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Comment Re:Makes more sense (Score 1) 222

The problem is the particular business model they use: impose a specific cap based upon the plan, and then charge large overage rates if you go over.

If it were just a matter of paying a base charge and then paying per GB (or similar) used, then it might make sense. Those overage rates, however, make the model problematic at best. Especially when they fail to notify customers that they're getting close to their quota.

Comment Insufficient evidence (Score 1) 133

I think that there's a good probability that this claim is true, but all that this shows is that people who pirate or don't pirate believe it to be the case that having legal options for accessing content is a better deterrent. Unfortunately, humans very often do not understand their own motivations.

What you'd need to do to actually tease out the causation here is to do actual policy trials. This is exceedingly difficult, unfortunately, as it's not so easy to just mandate that some number of people be given access to legal content: there's a lot of infrastructure work involved, and it requires licensing agreements. I don't think it's completely impossible, just hard.

In the mean time, I think it should be natural to accept the conclusion of the OP article until evidence against it is presented.

Comment Re:what a load of shit (Score 1) 233

Yup! What's more, in this particular case very roughly half of the people who said they would ride in a self-driving car said they would do something else. This doesn't indicate that there would be no productivity gain. It indicates that there would be none for some people (and I'd bet nervousness would decline over time).

Comment Patently absurd (Score 1) 495

I can understand removal of the headphone jack from a phone (to some extent): modern phone design is extraordinarily tight and removing every little piece can help the overall design. But on a laptop? There's no design reason to do this. The cost of the jack is tiny. The utility isn't huge for all users, but it's definitely useful for a large number of them.

Why would they even need to field a survey for this? If Bluetooth or other wireless headphones become ubiquitous, maybe. But not until then.

Comment Re:It's 2010 again (Score 2) 217

I think it's mostly just Samsung that still has hardware home/back/switcher buttons for Android devices. Most other devices use the built-in software buttons. I strongly prefer the software buttons myself, for two main reasons:

1. There's a fourth menu option for some apps that isn't anywhere visible on phones with hardware buttons (it shows up as three dots and displays a small pop-up menu on phones with software buttons). If I remember correctly, you long-press either the back or app switcher buttons to view it on phones with hardware buttons. I think the use of this feature is less common in modern Android apps, though.

2. Especially when using the device in landscape mode, I very frequently hit either the back or switcher buttons accidentally, which, depending upon the app, can interrupt my activity. This is the #1 reason why I switched my Samsung tablet over to Cyanogenmod, as there's an option to disable the hardware buttons (the other reason being I really don't like Samsung's custom skin).

Comment This doesn't make any sense (Score 1) 395

Google Play Services is just a library. It doesn't access locations itself, but offers an interface for retrieving location information. Apps still have to have location permission themselves to get location information through Google Play Services (See the description of the api here, particularly the "Specify App Permissions" section).

Comment Re:Just get out of education (Score 1) 420

The problem is that the economic theory results that produce good outcomes for market systems have a number of major assumptions, assumptions that are entirely violated in this situation.

One of those assumptions is perfect information. For-profit schools are very good at deceiving their students with a variety of wild promises, and as new students don't usually have good access to the people who would be making decisions about hiring them later, those students just aren't adept at separating the truth from the lies.

Another issue is that these market arguments rely upon the concept of individual utility maximization. But education is one of those things that doesn't just benefit a single person in isolation: a more highly-educated populace is better for everybody, not just for those receiving the education. By ignoring overall utility, these simple macroeconomic arguments are maximizing the wrong thing.

Finally, the simple macroeconomic case here assumes that everybody has the same capacity to spend, even if they have differing desire to spend. In reality, making student loans less available will do nothing but price poor students out of college, which will exacerbate intergenerational income inequality (that is, it will serve to help keep the poor poorer and the rich richer). If we want a society where everybody has a chance to succeed based upon their own merits and work, then we need to have free education for all. Period.

Comment Re:Just get out of education (Score 1) 420

1. Having a broad education is valuable for a number of different reasons. Not least of which is that it benefits society as a whole when people have a decent understanding of the world around them. University isn't and shouldn't be all about job preparation.

2. Most of the uptick in university costs has been a result of ballooning administrative pay. This has in large part mirrored the exploding pay of upper management in many private organizations. Making more schools private won't help this problem: it may well exacerbate it.

3. An actual solution to this kind of thing would involve more direct funding of the schools. If states and/or the federal government directly funded schools to the point that education was close to free for students, then they could quite reasonably put into place policies that would restrict administrative pay at such institutions. In fact, there would be a lot of pressure to do exactly this as expensive universities would look quite bad.

Comment Re:State colleges give garbage degrees (Score 1) 420

This is generally not true. Sometimes it's a matter of people picking the wrong degree. But these days a bigger problem is just people who graduated around 2008-2010. A huge fraction of the pain of this most recent crash fell squarely on the shoulders of recent grads, and this had nothing at all to do with their skills or the quality of their educations.

Today, new grads are doing better, though we're still not back to healthy levels. What we need for this kind of issue where it relates to education policy is that education should be publicly-funded to the point that it's free or nearly free, so that people can go to school without fear of winding up deep in debt and unable to pay that debt. Having better macroeconomic policy at the national level to prevent or mitigate this kind of crash would also be nice.

Comment Re:Just get out of education (Score 0) 420

You might want to look into precisely why ITT lost their accreditation. They were essentially operating a scam: promising students that they would prepare them to enter the workforce, while actually providing nothing of the sort. This is the norm with for-profit institutions. I don't understand why you think that more for-profit institutions would help with this.

Comment More about entrapment, less about informants (Score 4, Insightful) 106

It's perfectly reasonable for law enforcement to allow some informants to commit certain crimes while attempting to shut down a larger organization. Simply reporting the number of times that this happens says nothing one way or the other about whether the FBI is doing a good job at making use of this power.

Personally, I'm much more worried about the times that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies engage in sting operations where they use such informants to urge people to commit legal activity and then arrest them for it. Some fraction of these informants may well be doing just this sort of thing, but the report of merely the number of informants doesn't say anything about that. Here is one example of such entrapment. Quoted from the above page:

The judge criticized not only the defendants, but also what she viewed as the government's overzealous handling of the investigation. Referring to Cromitie, she said, "The essence of what occurred here is that a government, understandably zealous to protect its citizens from terrorism, came upon a man both bigoted and suggestible, one who was incapable of committing an act of terrorism on his own. It created acts of terrorism out of his fantasies of bravado and bigotry, and then made those fantasies come true." She added, "The government did not have to infiltrate and foil some nefarious plot – there was no nefarious plot to foil." She said the defendants were "not political or religious martyrs," but "thugs for hire, pure and simple."

Comment Re:Do we nned it? (Score 1) 164

The main thing that the doze mode does is make it so that while your phone is sitting in your pocket, it uses almost no battery. With older Android phones, they rarely last much more than a day without draining the full battery even if you don't use them much. With an Android M or N OS, the devices should last a few days with light usage.

This feature provides little to no benefit for battery usage while the phone is being actively used.

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