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Comment I wish Excel had custom data types (Score 1) 313

And not just data formatting.

It would be nice to be able to define a data type and some rules and limits of progression.

I could see the value in defining an arbitrary data type that was comprised of a fixed set ("Apples", "Pears", "Oranges", "Bananas") with no progression (ie, no set member has precedence or rank) or perhaps some with progression or rank (fetus, infant, toddler, child, adolescent, adult, senior). Cells formatted as belonging to a data type would only accept those values as valid entries, and sorting would apply the set's rules of simple progression if there were any.

It might help for other numeric-based data types, such as IP addresses, where it would be helpful to define rules of progression around some kind of delimiter. If they could only add one new data type, I wish it was IP addresses.

There's probably complex ways of doing this with macro/scripting, but, they end up being complex and one of the main reasons so many people use Excel because it makes it trivial to manage lists. Trivial tasks that get made complex end up being done sloppy.

Comment Re:modus operandi doesnt seem to make any sense. (Score 2) 61

Or maybe russian hackers understand that US Media outlets actively collaborate and conspire with political campaigns during election seasons to control and direct dissent within the party and defuse potential scandalous or controversial events in an effort to ensure a positive return on their future investment.

I'd say that's just too conspiratorial. The Russians probably realize that the Times' editorial bias favors Clinton. The Russians aren't trying to aid Trump or necessarily defeat Clinton. What they probably want is to minimize Clinton's ability to command some kind of "mandate" sized victory and maintain the fractured domestic political structure.

A non-landslide victory by Clinton will be met with at least as much if not more obstructionism by Republicans and a level of continued division in the public. Distract and divide benefits the Russians because it keeps whoever runs the US from having the political capital to make bold steps.

Comment Re:When everything you do (Score 1) 531

the fact that mbox is a terrible format for storing email with concurrent read/write access

And that's the weakness of an uncoordinated do one thing model. You're stuck with the common denominator of the uncoordinated legacy component of the system.

If you want to database the email, you break everything but MTAs. You need delivery agents and access daemons and clients that work with the database format.

Comment So LTE is the sweet spot for profits? (Score 1) 50

Fast enough that it's highly usable for more than mobile "data light", so it has inherent value to data consumers, allowing both the carriers to charge for it and for consumers to consume it fast enough that they will pay high fees for large consumption tiers, fat overages when they exhaust their allocation or both.

If 5G pans out anything like the hype, carriers will have to change their pricing strategies. As most Slashdot posters note, you'd burn through current allocations ridiculously fast.

But as much as people like data, there's also a limit as to how much they will consume. I wonder if AT&T is worried that the pricing changes likely necessary with 5G speeds will cross some line on a chart that causes data to be less profitable. A lot of people will end up staying within their plan or find lower end plans usable.

Comment Re: Stupid politicians (Score 2) 442

I'd love to know how this was enforced or failed to be enforced.

I can see something like:

"Clause 69: The Telecommunications Widget Freedom Tax may not be identified or listed as a line item on any telecommunications bill."

Telecom Bill: Government Freedom Tax For Widgets...$1.97

Regulator: You can't list that on the bill.

Telco: We don't list the tax by its actual name, just a tax of a similar sounding name. Oh, and First Amendment protects our speech to our customers.

Comment Re:50 Shades of USB? (Score 1) 55

It's too bad the USB consortium can't get their marketing speak right.

As I understand it, what we think of USB 3 is really USB 3.1 gen 1. Gen 2 adds 10 Gbits/sec as the maximum speed.

It's too bad they're marketing speed is so brain damaged, the widespread USB 3 has managed to produce useful high speeds with negligible CPU overhead.

Getting 10 Gbits/sec out that port is pretty decent, and I wish there was better vendor support for devices traditionally connected via SAS for use of 3.1 gen 2 ports.

Comment Re:Broken Windows Policing (Score 1) 191

The "financial pressures" of drug addiction are the result of the risks of drug dealing being built into the price of illegal drugs, not the material price of drugs.

I bought 150 mg (total, 30 x 5 mg) oxycodone for $6.32 when I last had a prescription. That price is so low that the pharmacy doesn't even charge you the copay, they just sell it at the retail price. And that retail price has all the high costs associated with an insane amount of tracking and regulation of a schedule II drug built into it, including profit for the drug maker, distributor and retail outlet. Opiates are trivial drugs to manufacture, pennies per dose at any kind of industrial scale.

Heroin would be less than a dollar a dose if it was legalized, there would be no financially induced crime to support heroin habits if it was legalized. Even if you excise taxed it by 500% to make its self-fund treatment programs and miscellaneous ancillary social programs and there still wouldn't be any wave of property crimes to support habits.

And when I say legalize prostitution, of course it's implied that I'm not talking about prostitution as structured as an illegal transaction but as a voluntary legal trade, which would presumably be likely to have medical coverage as a requirement for any kind of employer running a house of prostitution given the inherent health issues associated with sexual contact.

Of course Obama doesn't take marijuana off Schedule I because he's beholden to the establishment political interests -- police, pharma, and probably some polling-identified bloc of voters Democratic political strategists don't want to offend because they let them win some key state.

Comment Re:Stupid politicians (Score 1) 442

I think it is a PR move designed to prevent the line item fees that so many industries love to tack onto bills, like the airlines, cable companies, Ticketmaster, and so on, so they can claim it costs $9.99 but with fees it's really $15.99.

I think some of these are partly protest-inspired to show how much of what you pay has nothing to do with the service (ie, when it's a government fee) but obviously many of these surcharges are invented by the company themselves and tacked on just to make money and make the cost of their service totally opaque and give them the ability to get away with dishonest advertising of a price you can't actually pay.

Honestly, I think Uber's success is at least partly owed to the flat-rate nature of the service charge and without the cab-style "airport fee, toll fee, congestion fee" type charges that get tacked onto the meter amount. It's hard to see Uber *wanting* change their billing structure in pure protest to show a nickel of tax. I think they would rather just hike the price a nickel internally. Uber prices vary so much that nobody would notice anyway if went up that small of an amount.

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