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Comment Cheaper than Shipping? Hardly. (Score 4, Informative) 293

In case anyone was wondering, shipping costs have NEARLY NOTHING to do with this.

The Ocean Freight industry - particularly Trans-Pacific East-Bound (ie China to US) has had long term overcapacity issues for a decade, Depending on who you're talking to, essentially for every $100 they make, the industry has been spending $105-$110 for more than a handful of years.
It got to a point that last year, you could ship a truckload of cargo from Hong Kong to Brazil port to port for $50.

They're not quite that bad anymore but still, you can ship a truckload from China to Los Angeles cheaper than the cost of delivering that load from the port to a point in Metro Los Angeles.

Comment Re: Welcome to the future of capitalism (Score 2) 598

Not lying - This was ~1996 in Carlsbad, NM. On Church Street next door to the Tia Maria apartments - Store was closed last time I was in town. Don't remember the exact minimum wage or apron rental cost. We got paid about a nickel over minimum and were docked about a dime.

It's just a guess but maybe the reason they offered the opportunity to purchase instead of rent got them around that law? Or the law's been updated since '96?

Comment Because voice apps are, by & large, stupid. (Score 4, Interesting) 177

There, I said it.

It doesn't mean they're totally USELESS; no. For the majority of situations, they're more trouble than they're worth.

First, you have to be in exactly the right situation - there cannot be background noise or crosstalk - so essentially, a nearly SILENT room. How many of us spend a substantial amount of time in silence? I'm certainly not going to use a voice app on a bus, plane, or in public even if it was quiet, because anyone who does that is an obnoxious asshole.

Second, you have to know exactly the syntax the system is looking for. On my stupid car (BMX x5) it has voice activation but I'll be damned if I can ever remember what phrases it wants. "CALL HOME" (doesn't work, oh yeah, have to kick it to the phone menu) "PHONE" phone connected "CALL HOME" many results pick one.
Sigh. Oh, and my wife's name is Dawn, so fuck me if I don't have to sort through every damn "DON" in my phone book, distracting me away from the road while I do that - what am I *saving* using a voice app, again?

Third, you have to inevitably put up with a substantial failure rate. If I try to use a voice app for the simplest thing, dictating a slowly, clearly spoken text, I have to expect to spend the next few moments re-reading, editing, and correcting the text. If I'm trying to use it to come up with harder info - like names, in the example above - it's just a crapton easier to dial the number myself.

And I'm a Minnesotan (a region reputed to have a relatively clear style of speaking). I can't imagine how hard it must be for people with less intellgible accents.

Comment Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 78

Many of the batteries in the 2nd set were indeed just fine. it wasn't every phone that was defective. My 2nd Note 7 was, in so many ways, better than my first, felt faster, ran colder, no lock-ups. I mean, it ran ice cold, and I ran it hard. I had a tough time turning it in, and waited until December.

The first one though, that thing was just a ticking time bomb, it ran hot ALL the time.

Comment Re: Welcome to the future of capitalism (Score 4, Informative) 598

Don't know if that's intended as a joke, but years ago when I clerked an Allsup's, they did in fact make us rent our aprons. They paid a few cents over minimum wage, but fell below that bar if you deducted the cost of apron rental. They gave us the option of buying an apron, but they were fairly expensive and the laundering requirements were absurd compared to the laundry schedule the store managed.

Comment Re:Basic income (Score 1) 598

I'm a conservative, and you might be surprised but I'm all for your proposed basic income.*

*as long as it is what it purports to be: a basic, living amount of $. ALL OTHER BENEFIT PROGRAMS END. There is no need for AFDC if people are getting a basic income. No need for welfare, no need for social security, no need for food shelves, no need for homeless shelters, no need for subsidized medical care. No subsidized student loans. We can stop subsidized public transport.
If people then starve, freeze, whatever - then they die. They had the money to avoid it, if they were stupid or wasted it, then they suffer the complete consequences of those choices.

It's far simpler, and I suspect economically positive for the country and taxpayers.

Of course, I know that's not what you meant. Because if you advocate a basic income - which purportedly would eliminate extreme economic hardship - WITHOUT in turn eliminating all the programs that are in place specifically to do the same thing? Then you're just looking for another free-money handout.

Comment Electrons (Score 1) 479

So how does this work? Is a domestic consumer is given an electron which has passed through a wind generator, there is going to be hell to pay, but a different pool of electrons must be used to export power from the state.

And sure, with a mix of energy sources, local consumption can be less than generation from coal.

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% APL is a natural extension of assembler language programming; ...and is best for educational purposes. -- A. Perlis