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Comment Re:Subscription model (Score 2) 978

I entirely agree that they need revenue - I wasn't saying that I shouldn't give anything back. What I give back is advertising revenue, by being willing to accept advertisements in return for the content. It's been how the Web has generally worked for years, and also supports TV channels and free newspapers etc. My worry is that because blocking ads is becoming so prevalent, this model is becoming uneconomical, and so that option is being taken away.
If they can offer subscriptions that provide more value, then that's great, absolutely, and something which I might well look into at those sites which I value most. I still have a subscription to a print magazine despite most if its articles being posted online, for one, because sometimes it's nice to read a print magazine. I also pay my TV license for the BBC, which I could legitimately opt out of because I watch next to no live TV, but I don't begrudge that considering the BBC content I consume. My concern is that casual browsing in return for advertisements will become increasingly less possible.
I'd be happy if the choice was either to accept ads or pay a subscription (maybe with some extra incentives), certainly. I just don't want the latter to start becoming the only option, as has started to become the case on some sites.

Comment Re:Subscription model (Score 1) 978

I hope that we won't see many more sites moving to a paywall model. There are few sites that I'm sufficiently interested in on a day-to-day basis that I'm going to pay a subscription fee to access them - I'll just turn away. Just yesterday I saw what might have been a vaguely interesting article on a pay site (a large American newspaper, though I forget which - no, not the NYT), but I only got the first couple of sentences unless I signed up with a view to paying monthly. I never normally read that site and I'm not likely to start, so I'd never subscribe. Nor would I have paid for the article itself, microtransaction-style: opinion articles on Apple's future direction aren't important enough to me that I'd open my wallet. I'd much rather have read the article and given them their ad revenue (as I don't block ads).
A lot of the value of the Web to me is being able to flit between sites, not being locked out of most unless I make a long-term commitment or having to make regular judgments about the monetary value of content I haven't read. That loss of freedom and immediacy would be a significant one, for me, and I'm more than willing to tolerate some ads to keep that.

Comment Re:hah! (Score 1) 238

Aggregated, non-personally identifiable information would presumably be things like "we have 300,000 daily users in Chile" or "our data shows that 40% of our Californian audience are interested in technology", so that potential Chilean and Californian advertisers know what reach they might be getting, or "the Olympics was a popular search term in the UK last summer", as seen here. They're not going to share your personal search history, partly because it would be against their policies and would cause significant trouble for them, and partly because this is one of their main assets. Anyone can show you ads, but Google and Facebook can promise to target those ads based on the profiles they've build up of you, thus making them worth more to advertisers. It's wasteful to show ads to people who just aren't interested, but it's great if you can show them to the right people at the right time.

Comment Re:Chromebook (Score 1) 417

The problems that she complained about were primarily associated with using an online banking system, in which she wasn't able to access certain parts of the page because of how it rendered and scrolled on her iPad. As a consequence she expressed the desire to get some kind of laptop. I haven't verified the problems, though - I don't have one myself.

Comment Re:Chromebook (Score 2) 417

I'm thinking of recommending one to my mother. She's generally happy with an iPad as her only computing device, but has encountered some limitations when using websites that aren't designed for mobile browsers. A Chromebook seems like a good option for her if the web browsing experience is essentially the same as a desktop version of Chrome.

Comment Re:The best plan (Score 1) 225

Also my strategy. I got a new Galaxy S III recently, and as usual was offered insurance... at the prices the mobile phone operators are asking, you'd be paying around 50% of the cost of buying a new phone SIM-free over a 24-month contract. This means that the chances of me losing or breaking my phone in any 24-month period needs to be above 50% for it to be worthwhile. I've had three previous smartphones over 5 years and haven't lost or broken one yet, so insurance doesn't make any economic sense for me if I'm paying the cost of a new phone every 4 years to insure them but the interval between my insurance claims is >4 years (based on the trend to date). I'd have to need to claim twice in the next 3 years just to break even.

Comment Re:Never trust security through obscurity (Score 3, Interesting) 133

Cash works here, but I'd rather use a card if the store accepts one, because it's more convenient for me. Cash involves trips to the ATM, bulking out my wallet with coins, and hopefully having appropriate denominations for the purchase at hand (a £20 note seems a bit much for a 60p purchase, while a collection of 10p and 5p pieces is going to be annoying if it's £5). If it gets stolen, it's essentially guaranteed lost, which means I shouldn't carry a lot of it at once, whereas if my card gets stolen, I can hopefully cancel it before it's used by the thief, which Chip and PIN makes more difficult. There are also additional protections afforded for purchases on credit cards, and my credit card offers 1% cashback. Yes, it would be stupid to run up credit card debt, but that's easy to avoid by paying the full balance each month.

I'll pay by cash if I have to, but I'd much rather pay by card, which means I always have the right amount to hand and I get nothing back but a receipt.

Comment Re:The problem is shifting liability (Score 1) 133

If this story is to be believed, you can get away with signing pretty much anything and it's highly unlikely that anyone will even look at your signature.

Chip and PIN might not be perfect, but at least it makes it more than entirely trivial to use a card that you've just found somewhere in a store.

Comment Also hand-counted on paper in the UK (Score 1) 500

The system is similar in the UK. You go to your assigned polling station (of which there are many - probably no more than a few thousand voters per station, at least those I have known). You hand in the polling card that was posted to you in advance, or provide ID, and your details are checked, marked off, and you get a paper card. You walk to a booth enclosed on two sides, place an X next to the candidate you want to vote for, fold it and place it in the box. When the polls close, the boxes are sealed, and then that night or the next day the votes are counted by hand. I don't know exactly how the scrutineering is performed, but the low numbers of voters per polling station makes this feasible.

Comment Alters DNA? (Score 5, Informative) 91

"Promiscuity Alters DNA" makes it sound like promiscuity directly causes mutations. It seems, rather, that it results in greater variation in vaginal bacteria, a state which creates selective pressure favouring increased diversity in genes involved in the functioning of the immune system... which isn't quite the same thing.

Submission + - BBC Interviews Apple vs Samsung Jury Foreman (bbc.co.uk) 1

MrSteveSD writes: The BBC has published a long interview with Velvin Hogan, the jury foreman in the Apple vs Samsung case. He still seems to be sticking to a rather confused definition of what constitutes prior art.

I showed the jurors that the two methods in software were not the same, nor could they be interchangeable because the hardware that was involved between the old processor and the new processor — you couldn't load the new software methodology in the old system and expect that it was going to work.

Comment Re:get a real car (Score 2) 309

I believe that torque converters are generally less efficient than the use of a mechanical clutch, due to the inherent losses involved in having a heavy additional piece of machinery that transmits torque through a fluid bearing compared to the relatively simple and direct clutch mechanism. No matter how intelligently the car shifts, the simpler transmission in a manual is inherently more efficient. CVT might be better than manual, though.

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