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Comment Re: Wrong approproach (Score 1) 440

There's LOTS of tourist pickpocketings in Paris and Berlin. The touristic areas of both cities are riddled with young people with clipboards that use some excuse (like taking some poll) to distract you while they rob you. In the Paris Metro there are lots of ingenious ways to get robbed as well, including fake tourists asking for directions, people who throw up on you, people that throw their cell phones at your feet, cell phones stolen through the metro window, etc. I can also attest that there's a problem with mugging in the Amsterdam train terminal station... I was warned and was able to see it. In those three cities there is a HUGE problem with bikes getting stolen as well.

I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and think large european cities have a big problem with crime.

Comment Re:Devil's Advocate (Score 1) 595

You're missing something:

Right now headphones support volume controls and a single button. A digital interface would enable richer controls... either more buttons or touch surfaces that support simple gestures (large cans could act like the touch surface, for instance). ... I also read of the possibility of measuring the pulse through the ear with a sensor included in sport headphones.

Also: I don't know why they suppose we'd lose anything if the possibility of ripping audio through the headphone jack was lost. This hasn't been an acceptable way to rip audio for more than a decade now.

Comment Re:There's a very specific reason why (Score 1) 595

The audio is now digital, converted to analog, and then sent out through the jack. ... In a phone without the headphone jack it's the same... except the audio travels digitally to the headphone, where it's converted to analog and output. The extra meter the audio travels digitally is no worse than the same meter travelled analogically. ... Hence: You won't notice any difference in sync.

It's different with wireless speakers, like bluetooth, because there's an extra step of compression and a wireless transmission protocol that adds some latency.

Also: There's always SOME delay, even with a headphone jack. The circuit that takes video data from memory to screen and the one that takes audio data from memory to the speakers are separate and take some small amount of time. There's no magic to sync them up. Your brain won't notice delays if they're less than some amount (20ms or a bit less).

Comment Re:Greetings from Argentina (Score 1) 294

If Argentina wanted it could ditch the argentine peso and start using dollars... that's what Ecuador did at one point. It doesn't need to go cashless for that. But it's not without consequence... it'd tightly couple Argentina's economy to the US, disabling the possibility of monetary emission and the ability to adjust exchange rates to make its products as cheap and as profitable as possible. It could fall in a similar situation to that of Spain or Greece in the Euro zone without any of the advantages they have for participating. ... In fact Argentina had its currency tied to the US dollar from 1991 to 2001 through a law that equaled the value of 1 peso to 1 dollar and the possibility to convert them back and forth at will. It ended in a huge economic crisis with repercussions we're still fighting with.

Comment Re:Do not get fooled by Keynesian arguments (Score 1) 294

For a couple of years we've had a 35% tax (actually an advance on future taxes, but it works as a tax for most people) on purchases made through credit cards with foreign currency. That added to the fact that sale of dollars in the official exchange market is heavily restricted... so normal people use three different exchange rates:

- Official Dollar (restricted): currently at ARS 8.95
- Credit Card dollar (+35%): currently at ARS 12
- Black market dollar: currently at ARS 12.65

Add that to heavy restrictions on import of goods.

All these measure were put in place by the government to lessen the outflow of dollars and attempting to balance it with the dollars received through exports.

I *THINK* that the government's understanding is that if the official dollar were high (instead of the "middle class dollar", i.e. credit card and black market) that difference would mostly go in the pockets of exporters... and we know enough not to believe in the trickle down fairy tale.

Comment Re:Greetings from Argentina (Score 1) 294

As a side note: What's "normal" for us argentinians would probably be a crazy ride on the despair train for americans... although considering the whole world americans are the exception and not the norm. ... But we've had big economic crises in the near past (the last big one in 2001) and those are have:

- Political instability: Presidencies are toppled, ministers quit, vultures circle above.
- Social instability: Constant strikes, pickets, rallies and protests of all kinds.
- Credit absolutely dissapears... it's impossible to buy anything in installments, for example. Many businesses stop accepting credit cards. Importers stop selling because they don't know at what price they'll have to buy to replenish their stock. Prices are marked in dollars instead of pesos.
- Everything comes to a standstill... companies don't spend money in any projects, no new jobs open, salaries often get delayed (getting paid 2 or 3 months late is not outside of the realm of possibility) and/or cut.

Right now we're nowhere near that. People are complaining about the way things are, sure, and some things are a struggle... but we're moving ahead at a steady pace.

Comment Re:Greetings from Argentina (Score 1) 294

We don't have wild currency value fluctuations. Go here

That's a graph of conversion rate from 2009 to 2015. You'll see a steady increase with a single devaluatory hike after which the line continues steadly. It's a predictable rate in tune with inflation.

The price of the black market dollar has a bit more fluctuations... but that's the nature of the beast... just like the stock market it responds to news, scares, manipulations and such. Also, there's no official source for the actual price of the black market dollar... it's surveyed in illegal exchange dens... and of course when it soars most people wait for it to go down again, so it readjusts... it normally corrects itself in a week or two at most.

Here's the graph of the black market dollar (blue line) vs the official rate (green line)

Also, consider that the black market is mostly used by middle class and small businesses... bigger businesses, importers and other people buying large amounts of dollars use alternate sources which follow more closely the curve of the official rate.

Comment Re:Greetings from Argentina (Score 1) 294

Tax fraud is rampant in Argentina. The government having a tight control on citizens cash flow would mean more taxes... so yes, of course nobody would accept this.

Also, Argentine people distrust banks... LOTS of well educated middle class people I know don't have bank accounts or credit cards and don't want to.

Comment Re:Do not get fooled by Keynesian arguments (Score 2) 294

In #2 I state things as I see them... I am not saying it's good or desirable... just the way it's being going.

We've had a yearly 25-30% inflation for some years now. Prices rise steadily, so do salaries, and as long as they're in sync people get by. Business incorporate this percentage in their calculations... in contrast to hyperinflation scenarios where inflation is unpredictable and everything freezes for a while. Buying in installments (with "zero interest") is a big thing in Argentina and for the last years we've been able to buy appliances, clothes or plane tickets in 12 to 24 fixed installments, which talks a lot of the trust banks have that things will continue the same.

Middle class in Argentina DOES NOT invest (exceptions exist, of course). They've been burned by banks before (last time in the 2001 crisis when there were restrictions to take money out of the bank and when deposits in dollars where converted to pesos for a big devaluation of the peso). Middle class in Argentina has two traditional places to put the money:

- Hidden "under the mattress" in dollars
- Buying property

Because of the high price of the dollar and the restrictions to acquire currency these options are only attractive to the higher sector of the middle class... Standard bank accounts don't have an interest rate that helps with the inflation, or anywhere near it, so whatever is left after paying the bills you spend... ... trips are a big thing right now... my Facebook account has been full of people travelling for the last couple of years. This is because we can pay for the tickets in installments, the cost of food and other expenses is not too far from the prices in Argentina, and you can buy technology, clothes, etc. at lower prices.

Comment Greetings from Argentina (Score 5, Insightful) 294

1 - We're nowhere near desperate. We've been desperate-ish in the past... not lately.

2 - We have a high but predictable inflation... it's impossible to save in Pesos, so it stimulates spending and the economy survives.

3 - Purchase of dollars is restricted but there's a "healthy" black market that sells at a higher but well know rate (it's published in the newspapers and there are websites that inform the black market rate as well). The government counts on the existance of this black market to keep peace.

4 - Going cashless solves nothing..!!! Your cashless bank account still lists an amount of pesos and if you want to convert them to dollars the normal restrictions apply. People taking advantage of bitcoin and other schemes are simply operating in the black market... it could be bitcoin, it could be bonds or stock.

Comment Re:Install (Score 2) 182

Just install one of the many many WAMP packages (WAMP = Windows + Apache + MySQL + PHP). Typically you just run a setup executable and get a ready to use installation of Apache with PHP and a MySQL server, which normally includes phpMyAdmin and some other helpful stuff.

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