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Comment Re:The theater is dead. (Score 1) 924

I haven't seen $8 movie tickets for a normal showing in San Diego for almost five years, hell, maybe ten. Eight bucks *might* get you a small popcorn and a small drink, but most standard shows are around $11.50. $13-15 if it's 3D, which every freaking movies is these days.

But you're right. We stopped going to the theater. I mean, I can take my family of three to a show for around $50-60, OR, I can pay for 5 months of DVD/streaming-all-I-can-watch Netflix and make my own popcorn.

Comment Re:Not to defend Apple, but... (Score 1) 171

Certainly it can be done, and frankly, I think the publishing industry in general must change the way it does things or it's dead in the water. But most of publishing is about getting seen by the right people. You can do that as an author if you have the time (it takes gobs!), and most publishing firms do a crappy job of this anyway. Just like Amazon, they are going to put their real money and time on the books that they know will sell. If you're a first time author (or even mostly unknown) then you get a minimal effort. My wife literally sold more copies of her first book than the publisher did.

Amazon provides a place to be seen, but unless you're somehow able to get the right eyes to read you, you are just a very small fish in vast ocean of other small fish. What sucks is that so many of those other small fish are just bait.

Comment Not to defend Apple, but... (Score 2, Informative) 171

Amazon's model isn't much better. They make their money by setting the price for a best-seller high, and everything else ridiculously low. And this seems reasonable to a "supply and demand" society, but there's an endless supply of ebooks. More over, that means that authors aren't going to make enough money to keep writing unless they happen to have a best-seller - and the market ends up flooded with garbage like Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey. It's a CostCo mentality. The consumer doesn't know any better, and hey, they're getting most of their books for 99 cents! Seems great from their perspective. But that model kills publishing in general. Anyone who thinks the only cost to publishing a book is the time it takes to write it, has never published a book. Even for a bare-bones self-published ebook, you need at the very least an editor. For anything serious, or that crosses over into the print world, then you need a cover artist, a designer, marketing, and probably someone who knows how to bring it all together... they call those people publishers.

Have you seen the absolute garbage that gets "self published" on Amazon? The ability to put a book out there on Amazon's site *for free*, is perhaps the biggest danger to the publishing industry ever. There are thousands upon thousands of "books" that are nothing more than $.99 scams. Some are literally garbage text or word for word rip off's of someone else's work with a new title. They might only get a few suckers, but they do this *thousands* of times over.

Comment Re:Silverlight greatness (Score 2) 394

Except that the difference between the Streaming catalog and the DVD catalog is like the difference between a burger at McDonalds and a burger at Outback Steakhouse. Sure, there are tons of new releases on streaming, but let's be real... 98% of them are low-budget direct to video crap, with an occasional gem thrown in to keep people thinking there might be more on the way. Most of what people watch on Netflix streaming now are the television shows, and even in that genre there are 99 idiotic realty shows for every one Battlestar Galactica or Breaking Bad. Sure, there are a few movies I wouldn't mind having in my collection to watch when I want (off network, because my service provider is going to cap me), but by far the greater percentage of people just aren't going to bother, especially if the studios would stop putting up content on limited time release. I don't mind paying every month, but it sucks to sit down expecting to re-watch an old favorite, only to find that it's been pulled from the catalog by the studio because they think they can get more sales from the re-release of the Blu-Ray disc.

Comment Re:Good start, but... (Score 1) 119

Ah yes, but the point isn't that the bastards shared my data... That's necessary to conduct business with me, etc. The point is that there's a difference between a "subsidiary" and an "associate". A subsidiary company is a part of the parent, and to some extent shares legal responsibility for your data. An associate company can be anyone that the parent has an association with. It could be a legit and respected service, or it could be a shady marketing firm who couldn't give a rat's ass about you or your personal information. When I click on a consent box, or sign my name on an account card, I'm giving permission to the parent company and their subsidiaries to use (and be responsible for) my data. But I don't know who the hell their "associates" are, vaguely mentioned in some privacy notice that comes as a bait and switch by mail a month later.

This kind of corporate activity is boilerplate now.

Comment Good start, but... (Score 2) 119

They need to add wording so that my data can't be shared without my permission with anyone who doesn't have the same company name. Way too much is being hidden behind "associates" and "partners". Anyone who touches my data should have to accept the same security and legal restrictions/responsibilities as the parent company that collected it. I'm tired to getting those Privacy Notices from everyone I have an account with, written in legaleze so generic as to make them useless. If you can take the time to send me a revised privacy statement every six months, then you can take the time to list who your "associate companies" actually are.


Giant Robotic Jellyfish Unveiled by Researchers 43

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, an anonymous reader writes in with news about a giant robot jellyfish. As if there weren't enough real jellyfish around to trigger our thalassophobia, researchers at Virginia Tech have created Cryo -- an eight-armed autonomous robot that mimics jelly movement with the help of a flexible silicone hat. The man-sized jellybot altogether dwarfs previous efforts, hence the upgrade from small tank to swimming pool for mock field tests. And unlike the passively propelled bots we've seen recently, Cryo runs on batteries, with the researchers hoping to better replicate the energy-efficient nature of jelly movement to eventually increase Cryo's charge cycle to months instead of hours. That's also the reason these robotic jellyfish are getting bigger -- because the larger they are, the further they can go."

Solar Impulse Airplane To Launch First Sun-Powered Flight Across America 89

First time accepted submitter markboyer writes "The Solar Impulse just landed at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California to announce a journey that will take it from San Francisco to New York without using a single drop of fuel. The 'Across America' tour will kick off this May when founders Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg take off from San Francisco. From there the plane will visit four cities across the states before landing in New York."

Google Releases Street View Images From Fukushima Ghost Town 63

mdsolar writes in with news that Goolge has released Street View pictures from inside the zone that was evacuated after the Fukushima disaster. "Google Inc. (GOOG) today released images taken by its Street View service from the town of Namie, Japan, inside the zone that was evacuated after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011. Google, operator of the world's biggest Web search engine, entered Namie this month at the invitation of the town's mayor, Tamotsu Baba, and produced the 360-degree imagery for the Google Maps and Google Earth services, it said in an e-mailed statement. All of Namie's 21,000 residents were forced to flee after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, about 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the town, causing the world's worst nuclear accident after Chernobyl. Baba asked Mountain View, California-based Google to map the town to create a permanent record of its state two years after the evacuation, he said in a Google blog post."

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