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Comment Re:33%, is that right? (Score 1) 117

I rarely return anything, pretty much only if it arrives broken. It seems shocking to me that a full third of all purchases get returned online. Even that 9% for in-store seems crazy high. Are there people who just buy stuff and return it all day long?

Surprises me too. For most online purchases, returning is such a PIA, that I try very hard to avoid returning anything. I've kept worthless junk because it wasn't worth my time to return it. And that doesn't even account for the monetary costs. Most of the time you end up paying for return shipping, which is usually more expensive than what the retailer spent to ship it to you. It is especially severe for purchases from overseas vendors.
The vendor ships via some sweet bulk deal. Your return goes bog standard post at 3-4x. It might have been a good deal if it worked out but it is an expensive mistake if you have to return.

Comment Why does a book need a Kickstarter campaign? (Score 1) 42

Especially one where "the writing is done and most of the editing". Are conventional publishers not interested? Or is this just a means of coaxing a better deal out of publishers?

I understand crowd funding for projects to expensive to self fund yet too small for conventional venture capital. But conventional book publishing seems to have this covered. Writers write. Publishers publish and sometimes providers editors and advance payment to writers. Is there reason to believe this book would not be published were it not for the kickstarter campaign?

Submission + - First Extrasolar Object Observed Racing Through Our Solar System (space.com) 1

Enigma2175 writes: For the first time, scientists have observed an object they believe came from outside our solar system. The object is in a hyperbolic orbit that will send it back into interstellar space. From Space.com:

The object, known as A/2017 U1, was detected last week by researchers using the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii. "It's long been theorized that such objects exist — asteroids or comets moving around between the stars and occasionally passing through our solar system — but this is the first such detection," Chodas added. "So far, everything indicates this is likely an interstellar object, but more data would help to confirm it."


Comment Re:Easy (Score 1) 182

>"What does a traditional Android phone do that an Android tablet doesn't?

Let's see how:

1) It is not as light as a phone.

2) It is not as thin as a phone.

3) It typically (but not always) costs more than a phone.

4) It isn't typically available as small, like 5", which means even further weight savings, thinness, battery life, and portability.

And when the idea is portability, those matter a lot. Some of us want a phone because tablets are redundant.

For many of us, even 5" is too big for a device that needs to be carried at all times. But it is too small for many of things that tablets are good at. That is why tablets are not redundant.

Comment Re:not so bad (Score 1) 105

In the past, you would have had to pick your own straw to make that strawman.

In the 1970s people used to move for jobs all the time. Why do you think people cannot do it today? You don't want to ship your 60" luxury TV? Too afraid to buy a $200 bus ticket to cross the country for a new job?

It IS so much easier to just bitch and moan on the internet, after all...

In the 1970's people were moved by their employers for growth opportunities. Now if the company is paying the moving bill, it is a lateral move to a location is that is cheaper for the employer but is not necessarily desirable for the employee. The sort of job changes referenced in the article are between companies. The old company lays you off. The new company would rather not pay to interview or move someone from out of the area. Self-moving to a new area in hopes of finding a job there is a risky and expensive idea that few people are willing to try.

Comment Re:States rights? (Score 1) 101

How much can states override the FCC's proclamations?

It's funny how lefties have suddenly rediscovered the allure of federalism now that they're temporarily out of power. I'm sure it will go back in the dustbin after the next election cycle or two.

Don't be so sure. Marijuana legalization is a long-running left-wing states-rights effort.

(Not that it matters for the FCC. Internet access is firmly interstate and thus federal.)

Comment Re:Wait a moment (Score 1) 117

For most of the history of television, Americans believed a Russian named Zworykin invented television. RCA poured a lot of money into convincing people of that, while simultaneously using their monopoly power to relegate Farnsworth to obscurity. They were very successful at that.

Would guess this campaign took place in the 50's and did not stick. I wasn't born until the late 60's. Growing up, I never heard of Zworkin or Farnsworth. The story I heard was there was no single inventor, perhaps to avoid giving credit to the Nazi's who demonstrated television at the 1936 Summer Olympics.

Comment Bad but not as bad is a Haiyan (Score 1) 318

Basically a really large EF4 tornado, however these speeds are only found in the eyewall so it's not as bad as it sounds. The problem is a lot of these islands are mostly third world shitholes with shoddily built buildings that are going to get blown into kindling. This could wind up being the single most deadly disaster directly attributable to AGW that we have seen yet.

I dunno. Super Typhoon Haiyan killed 6300 in the Philippines alone and had sustained winds of 195mph. That's a pretty hard act to follow.

Comment Re:other inevitabilities they can consider. (Score 1) 177

when people were excited to get a Solaris SPARC workstation.

They weren't excited because it was a SPARC workstation. They were excited because it was a Solaris workstation. For much of the 1990s, and even into the early 2000s, Solaris provided perhaps the best workstation OS experience around. It had the best desktop environments, it had the best userland software, it had excellent development tools, it had a lot of advanced functionality, and compared to its contemporaries it was very pleasant to use. Although Solaris workstations weren't exactly cheap, they were relatively affordable to serious users.

Yes, part of Solaris' appeal was due to its tight integration with the hardware, but the hardware itself was largely irrelevant to most users. It was the Solaris experience that they wanted and desired.

NeXT systems running NeXTSTEP were a real competitor to Solaris and SPARC workstations, but NeXT systems were prohibitively expensive for even many deep-pocketed business users

As I recall, Next machines were actually cheaper than contemporary Sparc Stations but Next was targeting users who were mostly unwilling to pay so much. With rare and mostly weird exceptions* Sparcstations were not used by nor priced for rank and file paper pushers. These were engineering workstations. They were use for tasks beyond the reach of contemporary PC's. In the beginning this was about raw computational power and 32-bit addressing when PC's were 16-bit. In the mid to late 90's, it was 64-bit addressing. PC's were catching up in raw power but they were still 32-bit. Unix wasn't given much thought. All engineering workstations ran some form of Unix. Sparc machines were never fully on top in either hardware or OS. Alphas were faster. IRIX had a better gui. Neither was a well supported by third parties. Then, as now, if too you need is only available for vendor A's systems, you buy vendor A's systems. It doesn't matter that vendor B's machines are faster or vendor C's machine have a nicer OS.

The big change was 64-bit PC's. x86's machines had already passed Sparc in performance in the push to 1 Ghz. But the lack of 64-bit addressing meant that couldn't be used for the big jobs that really needed the performance. Once that obstacle was removed, there was a huge push to move everything to PC's. Software vendors followed because their customers demanded it.

*In the mid-90's, Charles Schwab tried to replace all PC's with relatively cheap Sparc Classics. It was an attempt to reign in risky behavior by their employees by giving them computers that were not only locked down but physically incapable of running software they may have brought from home. It whole operation failed miserably.

Comment Lower costs allow more dramatic pivots (Score 1) 131

While pivoting is not really new, it now happens more often (sometimes multiple times for the same company) and it no longer unusual for a pivot to have little at all to do with the original idea.

If it costs years and tens of millions of dollars to reach product, you don't generally see dramatic pivots. But when you can reach product in months with handful of employees and no capital equipment, the team becomes the most valuable asset. Preserve that in you pivot and you really haven't lost much. That's a far cry from specialized machinery, purpose built buildings, and years of non-transferable research. In the later case, you are likely to see product refinement in pursuit of a somewhat different market but not a full scale pivot where you throw almost everything out and start over.

Comment Re:Data mining not needed (Score 1) 175

My favorite restaurants already know all about me, because they are my favorites and I frequent them to a degree that I am known by the owners and staff. They already know what I like because they talk to me and because I tell them, not because of a bunch of numbers being crunched.

They don't need data mining for people who go to same restaurants all the time and order the same dishes. They need it for people like me who go mix up different restaurants and different dishes as a matter of course. There is predictability in there but you need to crunch a significant amount of data over a long period to find it.

Comment Re:On to problem #2 (Score 1) 248

But what are they going to do about stupid people who think organic food is better and gluten is going to kill them?

Why would you need to do anything about them? As a retailer, their job is to exploit customer irrationality for profit.

Aside: the anti-gluten crusade actually has utility for anyone who needs to avoid wheat products. Wheat, especially wheat bran, gives me digestive difficulty. While I'm pretty sure the issue is not gluten, "gluten-free" is a good proxy for "does not contain wheat"

Alas, much "gluten-free" food contains copious amounts of dairy products, which is another food type I have trouble with.

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