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Comment Re:In the air? (Score 2) 381

Flying -- with the notable exception of lighter-than-air such as gasbags -- is too energy intensive to be consumer-level practical at this point in time. Leaving out the technological, mass production, and licensing hurdles.

You forgot the most important issue - we are currently doing a good job of causing climate change with a few billion of us using motorised land vehicles. There is no way known that the environment can sustain any significant fraction of the population moving to air travel as a commuting method.

We should be focusing on getting rid of the idea that individuals need 1+ tonne lumps of metal to get around, not finding new ways to pump out greenhouse gases.

Comment Re:... Because everyone is suing everyone ... (Score 1) 738

At that point, I thought we had arranged to nominate a certain group of citizens to cut through this kind of crap. Seriously, we must be at a point where government intervention is justified, rather than allowing billions of dollars of legal fees, court time and most importantly innovation to be wasted on this nonsense.

Comment Re:Every single industry that sells tangible produ (Score 1) 276

Well, the counter argument to this is that the, let's call them 'informational', goods don't depreciate with use like a tangible product does.

Of course they do.

Have you ever followed the price of a new release game? They start at, say, $70, then drop to $50, then $30ish, then end up in a "value" version for $15-20, then the value version drops to as low as $10 or so. You can see this in both physical releases and electronically distributed versions.

They don't depreciate in the sense that a particular copy doesn't rust or get "mileage" like a car, but their value is linked almost entirely to their novelty, so they actually depreciate more predictably than a car.

Comment Re:laws (Score 1) 1127

This, 1000x this.

Making up a humourus punishment is acknowledging that something potentially illegal happened, and trying to institutionally laugh it off. You absolutely cannot do that. Not once. Not ever.

This is such an American attitude. By making out like this is an all or nothing situation, you actually make it an all or nothing situation when it doesn't need to be.

IMHO a mature workplace would permit someone to cross a line once or twice, and would in a good natured way pull them back onto the right side of that line. Instead of automatically making everything a life and death big deal, why not act like an adult and defuse the situation if possible?

This whole discussion is ignoring the difference between behaviour which is (perhaps) inappropriate in context and behaviour which amounts to sexual harassment, too. Another peculiarly American perception seems to be that any reference to anything of a sexual nature in any context can "harass" someone who hears it.

Comment Re:Wrap rage...? (Score 1) 639

Many people don't understand packaging is very important and your post, unfortunately, is no exception.

In the case of tablets and phones, packaging is the first personal encounter with what is intended to be a personal device. Getting this step right is crucial to shaping how a consumer perceives the product and too many companies neglect this simple but ineluctable point.

Underlying your post is an assumption that the person buying this device is sufficiently shallow, stupid, and lacking in perception that the way it is packaged actually alters their subsequent experience with it. Which might be true for people who buy phones etc. on the basis of image or "lifestyle" factors, but doesn't matter to people who buy things on the basis of what they actually do.

I had a Motorola phone which came in an amazing box - a crazy extruded metal lid which slid off to reveal the phone etc seated in a sort of display cabinet. The phone was still a piece of shit. OTOH I have a Sony phone now which came in a very boring white box, but the phone is a joy to use.

Or maybe the people you're talking about are the same ones who when given presents for Christmas as kids would play with the box and not the present?

As a few people have noted, the Kindle comes in amazingly simple, instantly disposable packaging. I don't think less of my Kindle because it didn't come in some kind of Russian doll box folded by ninjas like an ipad does. In fact it just confirms to me that what matters is what it does, not the box it came in.

Comment Re:Translation: (Score 1) 132

Except for the last sentence. In the USA, there are no "exceptional circumstances" that permit a bureaucrat to prevent a judge from hearing a matter.

So if a judge went insane or committed some act of moral turpitude, there would be no power to remove him/her or prevent him/her from hearing a case?

That is the type of situation I'm talking about.

Comment Re:Translation: (Score 2, Informative) 132

The US bribed someone to get him out of the way so they can get a more acquiescent judge who won't give a damn about what the law says and about all the laws the FBI violated in either country.

I know it's not something you're used to, assuming you're a US citizen, but it's actually just that NZ is a country where the rule of law operates, and this is an example of the system properly and impartially dealing with the issue. Judges in NZ (and Australia... and Britain) aren't elected and, by US standards, are not beholden to party politics. Furthermore, except in exceptional circumstances, no bureaucrat has the power to prevent a judge from hearing a matter.

Had he not recused himself, there would have been a risk of a successful appeal on the basis of bias.

Of course if the same judge had made a speech talking about how the US is New Zealand's best friend when it comes to intellectual property issues, you'd be squealing about his bias.

Comment Re:Holes? (Score 4, Interesting) 303

Actually, as with most situations where humans dump heaps of something somewhere without worrying about the consequences too much, the buildup of salt in the ocean potentially can have significant harmful effects on sea life.

This is a major issue near where I live at the moment - we have no water (driest state in the driest continent on Earth) so we are keen on desalination, but the planned desal plant may kill a unique local form of giant cuttlefish because we are going to pump heaps of salt into a gulf that doesn't flush out quickly:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2007-04-16/cuttlefish-at-risk-from-desalination-plant/2243198

I guess it'd like fish deciding that pumping a few percent of extra CO into the local atmosphere won't be a problem for us because the atmosphere is so big. At a certain point you don't want to be too near the outlet.

Comment Re:Make sense (Score 1) 530

Personally, I don't think it's all that smart to try to out-Apple Apple. Apple's strength is ridiculously tight integration of hardware and software, perfected over a decade now. Microsoft's strength is that they are the default desktop/laptop O/S for pretty much everyone else.

If they try to copy Apple, they become the second best at tightly integrated hardware/software, instead of the best (in a commercial sense) at selling ubiquitous, flexible operating systems.

Put all that differently - why would I buy a Microsoft walled-garden laptop when I could just buy a macbook?

I buy Microsoft stuff because it comes on my flavour of hardware, I don't buy the hardware because I love Windows 7 so very much.

Comment Re:Yeah, so what? (Score 5, Insightful) 484

The fact that you are more concerned that your President is killing US citizens without charge or trial outside of a warzone than that your President is killing human beings without charge or trial outside of a warzone is at the heart of what is wrong with your country.

Semantics? That is "the heart of what is wrong with your country"? "Wrong with your country" is what... pretentious motherfuckers who post online?

There are many problems in the world and many problems in our country. The only problem identified by your post is you.

American exceptionalism is the problem I am referring to. More traditionally known as 'hubris'. There are some good plays about it, you should check them out. The Greeks had the concept nailed down about 2500 years ago.

Your government and many of your citizens operate on the basis that there are "Americans" and "others". You regard yourselves as special, privileged, the chosen people. You have failed to register that this is obviously not true, nor have you registered that your supposedly permanent hegemony of only a few years ago is already gone.

Once you decide that some are "more equal than others", you lose the ability to impartially assess any situation. The concepts essential to a just, democratic world become unworkable, because they rely on the opposite view, that no-one person or group should be more privileged than any other.

The GP's comment exemplifies the (majority) American mindset - murdering people is only problematic if it offends your constitution. Well, guess what? Fuck your constitution. It's problematic because it's fundamentally wrong, not because it offends some American document which you guys tend to ignore most of the time anyway.

Hence you cannot understand (a) your immense economic problems (b) your immense geopolitical problems or (c) your immense problems with groups of angry foreign men wanting to hurt you. None of it makes sense to you because you cannot see that you are not special, and therefore that there will be no automatic Hollywood ending to these dramas.

Bill Clinton made a speech towards the end of his presidency where he argued strongly that the US should strengthen international institutions and human rights standards as much as possible. His reasoning was that America's time in the sun wouldn't last forever, and that when some other power - China, for instance - was dominant, America would be grateful for strong and liberal democratic international governance. Sadly Bush II and Obama haven't heeded that warning, and have contributed to a world of unilateral murder and mayhem as a result. The precedent of the powerful being entitled to murder the weak instead of pursuing them according to law will have terrible consequences for all of us, I fear.

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