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Comment Re:Wait a minute (Score 1) 13

No, Apple got slapped down for a scheme where they colluded with publishers to raise ebook prices. In that case, their "give us the lowest price" clause forced publishers to charge Amazon and other ebook retailers higher prices to match Apple's prices.

In this case, Amazon isn't colluding with the publishers to raise prices, so the clause just forces the publisher to give Amazon a lower price if they give another retailer a lower price. Still kinda sleazy (kind of a perpetual price-match policy; arguably unfair to publishers - I don't exactly see Amazon offering a perpetual price match policy for stuff I buy from them), but nowhere near as bad as what Apple tried to pull.

Comment Re:Non Issue (Score 4, Informative) 139

It reset the default browser after the big October update; re-enabled Cortana and put it back on the task bar if you'd disabled it IIRC. Several updates (including the big October one) have also put Edge and the Windows Store back in your task bar if you had unpinned them.

Source: I maintain a few dozen computers spread among various clients (small businesses) as a side job. My SOP was to disable Cortana and remove it, Edge, and the Windows Store from the task bar. It was a major PITA having to do this over and over on so many computers. I seriously doubt it was user error - that would've required a few dozen users to simultaneously decide "I think I'll re-enable Cortana and pin it, Edge, and the Windows store back to my task bar" to jive with my experience Microsoft may have done it again recently - I got fed up with it and just disabled the update service on my personal Win 10 machine so I wouldn't know. My next planned update is beginning of Feb. Haven't yet made the rounds this month to check my clients' computers.

Comment Re:Tradewar (Score 1) 107

The advantage of giving someone welfare over paying them to do unnecessary work is that the person on welfare would have time to learn new skills plus you lose the overhead costs

Welfare: Give the person the money to live. Whether he takes the time to learn new skills is up to him.

Subsidized labor: In order to get the money to live, the person is forced to learn new skills to work a job (or use skills s/he already knows).

I'm actually pro-free trade and globalization. But it's been obvious for over a decade that China has been keeping its labor costs artificially low by manipulating its currency. In other words, the low prices of Chinese-made goods are actually below what the free market says they should cost. This creates an economic inefficiency where work that should be necessary and remain in the U.S. is unnecessarily moved to China to the detriment of the U.S. and benefit of China. (Because it's an inefficiency, the U.S. loses more than China gains.) While I'm generally opposed to tariffs, in this case in moderation they would help restore balance and put the economy back closer to where it should be. (The U.S. gains more than China loses.)

If the pricing of Chinese-made goods were truly dictated by the free market, then we would be in an ideal economic efficiency state, and what you say would be true. But without China's currency manipulation, most of our offshored manufacturing would've moved to other developing countries or (due to transport costs and lack of sufficient low-labor production overseas) come back to the U.S.

Comment Re:Distances (Score 1) 101

It is surprising the project comes from a nation with a relatively small territory: the benefits are much smaller than if it happened in for instance Russia, China, or USA.

It's not just that it's a small country. It's a small country with essentially one destination - 20% of the population lives in the capital (and 50% in the capital's metro area). Also, the capital is the government, financial, commercial, industrial, educational, entertainments, etc... etc... hub of the entire country. (Also very much unlike the US.)

Comment That's a lot of hysterectomies (Score 2) 141

Article is paywalled so I can't read their actual data. If R is the rate at which women die of cervical cancer, n is the number of women who die of cervical cancer, N is the population of women, and h is the fraction who have had hysterectomies.

R_initial = n / N
R_adjusted = n / (N - h*N) = (n / N) * (1 / (1-h))
R_adjusted / R_initial = 1 / (1- h)
(1-h) = 1 / (R_adjusted / R_initial)
h = 1 - 1/(R_adjusted / R_initial)

For black women, R_adjusted / R_initial = 1.77, so

h = 1 - 1/1.77 = 0.435

43.5% of black women have had hysterectomies.

For white women, R_adjusted / R_initial = 1.44, so

h = 1 - 1/1.44 = 0.306

30.6% of white women have had hysterectomies.

According to this site over 1/3 of women over age 60 have had hysterectomies. Which seems to agree with the above calculated rates. I had no idea hysterectomies were that prevalent.

Comment Re:Regular Taxi Service fears.. (Score 1) 646

The beauty of the modern world is that you don't have to get math to be able to use it. There are lots of budgeting spreadsheets and websites available for free. You can just key in your expenses and your income, and it'll spit out how much you should expect to make/save or lose.

The problem is, as OP said, we don't teach basic financial skills in high school. People who don't know how what a budget is won't even know to seek out one of these free services. I've been taking a few hours to teach these skills to my younger cousins and nephews/nieces as they get to high school because it's such an important skill that's so easy to grok, yet our school system completely ignores it.

Comment Re:Because voice apps are, by & large, stupid. (Score 1) 197

First, you have to be in exactly the right situation - there cannot be background noise or crosstalk - so essentially, a nearly SILENT room

That's what I used to think. Google lets you browse and replay your past voice recognition history. I was surprised to find the noise cancellation mics they have on modern phones are really, really good. Even stuff I said while driving on the highway with the phone in a cup holder is perfectly intelligible.

Ever since, I've been using "Ok Google" more often in noisy background situations. And most of the time it works surprisingly well.

Comment Re:Distances (Score 4, Informative) 101

Keep in mind this is a country with 2.5x the population of New York state squashed into an area about 2/3 the size of New York state. Of countries larger than 10,000 km^2, only Bangladesh, Taiwan, and Lebanon are more densely populated. The highway system is easily overburdened. During the lunar new year, when nearly everyone tries to travel to their home town, it's not unusual for an approx 400 km drive to take 24 hours.

I've traveled between Seoul and Busan by highway, regular train, and airliner. The highway takes way too long when there's traffic. Train is slower than car because of all the stops. Air travel is way too expensive and annoying (flight is 40 minutes, about same as NYC to DC, but takes about 2.5 hours due to time tied up at and getting to the airport). The country badly needs something in-between. They started a high speed rail service, so this is just a natural progression of what they're already building.

Comment Re:DMCA is a federal law (Score 5, Interesting) 207

I believe the question here is one of scope. The DMCA was created to protect copyrighted works - stuff that's supposed to be distributed throughout the public, but the creator still retains ownership rights.

These companies (and printer manufacturers with their ink cartridges) have been trying to extend the DMCA to cover what's traditionally considered a trade secret - stuff that nobody except the creator is supposed to know about. The "problem" with trade secrets (from the owner's perspective) being that if anyone figures out or reverse engineers the secret, it's no longer a secret.

As Congress hasn't made any moves to address whether or not the scope of the DMCA covers trade secrets under the guise of copyright, these states are. That way the conflict between these state laws and DMCA can be resolved through the courts, and case law setting the boundary on whether the DMCA can be extended to protect trade secrets in this manner..

Comment Re:No One Owns Anything (Score 3, Insightful) 207

And you got rental privileges. e.g. If it broke it was their responsibility to fix it, not the renter's. These companies are taking a page out of the MAFIAA who like to claim you're buying a license when you try to do anything with the CD or DVD you bought, but claim you bought a product and need to re-buy it if you accidentally break the disc and want a free replacement since you already paid for the license.

Comment Two comments (Score 1) 79

Two comments

Parallelism -- the problem with parallelism is that everyone assumes that all problems can be decomposed into problems which can be solved in parallel. This is the "I all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail" problem. There hasn't been a lot of progress on the P vs. NP front, nor does it look like there's likely to be one soon, short of true quantum computing. And no, D-Wave fans: quantum annealing is not the same thing as collapsing the composite wave for into the correct answer because you happen to own the computer in "the most sincere universe".

Productive programming -- It's amusing that a semiconductor vendor would complain about programming productivity. The main barrier to programming productivity is that the silicon doesn't think about problem solving the way you have to think about problem solving in order to get a stepwise improvement. In other words: the chip vendors are making the wrong chips. This is really easy to see if you've done VLSI design in Verilog or VHDL, or even if you've only had to deal with an FPGA. The primary difference is that the chip folks never have to deal with "can't happen" states -- so their silicon compilers simply ignore them, because you on'y ever correctly hook up a chip one way. Take a software engineer and have them code up a bit decoder in VHDL -- it's going to be 10 times larger than what a chip designer would produce because of collapsing "don't care" to something reasonable.

Other than that... interesting interview, even if it doesn't cover a lot of ground, overall.

Comment Re:A problem without a good solution. (Score 1) 287

There isn't really a good solution to this.

Yes there is. It's staring everyone in the face but they don't want to acknowledge it because it amounts to self-sacrifice and tough love. The solution is to help the third world country modernize so their GDP per capita increases until it's roughly on par with developed nations. Then they will be able to afford the software. That's what we were doing with globalization (shifting some developed world jobs to third world countries). But enough people in developed countries got pissed off with "their" jobs going overseas that they've elected nationalist leaders to stop it.

Any other work-around to this problem simply delays the third world country being able to modernize. If they charge a lower price for the software in that country (ignoring the issue of people in developed countries buying it cheaper in the third world country), then that lessens upward pressure on local wages. People there are able to afford the software, so they're less likely to ask for / demand higher wages so they can buy the software (they'll just pirate it instead). Which slows down the rate at which the country's GDP per capita increases.

If you want to help software users in poor countries, the best way to do it is by helping them modernize and grow their economy. Doing them "favors" like giving them cheaper software, or food aid, or charity medical care just hurts them in the long run. (Food aid lowers the value of natively grown crops, making it harder for farmers to earn money to improve their crop yields. Medical charity decreases mortality rate and encourages the population to grow more than the native food production can support, making them even more reliant on foreign food aid. The best way is to help them grow their economy so their own farmers can produce enough crops to feed themselves. And for their own citizens to become doctors so they can open up native hospitals.)

Comment Re:Da faq? (Score 1) 115

I've got a few cameras that require a crappy Internet Explorer only configuration "web" interface

I've seen several that require IE for in-browser AUDIO, but that's all. Every camera I've purchased can do configuration and video with any browser, and you can do audio with native apps on any platform (just not in-browser), going all the way back to Axis cameras just shy of two decades ago.

In fact, it seems ALL network cameras made today support ONVIF, so there's a compatible standard they all support (though maybe not in your browser of choice). There's nothing unreliable about any of them I've used, and I can't even remember user comments anything like that.

I'm completely unwilling to give a camera Internet access and allow it to connect to its vendor's website.

It's true they all OFFER a DDNS option, but you can easily turn that off. And recently a large number of the cheapest cameras require a proprietary phone app for setup, but there are still plenty with web interfaces that setup and work just fine with an incorrect gateway address or firewall rules preventing egress. I just bought a $30 one recently.

I'd much prefer a full Linux under my own control than a black box camera OS that wants an Internet connection and can be controlled by the vendor's website.

They're all Linux under the surface, you just need to look around for instructions on gaining access. Often it's just a one-line change in the firmware image before flashing to enable telnet access, or finding the serial port pins on the board, or similar.

Comment Re:Tables are turning (Score 1) 482

Actually, a fine of $10 per MWh almost exactly eliminates the disparity in Federal subsidies for renewables (excluding biomass aka burning wood) vs fossil fuels. (Table ES2 divided by Table ES3 to get subsidy dollars per BTU, divide by 293071 to convert trillion BTUs to MWh.)

Coal = $1085 million subsidy / 5923 MWh = $0.18 per MWh
Gas = $2346 million subsidy / 8309 MWh = $0.28 per MWh
Nuclear = $1600 million subsidy / 2379 MWh = $0.70 per MWh
Biomass = $629 million subsidy / 1317 MWh = $0.48 per MWh

Hydro = $395 million subsidy / 756 MWh = $0.52 per MWh
Geothermal = $345 million subsidy / 64.5 MWh = $5.35 per MWh
Wind = $5936 million subsidy / 454 MWh = $13.07 per MWh
Solar = $5328 million subsidy / 83.8 MWh = $65.57 per MWh
Total of above four = $12004 million subsidy / 1358 MWh = $8.84 per MWh

So it's not really an unapologetic subsidy for the coal industry. It's a leveling of the playing field.

Comment Re:I'm ok with this... (Score 1) 482

They'd probably be just fine with a dome over their state. Wyoming only has 586,000 people. Its population density is 1/27th that of New York, 1/16 that of California, and 1/6th the world average. In contrast, their forested area is 1/6th that of New York, 1/2 that of California, and 1/3 the world average. If you put a dome over their state, they could emit roughly 2x more CO2 per capita than the world and New York average, 8x more than California's average, and their air's CO2 concentration would still be lower due to their forests scrubbing it out.

I didn't vote for Trump and am horrified at the thought of what his Presidency could bring. But your mistaken assumption legitimzes what Trump's supporters have been saying about the election results - that the people living in the 2% of U.S. counties which voted for Clinton simply don't understand the problems and living conditions faced by people living in the 98% of the U.S. counties which voted for Trump. In fact if we took your dome idea and applied it across the country, and you added up net CO2 generation minus absorption by vegetation, you'd probably find the Clinton voter counties are net CO2 producers while Trump voter counties are net CO2 reducers by a massive margin. It's the urban areas and the trendy environmentalists which would suffocate first. The rural areas and real environmentalists trying to live sustainably off the land would be just fine.

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