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Comment Re:Yes, Netflix will (Score 1) 124

Netflix is also producing TV-style programming, which is different from Hollywood movies. The economics are different, the production values are different, etc.

TV shows generally have lower production quality, but some Netflix originals I would say are near movie-quality, like House of Cards. It doesn't have the cheap TV feel that some of their series have, it's mostly on par with HBO's better efforts which I think are movie-quality.

I don't see why you couldn't use the series format with careful scheduling to get movie quality for less money; make sure you can get maximum use out of existing sets, locations, costumes -- basically shoot extra footage.

Comment Re:How to they block hotspot? (Score 1) 69

Yes, I took my iPhone 6 Plus (normally on AT&T in the US) to the UK in December. A friend in the UK had mailed me an activated Asda pay-as-you-go SIM so I could have cheap phone service and data while in the UK.

When I first got there, tethering still showed up as an option. I (unfortunately) agreed to a carrier update while I was there and lost tethering -- apparently not a part of my Asda service. It wasn't a problem while I was there, the hotel actually had good and free wifi and I only really needed data on my phone, which worked fine.

It's really shitty that carriers dig this deep and have found (yet another) way to chisel their customers. I tried digging online just now, and I really couldn't find an unlocked hotspot with US LTE bands, I'd be curious to know if carriers treat hotspot devices like tethering.

Comment After my experience Saturday, Fuck AT&T (Score 1) 69

I've been a mostly satisfied AT&T customer for the last 7 years. In their favor, good coverage everywhere I've been, including Stumblefuck, ND, and they unlocked 2 (paid for) phones quickly and easily when I went to the UK so I could use an Asda SIM. Historically trips to the store have been brief and easy and I got what I needed done without grief.

That changed on Saturday. Like most people, we haven't been upgrading handsets and my wife was complaining about problems with her iPhone 5s, so we decided to get her a new phone. She wanted a 7 Plus.

On trip one, we went in and the sales droid pulled out all the stops to get us to buy other shit. $50 iPad mini if we added a line of service. Beats wireless headphones on the table "ready to buy", DirecTV, fucking cell phone insurance plan pre-added to our account in the tablet application. After telling him to fuck off over everything he wanted to do and to not stick us on a 6 gig shared plan when we use 5.95 GB regularly, we finally finished and walked out with the new phone and a case for it (she makes the money, so she gets to buy an overpriced case, but I digress).

Sure enough when we get home -- it's an iPhone 7 -- NOT the plus model. Couldn't tell from the box without the Plus box next to it to compare (or reading the microscoping printing on the bottom label).

Go back to the store WITH the iPhone 7 Plus case we bought and explain it to a different sales droid. Told him the first salesmen brought out the wrong phone, sold us a case that didn't match it without saying anything and who can tell from the sealed iPhone box (iPhone 7 and 7 Plus packaging is IDENTICAL in appearance other than size, and the non-plus box still larger than an actual Plus phone). Told him we had wanted the Plus but been given the smaller one in error. "Why would we pick out a wrong-sized new case? Why would sell us a phone and mismatched case?"

He wanted to charge me a $45 restock fee. Store was crowded and I raised my voice and told him I wasn't paying for his mistake and I would (well, mostly) walk away to T-Mobile with all 3 lines of service. Manager heard my voice, came over and approved the exchange without the $45 fee. Then THIS guy wouldn't let up about the insurance plan -- "Are you a gambler?" Fuck off.

So I get home.....and, the dumbshit assigned MY number to the now-right new iPhone SIM. Third trip back to the store to get a new SIM for my phone and the right number on the new phone.

3 fucking trips due to their incompetence. I told the manager when I was there that he needed to focus his employees on the details of their transactions, not on the relentless upselling.

Comment Re: Yes, but it won't happen any time soon (Score 1) 124

So if a few friends and I between us manage to set up a bakery cartel, you'll happily start paying us $30 a loaf because for you to expect anything less would be the same as if you expected a free ride? How about $40 a loaf, or even $50? You'll pay it?

Thanks! That's very encouraging, and I'll be sure to take that into consideration in my business plan.

Comment Re:Doing their part (Score 1) 84

Thank you for the fine example of something known as "false equivalence".

So if I get this right, India is making a huge income off of outsourcing, H1B, etc, working for American companies developing software and then having that income funneled back into their country,

It's not India the country or the Indian government getting rich. It's some Indian businessmen getting rich off gouging the workers they send overseas.

but they won't buy that software even at reduced educational rates? Good to see they're doing their part.

That's the government of an Indian state. Whose schools in all likelihood are not getting financed by the aforementioned businessmen.

What you're suggesting is akin to suggesting that the public schools in North Dakota naturally have more money than they know what to do with because Microsoft is an American company that makes lots of money, which is not really the case, is it?

Comment Re:They did it to themselves (Score 1) 257

That's more than likely part of the high cost of OEM repairs -- they already outsource that stuff to third parties, so there are additional transaction costs of job routing and the material and overhead costs of parts depots spread all over. Plus most of the labor providers are big companies with big overheads which jacks up costs.

It would probably be good for everybody if OEMs would build out a network that used existing screwdriver shops as official repair locations. They do a lot of the work now, but are kind of cut out of the parts supply. There's one near my house I've used to help source parts for my own repairs and they say that OEM parts are tough to get because the OEMs don't supply repair parts like they used to. They often rely on EBay and stripping broken systems for parts these days.

Comment Re:Yes, Netflix will (Score 1) 124

I think an advantage for Netflix is their ability to produce niche content.

Studios have to aim for a broader appeal for any given film since they can produce and distribute fewer titles which usually have a higher budget and thus greater risk, and to hedge against risk they have gotten in the habit of re-doing what was popular before with the idea that it will be popular again. So they make a picture that's only of average quality to an average audience.

By aiming at niche audiences, Netflix makes content that may have a smaller audience but provides better than average satisfaction to the audience. I think I've heard more people talk about Stranger Things than any of the Oscar nominated films or most of movies released this year period.

I'd also wager that a 10 episode Netflix serial, even at near-movie quality production values, has some economies of scale and has a cost per running hour that is less than a Hollywood film, providing more content at aggregate cost. The difference between a 10 hour series and a 2 hour movie is often more expository scenes that make more efficient use of the cast and crew since you're getting more mileage out of costumes, settings and locations.

Comment Re:Were they ever in it? (Score 1) 128

That was my thought.

Ford has $60 billion in fixed assets on their balance sheet, Apple less than half that. I didn't see Apple ever ramping up the building of assembly plants nor doing the work to line up thousands of supplier relationships necessary to actually build an entire car.

I don't follow the auto industry, but my sense has always been that while they have a deep parts supply chain there really aren't contract manufacturers who build whole cars based on third party designs the way smartphones or computers are made.

Comment Re:They did it to themselves (Score 3, Insightful) 257

If you were running a shop fixing these things, you would have some process surrounding the job which took into account paperwork, getting the parts and laptop to the bench, opening the parts (which would no doubt be packaged up the wazoo), installing them, finishing paperwork, putting the laptop back and dealing with the old parts (electronics waste process) and putting the laptop back on the pickup shelf.

You'd be crazy if you didn't bill this as a one hour job and covering your labor costs would make it a $200 repair pretty easily. And if you were a smart business person, you'd probably also survey the market and price according to market options -- ie, buying a new laptop for $900 -- and extract another $100 in pricing.

Bam. $300 repair job. Sure, Lenovo's pricing is way out of line but they are in the business of selling new laptops, so they are going to structure pricing to motivate you to buy a new laptop.

But in the bigger picture, people fixing things as a business have other costs to consider that have to met by their labor charges. There's no such thing as pricing a labor job based solely on the time to do the primary repair. The *process* takes longer and that process is necessary to run the business and that cost has to be covered. Your personal repair speed isn't the basis of a business process.

Comment Re:"Police found Purinton 80 miles away at Applebe (Score 1) 1102

The one thing I know is you can not have a rational discussion with them about gun control.

And this is where the discussion quickly disintegrates, because any discussion with someone who believes in the right to bear arms is quickly labeled "irrational" when the person who believes in less gun control doesn't immediately agree with the person who believes in more gun control.

It is still a rational discussion even if your counter-party does not abandon their position and cede to your argument.

Nearly all the people I've known who have been gun rights advocates, even those who have been senior members of lobby organizations, have been in favor of gun control measures, usually enforcement of existing gun control laws like prohibitions on convicted felons from possessing them (as one example). In fact, a major theme is that the government itself does not prosecute many gun control measures already on the books.

I doubt more than a small percentage of the people charged with gun crimes in Chicago who are eligible for Federal charges were referred to Federal prosecutors and further, that Federal prosecutors declined to prosecute a number of cases that were referred to them. If you can charge a violent felon with a gun crime, why wouldn't you?

Because gun control advocates label any discussion which doesn't start out with "How much more gun control should we have?" as *irrational*, it's led to the belief that gun control advocates really are gun ownership ban advocates -- there isn't a threshold for them where there is "enough" gun control, they favor outright gun ownership bans and often won't say it directly.

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