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Comment: Re:And, probaly, nothing of value was lost. (Score 0) 174

First of all, I'm old enough to remember a world without Internet, without mobile phones, even without computers (other than the occasional MSX or C64), and have been doing internet banking from the time you had to dial in and use a command line interface (probably telnet) with the bank to get things done.

Yet I still never heard of those products. Maybe they were US-only? Not worldwide?

No matter what, you totally confirm what I suspected: nothing of value was lost. Sure it may have been valuable, but such products long lost their value, being overtaken by much more powerful online solutions.

Comment: Re:Seriously? (Score 1) 203

Which still makes me question: why 39 shots when the victim (allegedly) shot only once?

They don't have to start shooting back (certainly not 39 times). Maybe shoot once or twice, and demand the suspect to drop their weapons and surrender to them. As you say, they have no special forces training. So if the suspect doesn't respond, they take cover, keep an eye on the suspect, don't allow him/her to leave, shoot back only when absolutely necessary (e.g. when the suspect opens fire they may fire back), and call in the special forces - including a negotiator who can talk the suspect into dropping their weapons and surrender.

But of course they won't do that. That's going to cost a lot more than 39 bullets: the wages of these special forces people, the training costs, the court costs afterwards (a suspect caught life you'll have to put on trial after all - a dead one you just put in a grave), and of course the extra work for all those cops to do the paperwork in preparing for the court case. No, just killing your suspect is much quicker and cheaper. With the added bonus of being able to claim another victory in the "War on Drugs" and showing how dangerous those dealers really are, and how important it is to get more money to wage that war.

Comment: Re:Seriously? (Score 1) 203

More likely: the killing of the granny was indeed an honest mistake, and then they tried to cover up their mistake by making her look like a criminal by planting drugs and the gun, in an attempt to justify their actions.

Not trying to say what those cops did is good. Mistakes happen, sadly, and they should take all precautions to prevent that from happening.

Firing 39 shots sounds totally excessive - the hit rate is also pretty bad indeed. That indeed leaves some 33 stray bullets, no telling where they ended up. Flying out through windows hitting some innocent passer-by maybe? A few years ago in Macau a motorcyclist got hurt by a police bullet, after an officer fired a warning shot in the air a couple hundred meters away.

All in all the police definitely had motivation for a cover up if indeed it was a mistake. The victim being dead and unable to testify against them definitely makes such a cover up easier.

Comment: Re:Uncompelling Market Size (Score 1) 185

by wvmarle (#47144309) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Taking a New Tack On Net Neutrality?

For a whole association it's even harder to pull off such an extortion than for a single company due to politics (not every member will be interested in doing this for various reasons) and technical issues (many will have outsourced Internet service for starters).

Besides, what's stopping those students to just use their mobile phone for Internet connection if they can't to the sites they want to? That students are a major market for certain sites, also means the students want to access the sites. Blocking a site will just tell them to find a workaround, and with mobile Internet between affordable and dirt cheap (I pay the equivalent of less than USD10 a month for unlimited data and 1200 minutes or so airtime) the fixed line connection becomes less and less essential. College asks them to get a book for their course, they'll get the book. Is it not over the fixed line, it's just done over the mobile.

Comment: Re:Wow. Classic rent-seeking behavior... (Score 1) 185

by wvmarle (#47141163) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Taking a New Tack On Net Neutrality?

But it'd still be worth contacting some local business that needs access to your 15000 customers and taking them for a test shakedown, just to show you were a good soldier and looked in the sofa cushions for loose change.

Part of the problem you face there, is that the summary mentions "college towns across America". So if you're dealing with a business to whom these 15,000 are important, you're talking about a national business, and unless it's highly specialised it'll be too big to care about you.

On the other hand, any local business is local (and "local" I read as "operating in one town or less"), which means any local business would target no more than a fraction of the 15,000: the faction that happens to live in that town.

Comment: The industry doesn't suffer (Score 1) 131

All manufacturers have to pay these costs, so they don't lose competitiveness. It just makes the handsets a bit more expensive than they would otherwise be - and as a result it's the consumer that suffers. They have to pay more for their phone.

There won't be a single manufacturer that can't compete due to these costs. They're the same for everyone. Just like the physical components, this is just a part of the bill of parts of a phone. And if a phone manufacturer doesn't pay for those patents, they can't sell their phone in a market where those patents are valid.

Comment: Re:You're Doing It Wrong (Score 4, Insightful) 108

by wvmarle (#47080199) Attached to: On MetaFilter Being Penalized By Google

Agreed.

I'm also one of those oldies, and never heard of that particular site. However I'm on Slashdot from not too long after the beginning (many years of just reading - not commenting) - my friends told me about this site over a beer in the students' club. Good old days.

To come back to Slashdot and Google: I'm using Google quite extensively to search for all kinds of topics, including tech related ones. I don't recall having ever seen a link to a Slashdot article appear in Google, not even a link to a comment (which is of course where the real interesting bits can be found), probably as Slashdot doesn't produce any new content, they just aggregate what they find elsewhere. If Metafilter is indeed also just an aggregator, good that Google skips their links and instead provides the links to the actual content instead.

Comment: Re:**tech** bubble (Score 1) 154

by wvmarle (#47062955) Attached to: Agree or Disagree: We are in another tech bubble.

It definitely helps. There is a lot of money sloshing around the market, looking for a place to go.

For more dramatic examples, look at China. There is a lot of money in that market, locked up in yuan, and capital restrictions prevent it from leaving the country (yes, there are plenty of leaks, but the restrictions are overall quite effective). This money is looking for a way out, somewhere to be put to use, somewhere to be invested and increase in value.

The banks are not it with their minimal interst rates. So there's been the Shanghai stock market bubble, with stock prices going up far above reasonable when looking at the real value and earnings of the underlying company. Real estate is going up, another market that can mop up cash. The price of pu-erh tea has exploded, thanks to speculation. Gold is yet another example where Chinese buyers started to put down their money.

The US capital market is of course more open, with more places for money to go, also abroad. But sure if you pump more money into the market, that money has to go somewhere. Some may go to improving the general economy (spent on all kinds of products and services), some will be invested.

Some may even argue this is a side effect of our long and overall peaceful run since WW2. Wars after al are destructive, and cost a lot of money to wage and for the country to rebuild afterwards, allowing excess money to be taken out of the system for good. The current US budget issues nicely highlight how expensive and destructive war really is - and that's for the area where the war itself isn't being fought - just imagine how destructive it is for the area where the bombs actually fall.

Comment: Re:Tech bubble? (Score 2) 154

by wvmarle (#47062925) Attached to: Agree or Disagree: We are in another tech bubble.

Investors do throw a lot at those companies - but mostly to cover running expenses.

The billions they use to buy up other companies come mostly by using shares, valued at a certain amount. E.g. a smallish company issues say 10,000 shares, sells 100 of them at $100 each, raising $10,000 cash. The rest of the stock, those 9,900 shares, are booked at $990,000 total.

Next thing you hear, company A buys up company B. They use 5,000 of their shares to pay for it, valued at $500,000. So they buy the company for $500,000! Or do they? Well, the ones that accept those shares now have a share in the new company - but good luck selling them for cash at $100 each...

That's what Facebook et.al. are doing. Just add a bunch of zeros to the numbers above, I kept it simple for readability. Now would our example company go bust, they may wipe out $1,000,000 in value, but investors stand to lose only $10,000. So nothing much lost, really. Makes it easy to inflate bubbles, easy to pop them, and all with little impact to the economy at large.

This of course in contrast to the recent banking crisis, where real money was lost. Lots of it.

Comment: Re:Fuck seaworld (Score 1) 194

by wvmarle (#47010171) Attached to: Orca Identified As 103 Years Old

An animal which travels over 100 miles in a day in the wild is confined to an area slightly larger than itself. Put a human in a cage with a few inches of room between skin and cage wall. See how long it lives

That's done all the time. And then they're let out an hour a day or so to walk around a slightly larger space (like the Orca's get to a bigger pool to perform tricks), and get some exercise.

This is what's called "prisons". Humans generally don't seem to like it, but they also don't live that much shorter inside a prison than outside (it's suggested that it cuts lifetime to about a quarter of natural lifetime, which for humans would mean most prisoners should be dead within 20 years behind bars).

Comment: Re:Completely Pointless (Score 1) 201

by wvmarle (#46970747) Attached to: $7 USB Stick Aims To Bring Thousands of Poor People Online

Sex is not the problem - the Africa is the fastest growing continent in the world, by far! We really don't have to provide that. On the contrary, that's something you'd want to slow down. Or at least educate the population on - where the Internet has a great role top play again. Oh, and the churches as well. The "no sex before marriage" moral isn't all that bad. Especially if combined with proper sex education and the provision of contraceptives and condoms as "second best" option.

Prof: So the American government went to IBM to come up with a data encryption standard and they came up with ... Student: EBCDIC!"

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