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Comment Re: Here's another reason to hate NetFlix (Score 1) 111

Secondly, the fee structure is similar for many banks: By batching transactions and processing in largest-first order, they ensure the greatest likelihood of a larger number of fees. (This does seem a whole lot like new math, until a banker patiently shows you that 20 - 20.01 = -180.)

I've never encountered a bank doing this, and if they did then I'd strongly object and report them to the regulator.

Thirdly, again, you should try actually reading. What do you think I just wrote about, if not a debit card? FFS.

You wrote about something like a prepaid charge card. A Maestro or Electron card can be issued by any major bank on an existing account, so you don't need to jump through hoops and pay even more fees.

Comment Re:Here's another reason to hate NetFlix (Score 2) 111

I'm one of those individuals who have a problem managing my budget. I once spent $3 on an app for my Droid, which cascaded into $180 in bank fees because the account was overdrawn by a few cents by the time they tabulated everything since the bank (conveniently for them) does charges in such an order that it maximizes the fees instead of minimizing my pain.

First of all, if your bank can charge $180 in overdraft fees for being a few cents over then you really need to get a different bank.

Secondly, if you're in a position where $3 can push you into the red, but you can still manage to afford a smartphone, then you're doing something seriously wrong with your finances.

You should also consider getting a card like a Visa Electron or a Mastercard Maestro - these are debit cards that do not allow you to go overdrawn (they are intended for minors) and will just reject transactions if there is not enough money in the account for them.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 3, Informative) 111

Netflix does run their own CDN (based on FreeBSD) for the movies, which are the vast majority of their bandwidth. The Amazon stuff is for the web UI and background processing workloads (e.g. working out popular films related viewing patterns and so). This stuff is pretty busty, especially as more and more people use custom NetFlix apps and so don't hit the web UI at all.

Comment Re:DRM Hell (Score 0) 111

But, and this is the big fat critical but, at the end of the day NetFlix works, works well, and delivers a hell of a lot of good programming for very, very little money. And does so in way that the DRM is simply not noticeable.

Not noticeable? So I can run it on the machine connected to my projector, that runs FreeBSD and happily plays content grabbed from iPlayer or DVDs? Oh, no, sorry, not supported. Well, at least I can play it back on my WebOS tablet. Oh, sorry, not supported. Well, I can at least copy a few films to watch on a mobile device while I'm travelling? Oh, sorry, not supported either.

Meanwhile, I'm paying Lovefilm (Amazon) a monthly fee to rent DVDs because I can take these with me (or rip them for a mobile device, as long as I delete them before I send them back) when I travel, and I can watch them on every device I own.

Now, technically, it would be possible for me to rip every single DVD I rent, but I don't do this because there's no point. The entire point of paying the monthly subscription is for someone else to be responsible for maintaining the large library of content and being able to watch some of it when I want. I'd end up spending a lot on hard disks if I ripped them all and 99% of what I watch I have no desire to re-watch anyway.

A system that let me download films in a DRM-free format and had a monthly cost proportional to the number that I downloaded (e.g. 50 hours for the cost of my current 3-DVD-at-a-time package) would solve the problem for me and would mean that there is no danger (from their perspective) of my downloading everything I might ever want to watch - a somewhat silly fear that is predicated on the idea that there will never be new releases that I want to see - and cancelling the subscription.

Comment Re:Simple solution? (Score 1) 361

If you'd read my post, or even the sentence you quoted, then you'd know that it's not my country and that I am very much aware of this (we hire a reasonable number of PhD graduates from places like MIT who've just been kicked out of the country by this policy).

Comment Re:Simple solution? (Score 5, Insightful) 361

Don't issue H1-B visas at all. If you want the best and the brightest, then give them indefinite leave to remain. And reintroduce the faster immigration system you used to have for PhD graduates: don't spend years ensuring that someone is familiar with the state of the art in their field and educated in the methods of research and then send them to another country. We've just imported this particular idiocy into the UK because our government wants to be tough on immigration, but can't legally crack down on immigration from the EU where most of our unskilled immigrants come from.

Comment Re:Thats the problem - you can't. (Score 2) 391

Now if you find a way to hack the UEFI secure boot loader....

Not quite. If you can find a security hole in the Windows kernel that allows arbitrary code execution in privileged mode (not as easy as some Slashdot readers like to believe) then it's possible to bypass UEFI secure boot by making the Windows kernel into a chain bootloader.

Comment Re:Dumping? (Score 5, Informative) 391

HP's approach was monumentally stupid. WebOS was a really nice system (I still prefer the UI on my TouchPad to my TransformerPad Infinity StupidName), but it lacked developers. They were giving them away to developers at the end (which is how I got mine), but then they killed the platform so there was no incentive to write a single line of code for it. I ported Objective-C to work on it, but then gave up on the platform when it became clear that the TouchPad was the last device ever to use it.

Comment Re:I'm observing a spike in demand right now. (Score 1) 118

I get quite frequent calls from recruiters too. Most of them find my name through Google, a few through I don't do social networking (and my mail client has finally learned that any mail from LinkedIn is spam), so it's absolutely not necessary to buy in to corporate buzzwords.

Comment Re:Congrats, Unknown Lamer... (Score 4, Insightful) 135

How on earth would a normal person figure out that printing is on port 631?

One of two ways:

  • RTFM.
  • Click on the helpful link to http://localhost:631/ that is named 'Printer Setup' and put on your desktop or in a menu by your desktop environment of choice.

Seriously, your complaint makes as much sense as asking 'How on earth would a normal person figure out that you browse the web by running iexplore.exe?'

Comment Re:Here's an idea (Score 1) 1029

Um, mostly right but with one glaring error. They didn't 'send' books to bookstores, bookstores bought books. With that correction, that's exactly how things still work today.

Bookstores buy books on a sale-or-return basis. If they don't manage to sell them, they tear off the covers and ship them back to the publisher for a full refund and destroy the rest. And the books that they buy are often the ones that the publisher has spent some money promoting.

No, it's not "now feasible and affordable to do much smaller print runs" - because that means editing and marketing and other overhead must now be spread across a much smaller number of books.

Yes it is. I've talked with some publishers that specialise in exactly this. Some of the big publishers now outsource all of their copyediting to freelancers (some are bringing it back in-house, it oscillates a bit), but for small publishers it's very easy to hire a freelancer to copyedit a book and so they're not splitting copyediting staff, they're just spreading investment, and the copyediting on a book can cost under $1000 (it's a pretty crappy market for freelancers at the moment), so it's relatively easy to scatter money across a hundred titles and hope one does really well and the rest come close to breaking even.

Marketing, you might have, but marketing costs for small print runs are pretty small. Publishers scatter a few free copies to amateur reviewers and get some blog posts, put them on their web sites, and push them in the direction of book clubs. If they sell a couple of thousand copies, they've made a profit.

Bookstores have very little incentive to stock J. Random Nobody without a reasonable expectation that he will sell

Except for differentiation: no one wants to go into a book shop that just stocks the A-list books that they can get anywhere (and much cheaper on Amazon) and which the more active readers (i.e. their best customers) will have read already. People want to go to a book shop to find a book that they've not read before, and that means having a broad selection of things.

Comment Re:Better plots? (Score 5, Insightful) 1029

You mean, unlike the young people during the recessions of the '80s?

That said, I haven't been to a cinema for years. I used to go with my housemates and some other friends when I was a student, until we realised that for the cost of us to go a few times (including food and so on) my housemates and I could buy a projector and a set of surround-sound speakers - the DVD was cheaper than the cost of two people going to the cinema - and my friends could come around and bring food and beer (generally of a higher quality than available in cinemas and for less money). When I graduated, one of my housemates bought out my share in the projector, but I bought another one on eBay for just under £200 that's lasted me 5 years (it now tells me the lamp needs replacing). My cost per film, including renting the DVDs and the cost of the equipment, is under £1 and I get to sit on a comfy sofa and watch films with people I like, not random strangers who think shouting at the screen or using their mobile phone is a good idea (oh, and I can pause it if I need to go to the toilet). How do cinemas think they can compete with that by constantly increasing prices?

Comment Re:How can that be? (Score 2) 550

I don't believe so. They use SecureBoot, with the bootloader locked to Microsoft's signing key. Unless you find a vulnerability in the bootloader then it can't boot anything that Microsoft didn't sign. You might, however, be able to find a vulnerability in the Windows RT kernel that you can exploit to inject a chain boot mechanism into the running kernel and boot Android that way, but it would require a vulnerability that allowed arbitrary code execution in kernel mode.

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