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Comment Re:Regular vs Premium (Score 1) 123

Knocking *is* directly related to octane levels, so it's no surprise to find observable correlations there. Also, knocking is not a subtle problem liable to selection bias.

The question is whether *higher* octane gas than required for an engine (engines can be tuned for high octane gas) improves performance. And the gas manufacturers themselves don't claim that. (In their ads, the benefits are all quite nebulous: "better for your engine")

But it's a pretty widespread belief that high octane gasoline has "subtle" improvements (my in-laws swear they get substantially better mileage, including for the month that I was buying regular gas for their car :-)) or better acceleration, etc.. As I said, the gasoline manufacturers don't make that or other measurable claims.

Yet, because of the general association, it's almost impossible *not* to notice the car performance being better when we think there's "better" fuel in the tank, which is what I was trying to point out.

Comment Re:Regular vs Premium (Score 3, Insightful) 123

Honestly, unless your almost inhuman in disregarding your brain, you'll need to have someone fill up your car without telling you the octane, and then record your observations.

We humans are correlation engines, and it would almost be proof of brain abnormality to not find a correlation, regardless of whether it's there or not.

Comment Surrendered three letter .COM domain (Score 1) 377

Got this domain "" in the *very* early days of the Internet (pre-web). Decided that since we were a Canadian company, I we should have a Canadian domain, and surrendered it and got (we weren't allowed to have, since all our offices were in Ontario...)

A three letter .com address would probably have been the most valuable asset of the company :-).

Comment Re:Counting pages (Score 1) 172

It'd be too easy for authors to set up an alternative Kindle store, for one thing.

Sure, and your customers can just walk across the street to that other store if you don't want to sell at Walmart.

Except they don't.

The trouble is not the ease of use. Most authors I know offer their goods at half a dozen e-stores. And for all the money that Apple, et al have poured into their bookstores, the customers aren't interested in anything but Amazon. In fact, Amazon is often used by the book stores as a whole to figure out what's being published.

For the *vast* majority of e-book readers, Amazon pretty much defines the book industry. And unfortunately I don't see that changing any time soon. (And if B&N collapses, I see its dominance extending from e-books to books as a whole.)

Comment Re:Counting pages (Score 1) 172

Simply don't make your books available through those programs

How long is that going to remain an option? There are very few companies that dominate a market that have any compunction about ordering their suppliers to jump through whatever hoops they feel are required to further their interests.

Given Amazon's status in the e-book world, how many non-best-selling authors will choose to kill 95% of their sales in order to stay out of the Library program is Amazon chose to make it mandatory if you wanted to self-publish on Kindle.

Personally, I'm waiting for listing and advertising fees. My guess is that Amazon can make a *lot* more money from would-be authors than they can make from purchasers of self-publishing books.

Comment Re:Desktops vs Mobile (Score 1) 250

I prefer C# to Java and have written a few hundred KLOC of both, but quite frankly, unless you have a horrible allergy to boilerplate, or are using cutting edge features, the two *are* similar enough not to warrant moving from one's comfort zone.

99.5% of the code I encounter doesn't use above Java 1.4 or .Net 2.0, so all the nifty language features are pretty much theoretical sizzle on roughly the same steak. And even so, the nifty features often have negative value because they while save the programmer 2-3% of his or her time, the maintainers often end up breaking things because they're not all that familiar with the new hotness in language features.

I do worry that the number of people who can competently handle closures and functional programming is small enough that we're in danger of not being able maintain the whiz-bang code we've written.

Comment *Netflix* is the one doing the stealing... (Score 1) 408

For all intents and purposes, Netflix is selling content that they don't have the rights to. They financially benefit in the form of subscriptions, and yet they're not paying for the right to distribute to customers who are consuming the content.

Now, the VPN muddies the legality issue a bit, but it's pretty clear that Netflix's policies are (1) for the present hurting rights purchasers who thought they were buying exclusive rights and (2) in the future will hurt content producers when their foreign rights sell for vastly less than they used to.

It's the sellers to Netflix who should be pressuring Netflix to change their policies or withdrawing their content from Netflix on the basis of devaluing their property.

One other point, the idea that Bell has a financial stake should devalue their opinion seems odd. Bell's obviously taking a financial hit on this, but they paid for rights that have been undermined by Netflix's fairly dubious attitude. However, I'd also expect that the person who's regularly being robbed to be the one shouting most about neighbourhood crime, *because* he has a financial interest in it.

It seems common sense.

Comment Re:Translation (Score 1) 119

It's about sharing the spoils

You are talking about more equitable distribution when you *do* sweat, something I have quite some sympathy for. That is completely different from your original post.

(As an aside, perhaps because I would never risk my time or my money for a sliver-thin chance of success, I have very little difficulty with those entrepreneurs who do make it big being heavily rewarded for their risk.)

Comment Re:Translation (Score 2) 119

I don't know any Google executives in person, but I have to say that all the executives I have met, including the ones who managed in ways I *dramatically* disagreed with, worked very hard indeed.

I am also well aware that not everyone who works hard obtains a corresponding reward. There are many who work harder than I ever will for far more meager returns simply because they never had the educational opportunities that I was blessed with or faced racial/cultural/language challenges that I never will (which is why I *am* a Leftie :-)).

But without exception, all of the successful people I've met over my 50-odd years have worked hard for their success.

Comment Re:Translation (Score 4, Insightful) 119

Basically. It's all about finding the suckers willing to sweat the most for the masters above them.

I'm certain you back up your sentiment by living "off the economic grid", but my, it's amazing how many others followed this sentiment with "and I should still be able to get all the neat stuff that everyone else sweats for..."

Comment Re:Microtransactions (Score 1) 618

Tyr07, what I was making fun of was the assumption that your ISP *is* the Internet, or in fact has any relation whatsoever to the web sites you choose to patronize.

The idea that paying Comcast should mean that the rest of the Internet world should be willing to work for free on your behalf so boggled me that I had to make fun of it. It has a sort of solipsistic quality that you don't find in most people over 16. "How could hundreds of thousands of individual parties who have no relation to each other NOT coordinate everything to provide a seamless experience for me!"

Most public domain software is free, at least at first glance.