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Comment Re:kind of ruins the point....... (Score 5, Insightful) 308

Almost everything you say is valid, but:

if you're not averaging one good paper a year then there's probably something wrong with you as a researcher

That is *exactly* what Peter Higgs is complaining about. His point is that great ideas don't come about once a year - and that if he was 40 years younger he wouldn't get positions because he wouldn't be fulfilling the quota - and thus great ideas are being lost in this treadmill.

Comment What do you expect? (Score 4, Insightful) 90

It is a Mark Zuckerberg project - he hasn't exactly got a good track record for respecting people's privacy and not trying to build profiles that can be exploited down the road.

Honestly, even in a supposed "philanthropic" venture, I would always question the motive.

"Push until you meet resistance, then pull back, then push again when people aren't looking" that is the facebook/zuckerberg motto.

Comment [citation needed] doesn't help (Score 5, Insightful) 219

There is no point placing any stock in [citation needed]; these are PR companies. If someone challenges what they are adding to wikipedia with citation requests they will issue a press release, get questionable "newspapers" (i.e. trade papers, promotional puff periodicals etc.) to pick up the press release (normally it is verbatim) and then back slam that on the wikipedia text as a citation. A lovely circular piece of work that ensures the promotion continues.

One way to minimise their PR efforts is to create significant Streisand effects on their work. But some PR companies are so desperate that they would probably even be delighted with that.

Comment Re:Subsidised? (Score 4, Interesting) 108

The days of everything being far (i.e. an order of magnitude) cheaper to make in China than the west are slowly coming to an end. There is still a price advantage ATM, but it is eroding, and parity exists in some areas, and there is an actual price advantage with western labour in a few situations.

There was a documentary on UK TV last year that looked at a cushion factory which was seeing parity between its Chinese and UK plant - and this is sowing and stuffing cushions, not making high value goods:

The Town Taking on China

Basically wage costs are rising fast in China, coupled with a labour force that shops around constantly to get the best deal, playing factories off against each other (that leads not only to higher wage costs, but also difficulty in skill retention). Skill retention may not mean much when it is sowing cushions, but there is always a learning curve for efficient work, and poor retention impacts on productivity. The third string in the bow is shipping costs - the price of fuel has quadrupled in the last 15 years.

All of these things add up. The good thing is that some basic manufacturing jobs will move back to the west rebalancing the economy - the bad thing is that most manufactured goods will jump back on to the inflation conveyer belt again - after ~20 years of their cost being frozen while our pay still rose at 3-5% per year - they will be back in step again as China starts to level out with the west on living standards.

Comment Re:Ruining it for everyone (Score 4, Insightful) 288

That won't happen, because ultimately airports are only profitable as they are run as giant shops. Antiquated rules on the requirements for how long people need to be there before the flight are maintained to ensure there is a large number of trapped people sitting about who want to buy food/drink and who get bored or are addicted anyway to buying things they don't really need in shops.

Ultimately our security means little compared to the ability of the shops to sell "things" - hence the fact that we can still buy such things in the departures lounge even though it is clearly a security risk. The money they make (and thus the rent the pay to the airport) matters more than absolute security. Indeed some of the shops were no doubt delighted when the 100 ml rule came in, as now they can sell us elementary things like a bottle of water that we are not allowed to take through security.

Comment Time Travel (Score 4, Interesting) 216

We are about to begin the process of travelling back in time. Back to a time when PCs were for experts: people who coded, people who needed specialist tools and people who wanted to tinker.

The good news in this transition is that we may get back to buying a PC that is geared to what we want rather than being full of junk that tech-illiterates need (specifically in the OS). If MS don't want to provide that experience (and evidence suggests that they don't) then we will just all wipe the machines and put linux on them.

The bad news is that we will also travel back in time with the price of a PC. Inflation has ran at 3-5% for the last 25 years (give or take a couple of years), yet the cost of a baseline PC has more than halved in that time. That scale only comes with the addition of the tech-illiterate (& Chinese assembly) - once they buy pixibooks and tablets we will be left to pick up the full price for our dedicated high power PCs. The only possible depression on prices is corporate buying, but it can't be too long before they create a stable lightweight environment to get the bulk of corporate work done instead of buying a workstation for every desk.

Comment They tried... (Score 2) 130

They tried to make MS office 2013 a rental rather than a purchase - and by doing that they make an office365 rental a psychologically easier next step for ordinary users.

If they had gotten away with it then all they would have done is driven people to libreoffice (and by people I mean average people, not corporate or SOHOs) - as an average person is not interested in home computing becoming a rental experience. MS need to accept that, even if they donâ(TM)t like it.

There is still the unresolved question of what happens if MS disappears in 15 years time and I want to install a copy of office 2013 that I bought. Does whoever buys the assets of MS just say "tough, get lost and buy something new", do they say "ok we will activate it, but pay us a $20 handling fee", or do they say "sure, no problem".

Comment Re:Gotta love Armchair Quarterbacks and their simp (Score 3, Informative) 98

On the whole I am sure everyone does respect NASA, but they do have "previous" on things far simpler than the random slashdotter obtuse suggestions:

Newtons or pound-force?

I don't think anyone is suggesting that simple mistakes were the cause in this case - but the above link may help explain why a little leg-pulling by slashdotters is not crossing any lines.

"Peace out"

Comment Re:Isn't there a fallacy in this? (Score 1) 104

I think pretty much everyone on here knows that - to the extent that when I say that search is the only possible long term revenue stream for fb, I am taking it as read that everyone knows that is in relation to advertisements. There is no other mass-market revenue stream for non-physical inconsequential goods or services.

Comment Re:Isn't there a fallacy in this? (Score 4, Insightful) 104

There are many many flaws. It won't work, and they only reason they are trying to make it work is because it is the *only* possible long term sustainable revenue generation mechanism for them, and they know it.

But, as you say, it is logically broken. Further to it being broken, they risk destroying the function of the entire place that encourage people to go there ATM if it becomes some sort of recommendation/yelp market where pressure to share everything you buy, eat, listen to and watch takes over. Indeed ironically enough, google+ is actually a better platform for this to remotely work, as there is more of a culture of people grouping around topics they like rather than seeing the place as a real-life friend noticeboard/inbox.

But we can observe from the sidelines as fb try and fail. Watching the media fawn over MZ is much like watching how they fawned over people like Lance Armstrong 5+ years ago - for those who have a decent amount of knowledge it is clear that there are fraudsters at work - but the media are not interested in destroying the story. By keeping it alive they can file page after page of copy.

Comment Information Obsession (Score 2) 89

I have to say I was surprised at how insistent the new iOS application is at trying to determine your location. Every time you go into it it asks for location services to be turned on. You can skip by it, but that would be the type of setting that with other programs would be a choice only made once, not pestering every time.

It is very clear that google are obsessed about knowing locations to enable them to tie and link you to services and advertising. AFAICT though the circle can only be completed if you are logged into google services on iOS â" then they can tie the ID to an account â" otherwise they will have to fall back to IP addresses which I am guessing they wouldn't do too routinely as it is not going to be all that reliable (shared addresses etc.).

Comment Re:! stable (Score 1) 318

One switch in the privacy settings and the "advertisements" are gone.

That really isn't fine though. On something like that it has to be opt-in. Moves like that are basically guaranteeing my days with ubunt are over - any organisation that attempts to capitalize on people's ignorance or laziness to make money really doesn't have much of a moral core.

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