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Comment: Re:Only cost them 25 percent of customer bills? (Score 1) 208

by tlhIngan (#47965335) Attached to: Small Restaurant Out-Maneuvers Yelp In Reviews War

Yelp is fighting back by removing hundreds of the one star reviews.

It's actually a lot harder to do this as it requires a human to actually read and understand the review.

They can't get rid of all the 1-star reviews like they can with 5-stars (because getting rid of 1-stars makes the business look better).

if they automate it by removing new 1-star reviews, they run the risk of getting rid of legitimate 1-star bad reviews that got filtered into the mess.

The only way is to have a human manually go through all the 1-star reviews and get rid of the ones that seem fake. Which is expensive ,and you can bet more restaurants will be doing it in the future so now Yelp will have to hire people to filter reviews.

Either way, Yelp loses

Comment: Re:Which is why you shouldn't be on such systems (Score 1) 182

by tlhIngan (#47964941) Attached to: NY Magistrate: Legal Papers Can Be Served Via Facebook

God forbid the courts rule you can serve someone via a Slashdot reply, if that happens I'll never be able to communicate with anyone again.

If the other party sees you posting to /. and you're not reachable by other means, it is acceptable to try.

People seem to forget that a lot of "serving" doesn't actually lead to positive receipt - given the types of cases courts handle, doing so in person is reserved for the largest of cases criminal defendants typically.

After all, if you're suing someone in small claims, you still have to serve them, but using a process server's services can be expensive.

Yes, you can contest the method of serving, if you can show that the other party didn't use reasonable efforts to serve you (but moving without a forwarding address, etc., and purposely trying to hide from the courts is generally frowned upon).

And this would be after multiple attempts too - eventually the judge got sufficiently annoyed at not being able to serve notice, couldn't issue any orders to obtain details for service and was willing to try alternate forms. Remember that final notice of serving happens as a classified ad in the newspaper. (Hell, given how classifieds are these days, Craigslist and Kijiji might be a better option).

Comment: Re:Who cares about MicroSD on a phone? (Score 1) 247

by tlhIngan (#47964587) Attached to: Why the iPhone 6 Has the Same Base Memory As the iPhone 5

Also " It adds to the cost, adds to the bulk, adds to the complexity, is one more layer of unnecessary complexity and in most cases wouldn't get used much if at all"? C'mon now. Adds to the cost? Most droids have one and practically every one is cheaper than an iphones, Adds to bulk? Seriously? unnecessary complexity? Now your just trying to make it sound like they're doing you a favour locking down your storage, but don't forget you need to keep double what you need free to do anything.

Yes, it adds to cost - a slot is a mechanical device prone to failure and users are not the most gentle of handlers for those things. It's generally why most devices limit access to the SD slot by making it damn inconvenient to get at, rather than the convenience of being able to swap them in and out as desired.

In fact, the reason for this is obvious - the complexity of managing that SD card! If you put apps on an SD card and then swap them, things get confusing, fast.

And then you need file managers to ensure that you can move stuff between cards and internal storage, and apps that generate data also have to have options to select storage. All that just adds to complexity for the user who probably wants to take a photo, and now has to deal with the reality that they picked the wrong storage media and now has to manage that problem.

A single storage device simplifies things a lot - the user just does what they do.

It also adds to bulk because you have to engineer the case around it - there are many design rules and limits to what you can do - how close the slot can be to an edge, material interference issues, etc. Even though an microSD card is barely 1mm high, the footprint around it adds at least another millimeter due to material constraints and tolerance issues. Add in rubber covers for them and it's another assembly step, more bulk as the cover needs to be recessed, etc. (and if you wonder why some phones just have piss-poor covers, it's not an easy job).

Comment: Re:Who are the proposed customers? (Score 2) 42

by tlhIngan (#47962427) Attached to: Wanxiang May Give 2012's Fisker Karma a Relaunch

Anyone who could afford a Karma and wanted electric would have already bought a Tesla S or Roadster.

And given the Karma's perchant for catching on fire if you stare at it funny, going with the Tesla is probably a better idea. At least those only catch fire in accidents and generally in ways that don't consume the entire car.

Seriously, Hurricane Sandy destroyed a fleet of brand new Karmas when they shorted out. Sure, it destroyed a LOT of brand new cars when it flooded the port (about 15,000 cars in total), but the Fiskers were most notable for being the ones that burned completely out.

No, the high voltage EV system isn't at fault. The cause was a short in the 12V system. Something ALL the destroyed cars had in common, and they couldn't get that right.

Hey, the only thing that stopped the flood of Fisker fire news was them going bankrupt. And it's obvious why this Chinese car company has to make changes. Or are we going to have Ford Pinto 2.0? Except instead of just having a bump from the back, just blinking would set them off.

Comment: Re:Google's storage (Score 1) 382

by tlhIngan (#47957659) Attached to: Why You Can't Manufacture Like Apple

There are more than two companies left, they just share the same parent owners. In the west you have Seagate and Western Digital. In the east you have Hitachi, Toshiba and Samsung. Hitachi may be owned by WD, but they still do their own R&D and models.

This helps WD avoid putting all its eggs in one basket, and also gives them access to the Japanese market. Designed/Made in Japan counts for a lot here.

And expect the departments to be consolidated. Hard drives are a commodity - there is VERY little profit to be made in drives and because the products are basically fungible, competition has driven the prices to the absolute bottom.

They are, however, also precision made mechanical devices where clearances and tolerances are tight. And they are also mass-produced which means having to account for variations in the pieces both in the mechanical design and in the software design.

To do this requires a lot of experience and it's something that's actually quite expensive to purchase because it's specialized.

It's why there are dozens of SSD manufacturers out there - compared to an SSD, a hard drive is like a car with thousands of pieces that have to work together. An SSD is quite simple - just a circuit board, flash memory, controller and ancillary parts that can be put together in any contract manufacturer. But a hard drive requires a manufacturing facility dedicated to making the stuff.

Comment: Re:Memory doesn't cost that much. (Score 1) 247

by tlhIngan (#47957567) Attached to: Why the iPhone 6 Has the Same Base Memory As the iPhone 5

You are missing the point. All of my Android phones include the ability to add a MicroSD card. I don't care how much memory is on the phone, my data (pictures etc) doesn't reside there. Apple's continued refusal to add a MicroSD slot is just more of their way of ripping off their customers.

You're absolute correct. Google is ripping off users as well with their Android phone too!.

Oh wait, Google only offers 16 and 32GB Nexus phones and tablets with NO SD SLOT. Perhaps the owner of the Android OS is also guilty of ripping people off!

Oh wait, you said Apple, not Google.

Anyhow, managing multiple SD cards is a pain - did you put the app on this one, or that one, or where is that damn music file? Oh wait, why am I getting this error, did I not insert the right SD card? It's fine if you start with a 32GB now, then upgrade to 64GB later and then move on up, but since few Android phones have more than 32GB of internal storage (WHY?!) it means you're limited to 96GB of storage without entering the whole card-swap madness. Hell, I think the SD slot is just an excuse for manufacturers because they know 99% of the time, it'll either be empty, or they'll toss in a 16GB card and it'll live in there for the rest of its life. (Which is probably why they put it so you often have to remove the battery to eject them or other such madness rather than a slot on the outside).

Comment: Re:Why is Alibaba selling IPO in USA? (Score 1) 190

by tlhIngan (#47952567) Attached to: Why a Chinese Company Is the Biggest IPO Ever In the US

It's a Chinese company located in China, and most of its business and customers are in China. So why is it doing its IPO on the US stock market?

Shouldn't NYSE/Nazdaq disallow this? SEC and FTC have no jurisdiction in China or anywhere else outside the USA. If a chinese company listed on NYSE did fraudulent accounting or whatever, SEC can't do jack shit about it.

The whole thing seems like a clever scheme by Chinese companies and Goldman Sachs to sucker money out of U.S. investors.

Well first off, it should ring major alarm bells to any investor that Alibaba isn't doing it in their native country. I mean, either the Chinese government has rules against it, or the founders are basically trying to skirt Chinese law for whatever reason. That's a major red flag without even looking at the details of the arrangement.

Sorry, I don't buy any arguments about whether or not the Chinese government allows IPOs like that - Alibaba is the largest e-commerce site in the world doing practically Chinese-only business, and you can't figure out Chinese investment law? I don't think so.

Yes, I'm willing to call it "shady" from the get go. Either that or it's a house of cards in China that's about to collapse. I'm sorry, but if you're so business savvy to basically be the #1 marketplace in the world, out-doing Amazon, eBay and other sites combined, and you're doing the IPO in the US, there's something majority shady going on, perhaps even criminal (hiding from the Chinese government? Forget to hire the standard Communist party official?).

And oh, the SEC does have some power still - they can effectively suspend trading or even force delisting. Yes, it means current shareholders get screwed, but it prevents future shareholders from being screwed more. Hell, they can still levy fines to be paid by company owners (i.e., shareholders). It's the shareholders that are taking on a lot of risk because they can't bring the executives to bear.

Comment: Re:And they wonder why I block ads... (Score 1) 223

by tlhIngan (#47952527) Attached to: Google's Doubleclick Ad Servers Exposed Millions of Computers To Malware

As a side note, who the fuck thought that "AdMob" would be a good name for an advertising site? "We're going to MOB you with ADS!"

Fuck Off, AdMob.

Well, they were advertising for mobile devices - basically the iPhone and later Android devices.

(And Apple and Google were competing to acquire AdMob, but Google eventually paid more and likely paid Apple to create iAds to get around anti-trust).

Oh yeah, don't forget that Google's ad CDN is 1e100.net.

Comment: Re:Repair (Score 3, Insightful) 53

by tlhIngan (#47946425) Attached to: Inside Shenzen's Grey-Market iPhone Mall

I don't like having to re-buy goods due to planned obsolesce. Take TVs, for example. I have a Sears TV in storage from the '80s. The manual has circuit schematics, where to get replacements for the channel buttons, how to replace switches, what pots are used where. It was made so someone with basic soldering skills could at least maintain it. A new LED TV just gets chucked and you buy a new one, even though the problem could be a membrane contact that costs a penny.

First off, your Sears TV is suffering from "Survivor Bias" - it lasted that long for you Who knows how many thousands are sitting in landfills because they're broken? So no, you can't say "things were made better in the past because my XXX works today". Geez, I could say they made computers back then better because I have a 486 that still works today (with original hard drive).

And let's not forget cost - that 486 PC cost nearly $6000 new with a 14" monitor. You can get a new PC these days for $300. Sure I can repair that 486, but that's because it cost a lot when I got it. These days that $300 PC isn't as repairable because if it costs more than $50 to fix and it's older than 2 years, it may be time to just buy a new one. (The old one's residual value would be $20 when it was working, practically speaking).

And your LED TV? Given you can get 40" TVs for practically $200, and to replace that penny contact will involve probably an hour of time with the guy charging $75/hr, well, people would just buy new. Because what if it fails again a couple of months down the road? You going to spend another $75 repairing it (total cost $150). And again?

For a lot of stuff, it just isn't worth it - diagnosing the problem and fixing it costs way too much money. Unless you do it yourself for fun (i.e., your time is free) in which case it's a great way to get good equipment for practically free.

In other words, for a good chunk of things, repair is a hobby. it's cheaper when your time is worthless.

The economy is getting shittier in general. In the past, we could afford to replace things when something small broke. I had a collegue who bought a new car every 2-3 years, once when the relay controlling the heated seat failed. These days, it is commonplace to see people nursing their old Saturns and Honda Civics to keep them on the roads. That is why headlight polishing kits are so common. In the past, vehicles got replaced before the glass or Lexan dulled (or used sealed beam headlights.)

For cars, replacing it 2-3 years usually corresponds with a lease arrangement. And cars are quite repairable - that failed relay can usually be repaired for a few hundred bucks in labor. Or a few hours if you do it yourself.

And there have always been people who nurse their aging cars - to the point where we even call them "beaters". If you're willing to put up with a lot, the modern computer-controlled car can fail in many ways and still keep going while the old mechanicals with carbs and distributors would just be dead. You should get a OBD scanner on those to see the fault code, and you'll find practically everything has failed (if the check engine light is off, it means it's burned out having been on for the past 10 years).

The other reason is economy - those 2-3 year lease/fleet returns are cheap, so you can get a fairly decent car when someone else has eaten the depreciation.

Then there's the group of real fanatics who spend $10,000 to fix their car worth $2000 tops (and less as scrap).

One reason why companies have chosen to go with products that cannot be repaired is simple -- it gets rid of the used market. In the past, if someone had a broken lawn mower, someone else could give it a carb rebuild and get it perfectly functional. A lot of goods, once broken, can't be recycled, much less salvaged for anything whatsoever, which means no real secondhand market.

This is going to backfire. Will a company make more money in the long run if they sell parts to fix their gizmos, or more gizmos in a good economy, and almost none when the economy goes bad and stays bad? For long term thinking, having repairable items brings in a long tail due to the parts sales.

For lawnmowers, you still can rebuild the carbs, and many places will sell you the parts. And the used market is just there as well, but most people don't participate because it's not worth the time and effort. I mean, if you have an old-ish PC that's 2-3 years old, you're not going to get more than $20 for it when the latest and greatest can be had for $300.

Such is the nature of technology - they don't need to get rid of spare parts because next year's new shiny is going to have different parts anyhow. (And have you checked Craigslist? Plenty of people are selling their iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S to get the iPhone 6/6+.)

With goods that are basically obsolete in a few years, having a long tail is pointless. I have a Palm handheld - I can still get parts from it, but the retailers are smaller shops that are online because they can be. The parts in it are now salvage because it is completely worthless to anyone else to stock them. And for everyone one of me, there are millions of people who moved on.

If you want to fix stuff, go right ahead. Be known as the fix-it guy in your neighbourhood and you'll find your pile of "non-economical repair" stuff will grow and you can get quite a bunch of decent 2-3 year old pieces of equipment.

Comment: Re:Nope they are clever (Score 4, Informative) 326

by tlhIngan (#47936811) Attached to: Apple Locks iPhone 6/6+ NFC To Apple Pay Only

And Google isn't? I thought Android won? Face it, they don't bother with talking to anyone, they just expect them to come to them to beg working with them because they are so fucking awesome. And if they do, they abandon them after a couple of years because Google refocuses.

The problem with Google's implementation is that Google wants to be the payment provider. This is "better" in some ways because it means more flexible funding schemes (Apple requires Visa, MasterCard or American Expess). However, it has a major downside - Google is now a major participant in your transactiona because the retailer charges Google, and Google charges your payment provider, so now Google gets the details of your transaction, which depending on the retailer can include what item you actually bought.

The other downside is it means Google has to work with every payment system out there to get them to accept Google Wallet as a valid payment mechanism.

Apple's method means it works anywhere that accepts contactless Visa, MasterCard or American Express cards. Because Apple Pay appears to the retailer as a regular credit card so retailers have to do zero effort. Google Wallet makes it so they have to sign up with new payment providers and all that to specially take Google Wallet.

Use Apple Pay and Apple doesn't know about the transaction as it's a more standard credit card transaction that's handled between banks.

As for NFC restricted to Apple Pay? That's iOS 8. It most likely means the APIs for it are far from stable and/or Apple doesn't have a good way of handling events in NFC under the current security architecture. iOS9 can easily change it.

it's just like TouchID - last year it was only for bypassing the PIN and for iTunes purchases. In iOS8 it's allowed to be used for third party authentication in apps. You can bet iOS9 will have NFC APIs for app use.

Comment: Re:Same old (Score 0) 121

by tlhIngan (#47936679) Attached to: Scientists Twist Radio Beams To Send Data At 32 Gigabits Per Second

Seems like once or twice a year, People discover phase encoding. Promises of narrow bandwidth and high transmission rate are so tempting.
And just to really get people excited, you can give the signal another "twist", and another, and another - "HEY! It looks like we can achieve infinite bandwidth!!"

Or... how people keep trying to outwit Shannon.

And they fail (after all, that theorem states the maximum achievable data rate using any kind of whimsical encoding you can dream up including ideal given a bandwidth limited channel and a SNR). We can go lower than it (and often do) but it's the theoretical maximum and it hasn't been proven wrong yet.

All that a new encoding or modulation scheme gets you is closer to the maximum.

And it's dependent on SNR - 2.5m in a basement is quite a bit different if you extend it to 5m because your signal is going to get attenuated some. (schemes like beamforming and MIMO get around it - beamforming to increase SNR, and MIMO to increase the number of channels available).

Comment: Re:Flash and Silverlight (Score 2) 61

by tlhIngan (#47936579) Attached to: Tinba Trojan Targets Major US Banks

With a Linux desktop you don't need to know more about computers than a typical Windows user yet have a safer environment.

Not really.

Most malware these days are of the "honor virus" kind - user wants to do X, and they google how to do X. Some YouTube video comes up and says you need to install packages A, B, C, then use A to do D, E, F, use B to do G, H, I, and then C will help you do X. Bingo!

What the video did NOT say was D and E require setting your password to "password" or that C is a daemon you run as root, and can kill it after. So now you have your password set as password (they didn't tell you to reset it back), and an unnecessary root-running daemon.

Linux is no safer, to be honest. Because you can easily tell a user to do "sudo rm -rf --no-preserve-root /", enter their password and then do a bunch of other stuff.

Hell, since UAC times, most malware runs in userspace, and you have full access to the user's event queue.

Comment: Re:NoScript (Score 2) 37

by tlhIngan (#47931961) Attached to: eBay Redirect Attack Puts Buyers' Credentials At Risk

It would be much easier to use NoScript if web sites stopped requiring JavaScript or at least stopped using scripts hosted on other web sites.

And stopped hosting content on their own websites on other domains.

I mean, is there a real advantage that amazon's images are hosted on amazon-images.com rather than amazon.com? Or static eBay stuff on ebaystatic.com ? (And nevermind Google's 1e100.net).

Is there some distinct advantage, or is it a case of "IT won't get us what we need, so we set up an alternate website on our own dime" ?

I mean, amazon-images.com vs. images.amazon.com, or ebaystatic.com vs. static.ebay.com ? I know domains are basically free, but still...

Comment: Re:...the best photographers were older people... (Score 3, Interesting) 97

by tlhIngan (#47931915) Attached to: How Flickr Is Courting the Next Generation of Photographers

All that experience can be accumulated hundreds of times faster in digital where you can see immediate results. Tomorrow's experts will be more expert than yesterday's experts, just as the 20th century saw huge leaps in athletic performance such as running and swimming races, weight lifting records, etc. There are also thousands of artists today that equal the top handful of masters of old times, it simply isn't acknowledge because it is subjective, and appreciation is inherently relative, in the same way people love 60's sports cars even though they are actually slow and poor-handling.

Actually, there's something to be said about the "old way". Where it took days from when you took your photo to when you got it back.

It meant you had to work at your shot - you had to compose it perfectly, get the exposure right and all the other stuff. Then click the frame.

If you were good, you didn't take extra shots "just in case". You knew that after waiting the few days for the photo to come back, it'll be good.

Today's digital camera? Just click away mindlessly until it comes out right. Trial and error. Just snap snap snap. You know the drill - after that trip you come back with 10,000 snaps, and then filter out through the whole lot to find the few that are keepers. Because the rest would be garbage.

Which approach is better? Hard to tell. Though truth be told, equipment actually doesn't matter. National Geographic photographers have intentionally gone on trips equipped with nothing more than an iPhone and still take stunning photos using nothing more than the default camera app.

Comment: Re:no wonder apple dropped 16GB machines (Score 1) 212

by tlhIngan (#47930449) Attached to: iOS 8 Review

That drive me up the wall. Why have an entry level phone? the manufacturing costs between 16 and 64 is tiny. Why support some many phone types? just make 1 64GB phone.

And I ask the in earnest. What data support the cost of different lines vs/ the cost of all of them being 64GB?

it's really all about segmentation and choice (or lack thereof).

16GB is not enough, but it's there to give you a nice price point to hook a customer in. Then you can explain to them would you want more space - 4 times as much for just $100 to go from 16 to 64.

And remember, back when it as 16/32/64, people complained about the $100 increments as being too profit-making going from 16 to 32.

At least 16/64/128 seems to offer more "value" for the $100.

And yes, consumer studies have shown that splitting the lines like this makes the middle choice far more likely - i.e., given the choice, people would chose the 64GB model - it's not a lot more money over the 16GB, but it offers a reasonably amount of space.

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