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Comment I need mod points (Score 4, Insightful) 56

Thank you for being the first person to state the obvious here.

Oh, and let me paraphrase the summary:

We gave one group of subjects strawberry ice cream cones. We gave a second group dry spaghetti noodles.

Afterward, members of the first group were more willing to do us a favor than members of the second group.

Therefore, we conclude that there is a link between strawberries and altruistic behavior.

Comment Re:Is it lazy to be prudent? (Score 1) 189

If you think humans were successful endurance hunters, you've probably never tried to chase down so much as a dog.

I'd say it was a miracle our ancestors survived long enough to invent the thrown spear, but that wouldn't be fair to Thag Grobnak. Real predators would have driven us to extinction long ago if not for his efforts.

So if you're reading this, drink a toast to Thag Grobnak and his highly successful chain of Opposable-Thumb Massage Parlors.

Comment Re:Too bad it probably violates all current TOS (Score 1) 505

Every analogy, by definition, compares different things. Pointing out every detail how the two things differ does not make an analogy invalid.

I'd suggest reading up on the difference between goods and services, but there are enough exceptions, loopholes, and legal grey areas to give you a headache.

Let's start with the most obvious difference: Goods are usually bought one-off, while services--particularly contract services--are often long-term relationships. If I piss off my Ford dealer, for any reason, he can throw me out of his store. Likewise, if the Ford I bought pisses me off for any reason, I can always refuse to buy a Ford ever again.

In the case of AT&T, it ought to be the same, but the local monopolies can make it hard for me to switch phone providers. Conversely, AT&T has to codify what "pisses them off" in their contract, and then have those rules hold up in court if a customer challenges them.

Unfortunately, if "goods" and "services" are slightly vague, civil law is a swirling, choking miasma that not even lawyers understand more than a fraction of. The most important thing to keep in mind, however, is that the general goal of contract law (and law in general) is to provide a sense of equality; in this case, a fair playing field for buyer and seller. Mind you, not everyone has the same definition of "fair", but judges generally try to find a reasonable middle ground.

So let's speak in generalities.

Goods and metered services are frequently the same from the "fairness" perspective. If I sell someone a especially pretty rock, I presumably make my profit on the spot, there's nothing the buyer can do to cheat me out of money later, and so I have no justifiable reason to tell the buyer how they can or cannot use my rock. If I clean someone's house and get paid for my time, I have again presumably made my profit, and again it would be unfair for me to put stipulations on the buyer. (Warranties and guarantees are an exception to this, but they function more as unmetered services sold on top of a good, and as such are subject to terms of service.)

Unmetered services are different, and this is where things start to get complicated. If I offer an unmetered service--flat rate internet, unmetered water, an all-you-can-eat buffet, a pre-paid warranty--now the seller's profit is dependent on exactly how the buyer uses or abuses the service.

Even though the buyer ostensibly "bought" an unlimited amount of internet transfer, or water, or food, or repairs, if the buyer uses far too much of them, it can become very unprofitable for me, the seller--especially if the buyer then shares their "unlimited" service with others who stop paying me for their own service.

Now, "fairness" suggests that the seller isn't required to subsidize exploitative users, and sure enough, unmetered service typically come with plenty of terms of service about what constitutes unreasonable use of their services, and as long as they aren't terribly unfair in favor of the seller, the courts uphold them.

And while unmetered services are an obvious example of why terms of sale or service are necessary to maintain "fairness", there are other examples as well. My restaurant might have child, adult, and senior prices. Or I might sell software for academic, home, and corporate prices. If I couldn't control how my product or service was used after the sale, nothing would stop a Fortune 500 company from buying my software at dirt-poor student prices and then giving to all their top executives. That again wouldn't be fair to me, the seller.

The reverse is true as well. Verizon and AT&T switched from unmetered to metered cellular data plans and the FCC began pressuring them on neutrality to eliminate gotchas and exceptions from their service. While their rates haven't exactly gone down, their new plans offer free tethering, free texting, free voice, video conferencing, and a bunch of other things they wanted to tack on as extras before.

So to answer your question, the difference between a Ford and AT&T service is that if I abuse the car, it doesn't hurt Ford (in fact, they'd love to sell me another). If I abuse the long distance service, I do hurt AT&T.

(...but I don't feel particularly bad about it.)

Comment Re:Too bad it probably violates all current TOS (Score 1) 505

Because one is a service, subject to terms of service, and the other is physical goods?

But if a physical analogy helps: If you have unmetered water at your apartment, what do you think would happen if you bought a huge water tank, pipes and hoses and set yourself up as a utility company for your entire neighborhood?

Comment Re:Very nice.. (Score 2) 267

The funny thing is, Apple actually implemented multitouch app switching way back in iOS 4.3, but they haven't enabled it on the iPhone—presumably because smartphone screens are a bit small for their 3+ finger gestures.

You can use Activator (available on Cydia) to enable it, though you'll have to wait for the new jailbreak coming out in a few days. Speaking of jailbreaking, if you like BB10's app previews you could give Auxo or other app switcher replacements/enhancements a try as well.

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