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Comment Re:Yeah.... (Score 2) 237

You're gonna have to clue me in on the joke... I mean, if the cost of settling for those 5,000 Does is $2,000 each, then that's $10M to split between the producers and lawyers. Hurt Locker has racked up about $48M in worldwide box office so far (against a production cost of $15M). How is $10M "almost as much money" as $48M? (Not to mention the $28M from DVD and BD sales.)

And, let's see....9 Oscar nominations with 6 wins, including Best Picture and Best Director; about 100 awards from groups that like to hand out prizes; 97% on Rotten Tomatoes; the praise of two Iraq veterans with whom I watched it...yeah, it's a crappy film. Are you forgetting that it's lowest-box-office-ever-for-Best-Picture status in large part stems from its extreme shortage of prints?

And just because it's slashdot....what's up with putting "stealing" in quotes? Are you saying that if I'm offering my car for sale and someone drives it away without paying, that my car hasn't been stolen? And that the fault for that is mine, by virtue of it not being a very good car? Oh wait, I get it -- Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal should be selling T-shirts at every venue, since making money from your actual art is so passé...

Comment Re:greedy airlines ? (Score 1) 673

The BA passengers stuck in Mumbai until May 6 -- even though holding paid-for return tickets -- who get to watch those able to cough up £2000 fly out today might argue that "greedy" pretty much fits the bill. (Small lie there: since you can't enter the airport without a boarding pass or a bribe, it might be hard to spot departing flights ;-)

Comment Re:Do we really want the government controlling it (Score 1) 790

What "free market" would that be? The one that magically creates more height on telephone and power poles for stringing cables in dense housing areas? Or the one that forces a regime change at Comcast by magically convincing 80% of its customers to cancel service out of respect for the 5% whose activities are curtailed/restrained by non-neutral policies? It's gotta be strong magic, since it will also need to prevent new/replacement operators to not pull the same shit as their predecessors....

Well, have at it and good luck. At the same time, would you please also wave the wand to de-regulate terrestrial radio waves? I really miss the days when a religious nut or quack doctor could fire up their incredibly dirty 500,000 watt AM signal and drown out every other voice for hundreds of miles. Get rid of the Bureau of Mines, too -- heck, anyone rich enough to dig a really big hole must know what they're doing, right? And don't get me started on the financial regulators...enforceable accounting standards just stifle innovation!

Comment Re:why? (Score 1) 224

Rolling a truck for short-term jobs like one-day service for a home inspection, or cutting service to a non-pay, or de-socketing/re-socketing a meter for service repair work is very inefficient. Hard to imagine any exec who wouldn't want to cut the expense for gas, vehicle, work hours, and risk. (It's one thing to say, "cheaply disconnecting people who arent' paying their bills...is...inherently risky objectives." Now go deal with those folks -- by definition you're losing money on them, and the field reps can be faced with threats, vandalism, bricks, knives, guns.... Be a good time to reassess "risk" ;-)

Comment Re:I'm standing with Google on this one... (Score 1) 533

Largely agree with what you're saying, but OTOH there's nothing unusual about this, history-wise. Like, late Brit colonies/early USA was viewed similarly by the "established players" of Britain, France, Spain, etc. -- cheapie stuff, undercut prices/wages, exporting seditious ideas, employing privateers, etc. When nations become "startups" things tend to get messy.

In one sense, China's been a great global citizen: no invasion of USSR/Russia ;-) (How tempting it must be to look north at all that lebensraum, knowing that nothing short of nukes can really stop your army....) Or the One Child program; nasty business for Chinese citizens, but the reduced population is a relief to those outside its borders. By being so insular in the past they've yet to produce a Bhopal. A millenia-spanning source of tensions/war in south Asia, yet also a powerful stablizing force. Etc.

Is it a different world these days? Is there sufficient lack of worldwide resources, arable land, political patience, clean air and water, and general margin-of-error for China to get away with these -- til now -- normal growth pangs? And if so, how to put China's feet to the fire...is the world prepared to boycott its manufacturing WalMart?

Comment Re:First I wondered, how this could land in my spa (Score 1) 410

OTOH, here's a submission linking to BoingBoing and mentioning CD by name, and yet no /.er has elected to remind/espouse/reveal what a turd/sham/poseur Doctorow is (as of 2100EST); I can't recall another example of this. (It's kind of exciting....like the morning in 2002 when the /. front page ran for 4 hours without a single spelling error or obvious grammatical error -- I always knew such a thing was possible, but to actually see it happen, wow.)

Comment Re:Tracking your TV watching is good (Score 1) 521

Not sure that anyone's mentioned being afraid of TV tracking (after all, the data's been randomized! ;-), but concern/caution seems appropriate. For instance, reality shows and similar LCD programming: first off, your TiVo stats (and have a thousand friends join you) will do little to dent network affections for such genres -- they're cheaper to produce than so-called "scripted" shows, so Survivor is always going to have a leg up in the excutive suites.

Where your viewing data will have an effect, however, is in determining which shows attract viewers that stay on the couch to watch the ads. Slashdot ran another story on TiVo data collection way back in '03; the linked BW article mentions one impact of this more-granular data -- it's possible to separate total viewership (aka old-style Nielson numbers of rating and share) from "advert stickiness", the number of viewers who watch the ads. Way back in '03 this was exemplified by comparing The Practice (lawerly drama, pre-Shatner bogosity) to The Weakest Link (cheesy semi-schadenfreude game show): Practice had an 8.9% TiVo rating, but those viewers watched only 30% of the ads. OTOH, Link had only a 0.9% rating, but its viewers stuck around for 78% of the ads. These stats open up a whole new field for the network quants: how to make a show good enough to draw an above-threshold rating/share, but crappy enough to draw the kinds of folks with nothing better to do than sit through the ads.

Now add in Google's Nov. 2009 deal to buy viewer stats from TiVo for use by Google TV Ads, and set your phasers to Irony....will producers begin formulating AVO (advertisement-viewing optimization) strategies similar to SEO shenanigans on the web?

Comment Re:How about changing it to "XSucksALittleLess" (Score 1) 356

Why one guy couldn't touch wires inside AND outside my house is anyone's guess.

For the same reason the guy in the body shop doesn't diagnose fuel injectors, and the mechanic doesn't bang out fenders. The tech who comes to your house is geared for tasks like settop changeouts, F-fitting replacements, ground rods, reworking a drop, etc. The line tech is carrying amp parts, tap plates, pole hardware, system maps, etc. and the skills to wield them.

Back when I was running a cable repair dispatch office, our cost on rolling a housecall truck was $N an hour and a tech truck ran close to $N*2.25. Less than 15% of house calls were the result of system problems; do the math.

Comment Re:Ringworld (Score 1) 922

I should p'bly mod you down, since you're a bit off-topic -- I'm not aware of a Niven-in-film series/work that needs re-booting. But instead I'll join you in off-topic-land...Ringworld would be a perfect series of texts to adapt to film: Sets would be easy, and Weta would love the character work (just not sure if there'd be an uncanny valley prob with Chmee and Nessus ;-). There's so much published backstory that a screenwriter could go deep into "Known Space" -- showing us the rise and resolution of the Puppeteer's excess heat problem, showing us the Kzin homeworld (with maybe a few vignettes of the Man-Kzin Wars), devoting a few minutes to Phssthpok's heroic voyage to Sol System, etc. Bog, but I'd love to see a Trinoc or Bandersnatch....

The original stories have everything modern films want: hetero-sex (Teela Brown and tons of rishathra), cool boats (Long Shot, Needle, flycycles), battles (esp. in the 3rd Ringworld book), McGuyverisms, and huge "message" potential (nudge-nudge, Mr. Cameron) from the role of ARM in Earth culture, to Flatlanders vs. Belters, to Puppeteers-as-power-elite, to Chmee's journey of learning patience and diplomacy, and the ultimate fun of Niven's alternate Genesis tale of the Pak.

So if any "reboot" is broad enough to attempt restoring science fiction films to former glory, I'm with ya on Ringworld. Or, another great way to go would be either of two sets of work by Herbert -- Destination: Void is tragically undervalued (along with its follow-on works); it's the earliest fiction I know of that tackles construction principles of an AI. Or Herbert's two Jorg McKie books (Whipping Star and mostly The Dosadi Experiment...maybe the Tea Partiers could get excited enough about the Bureau of Sabotage to let the subtle consciousness-raising that Dosadi's solution induces soak in undetected.....

Comment Re:Here's some more info (Score 5, Informative) 114

You misread. The relevant paragraph is, "We used a one-dimensional model for this project," says co-author Wladimir Lyra, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Astrophysics at the Museum. "Three dimensional models are so computationally expensive that we could only follow the evolution of disks for about 100 orbits -- about 1,000 years. We want to see what happens over the entire multimillion year lifetime of a disk."

Comment Re:Sonos (Score 1) 438

Another vote for Sonos. It's the wife-friendliest, kid-friendliest, overnight-visitor-friendliest, drunk-out-of-your-mind-friendliest system out there. Install and setup is a breeze -- truly as easy as the diagram portrays. The mesh network is excellent, or you can run it wired. You can source music from your computer/CD player/iPod, or let Sonos grab internet radio streams or services like last.fm, Sirius, Rhapsody, etc. Use Sonos to feed your own amplifier(s), or buy amplified Sonos nodes.

Slashdot covered 'em when they were new; many favorable comments. They were kick-ass at launch; these days they're miles better. Totally modular, so the system can grow as budget/desire dictates. The secure mesh network is excellent, or you can run 'em wired with CAT5. The new handheld controllers are great, or use an iPhone, iPod touch, or computer. (I've never hooked one up for a linux user, but Wine should do the job just fine.)

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