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Comment Re:Actually... (Score 4, Informative) 175

I agree with you. I think this problem is certainly bad in IT, but even worse in drug policy. It seems that drugs are really, really scary things to most people and prohibitionists seem to love statistics and damn lies. Some great examples: the crack epidemic, cocaine deaths, and meth babies. Some sources: http://reason.com/archives/2009/05/28/birth-of-a-cocaine-factoid http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/27/health/27coca.html?_r=1 http://www.jointogether.org/news/yourturn/commentary/2005/meth-science-not-stigma-open.html

Lies, Damned Lies and Cat Statistics 175

spopepro writes "While un-captioned cats might be of limited interest to the /. community, I found this column on how a fabricated statistic takes on a life of its own interesting. Starting with the Humane Society of the United States' (HSUS) claim that the unsterilized offspring of a cat will '...result in 420,000 cats in 5 years,' the author looks at other erroneous numbers, where they came from and why they won't go away."

Comment Re:Last byte? (Score 1) 514

Let's suppose firms and consumers respond to incentives. Also suppose firms wish to maximize their own profits, while consumers wish to maximize their own utility. If AT&T effectively increases their price for data plans, then what do you think competitors will do? Certainly all the firms do better when all firms in a market charge higher prices for inferior service, as you suggested. But any firm that defects and doesn't have their customers as much over a barrel as AT&T stands to make hearty profits, as consumers will start to switch providers. Since it seems all of /. is convinced AT&T is just using this as a move to extract inordinate amounts of profits and drop the least profitable consumers, then smaller firms like Sprint and T-Mobile must be very happy this is happening. They get to charge the same prices and take on customers that just pick up excess capacity they have being wasted.

Comment *Takes stolen car to dealership for a repair* (Score 3, Interesting) 291

Everyone can blab on about herd immunity etc but this seems like denying a stolen car a repair under warranty. Systems are going to be used for attacks, it might as well be the pirates systems and not mine. Security these days is more about running faster than your peers, not outrunning the hackers. Microsoft doing this will put paying customers closer to the front of the race. And I am not a microsoft fanboy so don't write some bs about that.

What will everyone want next? Metadata updates for your stolen music from the record companies? As much as I hate some things about companies, you have to draw a line somewhere.

Comment Re:Varies by country (Score 0) 400

I don't speak Dutch, but a quick glance at http://dell.nl/ shows that they do not seem to offer Ubuntu (or any OS other than Windows XP) pre-installed on their netbooks. I should have qualified "all" and said "all Dell netbooks sold in the US and Canada." I think this oversight is forgivable, as the focus of Slashdot has always been geared toward English-speaking residents of the United States. (See http://slashdot.org/faq/editorial.shtml#ed850) Furthermore, the person to whom I replied had nothing on his user page indicating that he would likely be in the market for a netbook sold by a division of a company that was not selling to North American English speakers.

Comment Re:First of all (Score 0) 400

All the reviews of the Linux netbooks I've read so far say that the distro they use is garbage. Let someone put a good distro, say Ubuntu, on a netbook and see how people like it.

Dell gives Ubuntu as an option on all their netbooks, maybe you should have read more reviews. Have a look. http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/laptop-inspiron-9?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs&~ck=mn http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/laptop-inspiron-10?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs&~ck=mn http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/laptop-inspiron-12?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs&~ck=mn


Lenovo On the Future of the Netbook 400

thefickler touts an interview in tech.blorge with Lenovo's Worldwide Competitive Analyst, Matt Kohut, who spoke about his vision of the future of netbooks, which involves Windows 7, bigger screens, built-in 3G, touch integration, and lower prices. Linux fans will be disappointed to hear that Kohut thinks Windows 7 will dominate future generations of netbooks because it offers a better, more familiar solution, with the benefits of touch. Quoting Kohut: "The other challenge has been, in order to keep the price points down, a lot of people thought that Linux would be the savior of all of these netbooks. You know, there were a lot of netbooks loaded with Linux, which saves $50 or $100 or whatever it happens to be, based on Microsoft's pricing and, again, from an industry standpoint, there were a lot of returns because people didn't know what to do with it. Linux, even if you've got a great distribution and you can argue which one is better or not, still requires a lot more hands-on than somebody who is using Windows. So, we've seen overwhelmingly people wanting to stay with Windows because it just makes more sense: you just take it out of the box and it's ready to go."

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten