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Comment Re:It's a SERVICE (Score 4, Insightful) 713

The USPS sucks at delivering packages? And doesn't provide adequate tracking? What country do you live in?

* UPS does not typically deliver on the weekend unless the sender pays extra. USPS does.

* I can go to the USPS website to track my packages.

* Anecdotally, UPS packages seem to take longer to deliver than USPS. They don't seem to be able to accurately predict delivery time either. With USPS, a priority package arrives in 3 days, and often 2.

* If I am required to sign for a USPS package and I'm not home, I just have to drive to post office within 1/4 mile of my house. If I miss a UPS delivery, I have to drive 5 miles to the next town to their shipping terminal.

I'll take the USPS any day over UPS. The reason USPS is hurting is that UPS is allowed to cherry-pick the profitable package business while avoiding the daily mail responsibility. Seems like in order for the competition to be fair, anyone competing should have to play by the same rules.

Comment Re:Reduce work week (Score 1) 518

I meant a law that stipulates a 35-hour work week rather than a 40-hour work week, and perhaps one that puts in some more strict guidelines about salaried workers too. We are turning into a wage-slave nation - seemingly voluntary, except that there is a big gun pointed at many salaried heads - "work 50-60 hours a week or we'll find someone else who will". Our culture is shifting towards more and more work, we're being spread too thin as a country.

Another suggestion is to make going part time easier. A married couple may not like an arrangement where one person works 0 hours and the other works 40, but may not need or want 80 hours of work between the two of them. Maybe that family could get by on 30 hours each, or 40 for one and 20 from the other. But most good jobs are full-time these days so the choice is 0, 40, or 80 hours. Those choices are too discrete.

Comment Reduce work week (Score 1) 518

How about refusing to work 50+ hour work weeks? 10 employees working 50 hours a week equals 12.5 workers working a 40 hour week. 2.5 less people are employed due to some people being afraid to say "no, I've put in my 8 hours today, sorry".

If unemployment is really going to be so high for years and years - in other words, if there just aren't enough jobs for everyone in the country due to things like automation - maybe we should be talking about reducing the work week to 35 hours or less. It's been 40 hours for a long time, even though productivity has increased quite a bit.

Comment Re:Spending accounts? (Score 1) 232

Now imagine that a merchant somehow figured out how to override the $0 dollar threshold on your debit card so that your kid was able to spend into the negative? Both you and your kid are relying on the fact that if the purchase goes through, there is money in the account, but all of a sudden you're overspent. You're operating under one set of rules, and then the rules get changed without anyone telling you. That's what the in-app purchases were - they did not follow the pattern of "make a purchase only if you enter a password first".

Comment Re:Accountability (Score 1) 232

I don't think you understand how this works. It happened to me, so I know.

I have an IPad. I have purchased many apps, and each time it asks me for a password. I let my 7-year old daughter use the IPad, confident that she could not purchase anything because she did not know my password. I downloaded a game for her, one that her friend had told her about, called Tap Zoo. The game was free; I put in my password to download the game, and then gave her the IPad so that she could play. Later that night I got an invoice from Apple for "gems" and other things to the tune of $200.

She did not enter any passwords. She thought that she was using game money to purchase these items. It turns out that Apple cached my password for 15 minutes, and that allowed her to make real dollar purchases without entering a password. I had never heard of the setting to "turn off in-app purchases" before. I did not know I even needed to know about this. There is no obvious "log out of iTunes" button anywhere either.

The game designer obviously used this flaw as a business model -- no one in their right mind is going to allow their kids to spend hundreds of dollars on crap in a kid's game. The game and others like it is clearly geared toward this kind of inadvertent purchase. At the very least, Apple should disallow in-game purchases by default, and when you turn it on, it should let you know about the 15 minute password thing. It did not. Thankfully, Apple refunded my $200. But it shouldn't have happened in the first place. Every experience I had with the IPad up until that point was that a password was necessary for purchases.

This is kind-of like the old "900" numbers. Any business owner knew to put a "900 block" on a phone that employees had access to. So the crooked companies schemed with the phone company to create a workaround -- call an "800" (free) number and say "I agree to the charges" and the service gets billed to the phone number, and the phone company says "pay the bill or we'll shut you off, but sorry, we have no control over the charges, we're just the billing agent". Someone is always looking to scam you in ways you don't expect.

Comment Demographic blocking next? (Score 1) 203

This is just capitalism in action. This is a variation of the "free rider" problem.

The logical extension of restricting entire countries because you can't derive revenue from them is to block *any* group of users that you can't derive revenue from if you can figure out how to do that.

The corollary is that you want to attract customers who you *are* likely to derive revenue from, so you create content to appeal to those groups.

If the marketing geniuses figure out that senior citizens are "unprofitable" as internet consumers, maybe that means blocking that group. Of course, that will probably anger people who realize that someday, they will be old and will therefore be blocked, so the strategy could backfire. It's a lot easier to block people from, say, Africa, because that affects someone else, a group that most consumers can't picture ever joining. It's also a group that can be blocked as a group without sacrificing valuable users.

Comment Condensation? (Score 3, Informative) 356

Condensation on windows is not a sign of a poorly ventilated house. Condensation forms when humid air comes in contact with a much cooler surface. So, for example, if you have no storm windows on your windows but you are running a humidifier you will get condensation in the winter.

Vinyl windows will actually reduce condensation because they are like built-in storm windows. The inner pane isn't as cold as a single pane of glass -- yet vinyl windows also reduce airflow, meaning that ventilation is reduced.

That part of the study just doesn't make sense.

Comment Re:micropayments (Score 1) 188

Micropayments don't mean 1 cent per page, or per day. They could mean 1 cent per month to visit a site. Or 25 cents per year.

I agree that people don't want to worry about racking up charges -- but that does not mean that they don't want to pay for things. I worked for a dollar store chain, and when things are $1, people don't take the time to think "is it worth it". But when we introduced $2-5 items, they balked -- even though the deals were very good -- because $1 was below their radar, but $2-5 was not.

If I had to pay 1-5 cents per month to each site to surf the web, the amount is so small that I wouldn't bother to meter myself.

The big question is, is the content worth it? The next big question is, if IMDB starts charging, is the difference in their price versus the value provided by the next free competitor worth the switch? For many, it will not be, and IMDB will profit.

Comment Re:One little problem ... (Score 1) 709

Yes and no. Items from the 1920's are still protected by copyright even though the parties creating this content were doing so under the understanding that maximum protection length was 28 years with a *possible* 28 year extension if renewed. Items created under that law could revert back to that length. Items created from 1976 forward were "life of the author + 50 years" (which seems insane -- copyright shouldn't reward an artist's descendants, the USA is supposed to be a meritocracy, not an aristocracy).

I agree with the premise; 15-20 years seems like a reasonable balance for copyright. It gives the creator a good period to profit from a work, and gives the public the right to use the work after this period has expired. The vast majority of published work is generally economically unviable, so this wouldn't adversely affect too many parties.

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