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Comment Re:CO2 of things it replaces? (Score 1) 370

Not to mention online ordering of goods. When I buy something at the store, I have to drive a few miles to a store. That store serves an area of several square miles, and there is another store to serve the next several square miles. Each of these stores must be individually stocked.

When I order something online, my item is shipped from a central warehouse to a shipping facility in my city, which serves an area on the magnitude of hundreds of square miles. That shipping facility calculates an efficient route based on all of their deliveries for the day, and the item gets delivered to my door by the same truck that delivers to several other people in my neighborhood.

Certainly, delivering data electronically is considerably more efficient when it's possible. But even for tangible goods, ordering something over the internet is more efficient than buying it at the store.

Comment Re:If you want CD-quality audio, buy CDs (Score 1) 550

It seems you completely missed Lonewolf666's point. Yes, 320kbps mp3 ripped from a lossless source is good enough for the real world. But a 320kbps mp3 ripped from a 320 kbps AAC file (or other lossy codec) starts to have artifacts noticeable to the untrained ear on run-of-the-mill equipment.

When I buy a CD, I rip it to FLAC, which I consider to be my master copy. When I move content to my iPod or Android phone, my music manager will automatically transcode it to 192 kbps Mp3 or OGG. This sounds just fine in the context I listen to music on those devices, and it allows me to fit quite a bit more music than a higher bit rate.

If instead of keeping my master copy as FLAC I kept it as a high bitrate mp3, this strategy wouldn't work as well. Converting from lossless to 192kbps sounds fine. Converting from 320 kbps mp3 to 192 kpbs introduces artifacts that are audible by untrained ears on run-of-the-mill equipment. I'd have to choose between noticeable artifacts and having less music on a portable device.

Future proofing is also a concern. A few years from now someone could invent a new codec that sounds as good as 320kbps mp3, but only requires 128kbps. Chances are converting from 320kbps mp3 to this new codec will introduce noticeable artifacts, while converting from a lossless source will give pristine results.

Comment Re:14 years, nothing else (Score 1) 249

Avatar. James Cameron wrote the first draft in 1995, it wasn't released until late 2009.

That said, I think developing works could get some kind of protection as trade secrets, but not have the clock start ticking on copyright expiration until they are publicly released. I also like the idea of some kind of character trademark. If a company is still using a character from a work that has fallen into the public domain, they could continue to monopolize that character's use outside the context of the public domain works. So anyone who wanted to could sell Steamboat Willie on DVD or put Fantasia's Sorcerer's Apprentice on a T-Shirt, but you couldn't use Mickey Mouse in your own content without licensing it. This would allow continued development of franchises (which I believe hold economic value) without preventing works from entering the public domain (which I believe holds cultural and economic value).

Comment Re:Time heals all trends (Score 1) 395

You missed a big one: In the car. I've thought for years that the only place I want to use voice commands is for controlling my car radio. I'd like to be able to tell my radio to play a certain song or artist off of it's hard drive, switch to a specific radio station, or give me directions via GPS. Switching to the next song or next radio station isn't a big deal in the car (though I can understand this in the kitchen), as it just takes a second to reach down and hit the "next" button. Searching for something specific can take your eyes off the road for a while if you have to look at your head unit or mp3 player and scroll through a large selection

Comment Re:Taxation Without Representation (Score 1) 164

That depends on how it's set up. I paid my rent at the beginning of the month for the time I was about to spend in the apartment. They didn't render the service before the money was paid, so it wasn't a debt.

If you pay at the end of the month, your contract might stipulate that you can't use cash. Ultimately, you still can repay your debt with cash, but they could probably also have you evicted for violating the terms of your rental agreement.

Comment Re:Publicity worked for Humble Bundle (Score 2) 133

There is an important distinction between "cost", which you're talking about, and "marginal cost", which the GP is talking about. Marginal cost is the increased cost of producing one additional unit, and for digital goods marginal cost is very nearly zero. The only marginal costs you mention are support and payment processing, the rest are more or less fixed costs. The marginal costs for selling a digital good with minimal support are very, very low. Once the fixed costs are covered, selling an additional unit for $5 will be very close to $5 profit.

There's definitely a matter of balancing opportunity costs. It would be silly for a company with a highly anticipated title to offer that game at a name-your-own-price rate. But once sales have started to taper off, it makes sense to lower the price and get something, rather than keeping prices up and get nothing. This can serve to get people talking about the game again, and may lead to sales at regular price once the sale ends.

I don't believe that pay-what-you-want is a sustainable business model, but I think it's a great way to milk some extra cash out of a title that isn't selling much and it can help bring hype to a game.

Comment Re:No ex post facto laws (Score 1) 281

No, it doesn't. People can be pardoned and sentences commuted more or less arbitrarily. The ex-post facto clause exists to prevent people from being facing consequences they couldn't possibly have anticipated when they committed an action. Letting people off easy doesn't have the same downside that ex-post facto laws do.

Comment Re:Too Much (Score 1) 354

Don't get me wrong, I think it's equally despicable, and should be equally punishable, to represent a job as a good long-term prospect and then proceed to lay someone off after a couple months.

I think intent is very relevant. There are a lot of things that can happen that reduce a company's ability to complete a project they started with the best intentions. Market fluctuations can hurt investor confidence and reduce a project's funding, advancements made by competitors can make a product less useful, or unanticipated costs can put a project over budget relatively early on. If a company knows a project has no chance of being profitable, keeping people on the project is fiscally irresponsible. Hopefully they'll find project members positions on other projects, but some people will probably have to be let go.

If a company knowingly misrepresents the state of a project to get a person to join their team, I certainly think that's fraud. But if a company reasonably believes they'll be able to complete a project and are honest with recruits about the state of the project, but unforeseen circumstances cause the project to fail, I don't think it's right to bring punitive damages against the company.

Comment Re:Untrusted certs should not raise an alarm (Score 1) 286

There absolutely needs to be some kind of warning for untrusted certs. I can see an argument that the current solution is overkill (I disagree), but treating it the same as an HTTP page gives users no easy way to check whether or not they should trust the connection.

Now, I'm of the opinion that browsers handle untrusted certs as well as they can with current technology. Time and time again, end users have shown that they'll click through simple warning dialogs and send their data to phishers. When a server establishes an HTTPS connection with a client, it's telling the browser that this should be a secure communication, and sensitive data is going to be transmitted. If the browser can't validate that the connection is trusted, the user needs to know something is wrong.

Comment Re:Driving shouldn't be for the public (Score 2, Informative) 1065

Indeed. It WILL cost trillions, like the highway system does.

[Citation Needed]

According to wikipedia, the interstate highway system cost $114 billion over 35 years, or $425 billion after adjusting for inflation. Admittedly, there are a lot of state highways that aren't a part of the interstate highway system, but it's a long way from $425 billion to multiple trillions.

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