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Comment Re:Selection bias (Score 1) 196

I think it's also important to consider that satisfaction surveys tend to suffer from a sort of selection bias. You're only getting feedback from people who feel compelled to give feedback.

I worked for a big, big global company for a number of years. IT was run from call centres around the world, so that anybody working anywhere would always find somebody in a convenient timezone to work on the problem for at least a few hours, even if the ticket was submitted at the end of the business day for the person with the problem.

And if the IT people fixed the problem quickly, there was always a request to complete a satisfaction survey.

Curiously, if they didn't fix the problem quickly, there was no such request.

This kind of situation is not limited to customer surveys, it applies to all manner of Key Performance Metrics and other measurements.

Where I live right now, there is a straight section of road through a residential area.

There were complaints to the town police about cars being driven at excessive speeds, and requests for traffic calming measures. The town opposed the expenditure.

To prove that the measures were not necessary, a few police officers were given the task of measuring average speeds along the road. Of course, being deployed along a public road they had be be safe, so they wore high-visibility jackets at they pointed radar speed-detection guns at oncoming vehicles. And guess what? Not a single vehicle exceeded the limit during the operation. Ergo, no need to install expensive traffic calming measures.

Comment Re:What corners did they cut? (Score 1) 372

Taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

As of September 2016, two EpiPens cost around $100 in France and around $200 in Germany.[40]

As of September 2016, two Jext autoinjectors cost about £8.5 in Britain, and the National Health Service pays around £48 (US$73.33) in order to make them available; that price was about 17 percent less than 2013.[40] US

In October 2016 the CEO of Mylan testified to Congress that Pfizer/King charged Mylan about $34.50 for one EpiPen.[29] The devices deliver about $1 worth of drug.[27] In September 2016, a Silicon Valley engineering consultancy performed a teardown analysis of the EpiPen and estimated the manufacturing and packaging costs at about $10 for a two-pack.[82]

The EpiPen, manufactured by King, a subsidiary of Pfizer, and marketed by Mylan, has dominated the market.[54] In 2007 when Mylan acquired the rights to market the product, annual sales of all epinephrine autoinjectors were about $200M and EpiPen had around 90% of the market; in 2015 the market size was around $1.5B and Mylan still had about 90% of the market.[28][54] Mylan raised the price from around $100 for a package of two EpiPens in 2007 to around $600 in 2016.[75] In the United Kingdom, an EpiPen costs £26.45 as of 2015.[83] In Canada they are about 120 CAD each.[84]

So, making them available at $50 each, CVS is not cutting any corners, just charging a similar price to what commercial suppliers in Europe are charging, and if those suppliers in Europe were not making an acceptable profit, they would abandon the business.

If Mylan is paying about $34.50 to its suppliers, it can charge $50 and be making $16 a piece on them. Let's say Mylan sold them at $60 a pop, that's $24, or almost a 70% mark-up, and still much less than the current price.

Comment Re:Makes sense (Score 1) 60

I seem to remember from a while back (maybe a couple of years) some research that addressed this.

Researchers in Australia looked at ethnically Chinese kids in Australia and in Singapore, so genetically almost identical populations. The kids in Singapore spent much more time indoors, whereas the kids in Australia spent at least two (IIRR) hours per day at school outdoors.

It seems that exposure to natural light, most likely to UV spectrum, signals to the eye when to stop growing. In the absence of this signal, a kid's eyes continue to grow after the skull has stopped growing. The result is that the eye bulges, increasing the distance between the lens and the retina, giving rise to myopia.

The eyes of the kids in Australia were getting enough light to stop growing, the eyes of the kids in Singapore were not getting enough light and continue to grow.

Comment Re:They are trying for fame and fortune! (Score 2) 24

But doesn't the exchange simply reverse the trades once it is discovered that there was some manipulation like this?

There's little point in trying to push a stock into a nose dive like that. The billions you make will last for seconds before they evaporate.

On the other hand, I see little point to "Syrian Electronic Barmy Army Woz 'Ere" type graffiti

Apple

Submission + - iTunes credit; how can I get a partial refund or credit note? 1

Keith_Beef writes: Imagine you went to a big department store and bought a pair of running shoes. You went home, and the following day got invited to a wedding. You realise your money would have been better spent on a pair of dress shoes, so take back the unworn running shoes. The store manager is happy to give you a credit not so you can buy the dress shoes, of course. After all, he still gets to sell you what you want, and he gets your money. Both you and the store manager are happy.

My young son made a mistake... Thinking he could use iTunes gift cards to purchase an iPad, he put the iTunes Gift Cards he had received as gifts into his iTunes account and then took all his cash savings down to CVS to buy more cards and put those into his account, too, to a total of $427.

Well, Apple won't allow you to use iTunes money to buy hardware, as we discovered. So I contacted iTunes Support at Apple to explain the situation, and ask how to organise a refund of the $427 so my son could buy the iPad.

Like the department store analogy: Apple had a chance there to keep my son happy, impress me with its customer service, make a device sale that would lead to future sales of apps, music and videos, and generally do the right thing by its customers.

So do you think Apple has been understanding and helpful? Not one bit. I even offered to accept a partial credit of $327, leaving $100 in the iTunes account for him to spend later. Apple doesn't want to help.

iTunes Support at Apple has refused to budge one iota: the response from the outset has been "iTunes credit is for the iTunes store; it cannot be used to buy hardware; there are no refunds". I managed to get the case escalated one level, but the person who has it now and who describes herself as "Senior Advisor iTunes Store/Mac App Store Customer Support" is not being helpful and is now refusing to escalate to a higher level. Here are two statements from her last email to me.

"My supervisor is the entity of Apple as a whole and therefore, I am here to help you directly. I am the end of the line for this matter."

"no further information pertaining to the issue is available, I do apologize however any further correspondence regarding the issue will not be addressed."

And just to put a cherry on top, she ends with this.

"Your experience is very important to us and we truly appreciate your continued devotion to the iTunes Store. Have a wonderful day."

Apple's left hand (iTunes store) apparently cannot talk to its right hand (the iPad and Mac store), even though the left hand and right hand need each other.

What I'm asking for here on Slashdot is for any advice on how to proceed, or for examples or links to stories about people having successfully persuaded Apple or another big corporation to take a more customer-friendly approach.

Piracy

Submission + - Don't Forget: "Six Strikes" Starts this Weekend (dslreports.com)

Dr. Eggman writes: If don't recall, then Broadband/DSL Reports is here to remind us that ISPs around the US will begin adhering to the RIAA/MPAA-fueled "Six Strikes" agreement on July 1st. Or is July 12th? Comcast, AT&T, Verizon and Cablevision are all counted among the participants. They will each introduce "mitigation measures" against suspected pirates, including: throttling down connection speeds and suspending Web access.

Comment Re:It's not dead, it's fun! (Score 1) 405

Pavement is the material itself, such as asphalt, concrete, etc. The word "pave" means to cover a surface. Sidewalk, road, driveway, and such refer to the use of the paved area. You don't typically call your house "bricks" or "wood" or whatever it may be constructed from, so why call a sidewalk "pavement".

In British English, the terms "pavement" and "paved" also tend to have a strong sense of a surface being covered with "paving stones" as opposed to being covered by a continuously poured material such as tarmac, asphalt or concrete, a process known as "metalling". So the pavements are paved, and the roadway is metalled.

We adopted metalling for the roadway long before using it on the pavements, and it is still very common to find pavements that are flagged (i.e., covered with big flagstones) .

But we also use "footpath" and sometimes "causeway" (pronounced kz.i in some areas) for the bit reserved for pedestrians.

K.

Comment Re:That is like suing Ford (Score 1) 365

Eh? Am I having a slow brain day, or what?

To look at the car example, it would be like saying that we are going to take cars away from everybody except those who do hit and runs. We'll let them keep their cars and give them more targets when people start walking in the road since nobody else has cars, so they don't expect to be hit. Oh, and we'll also remove all stoplights and speed limits. See how well it works out for society.

No...

The idea that you take the [cars|guns] away from reasonable people and expressly allow the unreasonable people to keep their [cars|guns], and to furthermore remove all restrictions on the use of those [cars|guns] is just ridiculous, and not at all what understood from errandum's post.

You already have gun control, and have the legal mechanisms:

  • - for removing guns from those who should not possess them,
  • - for preventing those who should not possess them from obtaining them.

This is just like the mechanisms that you have in place to try to prevent people from driving cars when should not do so

  • - because they have not demonstrated competence (i.e., not passed a driving test),
  • - because they have demonstrated disregard for the safety of others (i.e., been caught too often drunk at the wheel, speeding, driving without insurance etc.).

But your legal system does not have the practical means to enforce the legal mechanisms.

Fix your gun control system first: take the guns out of the hands of the unreasonable people.

K.

Comment Re:Celestia and Stellarium for classroom presentat (Score 1) 377

Not only that, but I find that using those programs is really useful for planning.

  • If you know which particular constellation you want to show the class, you can find out when it will be visible,
  • If you know that you have a particular time slot, you can find out which constellations will be over the horizon (and tree/building line) and whereabouts to look for them.

What you really don't want, when showing constellations to kids, is to spend ages looking around for something interesting in the sky. A few in the class might have the patience for it, but not the rest. And if you can'tshow them the Plough, Cassiopeia and Orion quickly enough, they'll start shouting to see Uranus.

K

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