attack style apply to any Firefox platform - Linux, Mac, Windows? As I understand it, FF plugins are mostly written in Javascript. Even on more secure platforms like Mac and Linux, each user has access to his own FF plugins directory, so if any malicious code were to be executed as him, it could presumably write this "plugin" into that user's FF settings directory.


Robots Debut In Japanese Theater Production 75

An anonymous reader writes "BBC News and CNET Cutting Edge are reporting on a new play starring at Osaka University, in which two Mitsubishi Wakamaru robots interact with human actors and move around the stage. Named 'Hataraku Watashi' ('I, Worker'), the play is authored by Oriza Hirata, a renowned playwright. It focuses on a robot who complains about his boring and demeaning jobs."

(Useful) Stupid Unix Tricks? 2362

So the other day I messaged another admin from the console using the regular old 'write' command (as I've been doing for over 10 years). To my surprise he didn't know how to respond back to me (he had to call me on the phone) and had never even known you could do that. That got me thinking that there's probably lots of things like that, and likely things I've never heard of. What sorts of things do you take for granted as a natural part of Unix that other people are surprised at?


Submission + - Blender 2.43 released - with Google SOC tools

LetterRip writes: "Blender 2.43 the free 3d animation suite has been released. There are a number of amazing new features including sculpting (which was supported by Googles Summer of Code) — you can now sculpt huge poly counts (6.5 million!) on Linux; fast 3D texture painting and numerous animation tool improvements."
User Journal

Journal Journal: Plagiarized by Newspaper - What Should I Ask For? 6

I recently discovered that The New York Daily News sports columnist, the Mighty Quinn, used one of my online humor columns from 1996 ("Dating Don'ts") as his February 13th, 2007 column, crediting it to some bartender in New Jersey. I didn't register it way back when, so six-figure statutory damages are out, but I can prov

Life is a healthy respect for mother nature laced with greed.