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Comment Re:They actually want to kick appliances off. (Score 1) 133

I don't "misunderstand" anything, that is exactly what the device did. It didn't precool anything, it didn't ramp anything down, it just randomly shut off when too many people had their AC on (aka, when it was hottest). And in Iowa in July, even if you did know when it was about to go off and tried to "precool" (which I assure you, does not work well), you'd be burning up long before the AC kicks back in.

Comment Re:Sour Grapes (Score 1) 23

I don't really understand how this benefits Spotify as it doesn't improve the service in any way that I can see, and such a move likely makes it worse for users for petty business reasons that have nothing to do with the users.

In the short term, the only negative impact would be if the songs they're demoting are extremely popular and if the public perceives their absence as a loss in quality. Given the size of the musical corpus these days, that seems unlikely.

In the long term, this serves notice to content creators that there's no such thing as a free lunch. Normally, those content creators would have to balance the cost of exclusivity (fewer plays on those exclusive songs) against the benefits (presumably dramatically improved promotion and possibly higher royalty per click. With this policy in place, those content creators have to factor in the loss of the vast majority of their income from the other providers—not just on new content, but also on old content. That significantly changes the balance in a way that discourages these exclusive deals.

And that's a good thing. Vendor exclusivity is inherently anti-consumer.

Comment Re:Sixty Years Ago... (Score 1) 18

Well, it beats making them into the world's most complicated airplanes as with the space shuttle. SpaceX has proven that they can do vertical landings of the first stage intact onto both land and a seagoing barge; after a trip out of the atmosphere and to about 1/5 of orbital velocity but not into orbit. They plan to do a parachute-less vertical landing of the Dragon capsule after a heat-shield re-entry. That turns out to be far less expensive and complicated than a space plane. It does turn out we need a lifting body for much larger vehicles. It still doesn't have to be a plane, though.

We don't need wings.

Comment Re:Not until the laws are changed (Score 1) 128

Under 32 hours and the law would say no benefits are required.

That's not true. You're required to pay for health insurance for anyone working 30 hours or more. Similarly, you're not allowed to restrict 401k for any employer working more than 1,000 hours per year (a little over 19 hours per week).

They could cut the number of sick days or vacation days offered, but that's probably roughly the maximum extent to which they could reduce benefits other than salary.

Comment Re:They actually want to kick appliances off. (Score 2) 133

If you're willing to lose your AC during the hottest part of the day, then you might as well not have AC at all. So there's no reason to get such a device, you might as well just sell your AC.

"Pre-cooling" a house does not work. In the hottest part of the day it was enough of a challenge for the AC to just keep up.

Comment Re:They actually want to kick appliances off. (Score 2, Informative) 133

I once lived in Iowa when I lived in the US, and my then-spouse signed us up for one of those programs without consulting me first. I just came home one day and the AC was no longer operating when it was hottest. Utterly, utterly miserable, and I had to wait weeks to get the thing disconnected. Why would anyone willingly choose to have one of those things in their home?

Comment Re:Pokemon Go killed more people than Tesla Autopi (Score 1) 135

When you release something into the world, you should really understand people.

You should, but "some idiot might try to change batteries while driving" is not a kind of thing you can reasonably protect against.

More generally, at some point safety features will actually make things less safe. For example, forklifts have to sound alarm while backing. Good idea if there were always just one, but if you have many of them working in the same warehouse the resulting cacophony masks other sounds - such as the tire noise of the forklift that's about to drive over you.

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