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Comment Not entirely a user problem. (Score 1) 244

A 20% error rate on 35,000 files isn't entirely a user problem. Yes, the user ultimately has complete control and the issue could have been corrected if the user had carefully verified the data. In that sense, it's a user problem. However, if the tool is so counter-intuitive that roughly 20% of a large sample people make the same mistake, it's Excel's problem too.

I wonder if an aluminum extension ladder analogy is a first on /. ?

Consider an aluminum extension ladder... :-)

Suppose the locking mechanism on the ladder worked properly when the user carefully verified that it was engaged. The user has complete control. If the mechanism was so counter-intuitive that 20% of the users ended up making the same error and falling off, it wouldn't be brushed off as a problem with stupid or careless users. There's no question whatsoever that the manufacturer would be held partially responsible. Hell, if they sold 35,000 ladders and found out that there had been 100 accidents because of confusion about the lock, they'd yank the product off the market immediately and probably face lawsuits.

Comment Re:Good luck (Score 1) 165

Politicians are always the same. All they do is appeal to whatever they see as the current mentality that will get them (re)elected.

There's a name for politicians that don't do that -- they are called "non-politicians". You don't get to govern if you can't get into (or stay in) office.

There's a clear Darwinian-style process at work there.

Comment Re:I don't get it (Score 1) 114

I think you've hit the nail on the head. Nevertheless, I do want to point out that there is a simple case where a pressurized tank will hold just fine, but will leak like a sieve if the pressure is lowered: an internal flap that is being held in place against a hole by the high pressure, that is no longer being held sufficiently tightly when the pressure is lowered. The flap, in this case, might well be unintentional, like from an overlapped seam of two panels. It turns out that the flapper valve in most toilets works just in that way: it depends on the weight of the water to ensure a good seal, leaking terribly during the initial filling of the tank. The toilet valve is designed to do that, but after shaking the begeezus out of a lift stage that has been designed neither for low-pressure use nor for long-term durability, there might well be such flaps unintentionally present.

But the primary point is that we agree -- the basic idea is worth pursuing. Given the vast cost of lifting the shell to orbit, it would seem to be a resource that could be utilized, somehow, and that bears investigation.

Comment Simple answer: (Score 1) 175

Charge for the non-security feature updates -- maybe even do it through the app store. Customers have to pay for updates one way or the other, so you should be able to sell a competitively priced phone and then make just as much money selling fewer physical phones and more software updates as you would under the status quo. That'd be good for the environment too.

The one sticking point is, as always, the carriers. They'd much rather you trade in your perfectly good phone for another one whose price is rolled into a contract extension. I'm convinced that Verizon on several occasions deliberately botched upgrades to force you to buy a new phone with more RAM.

Comment Re:Pet Rock (Score 2) 178

Sure, the only really unpredictable aspect of this scenario is the size of the peak. If their business plans were predicated on maintaining usage near the initial peak indefinitely, then they were stupid plans.

I'm guessing that the plans for this product aren't that stupid. In that case a sensible goal will be to maintain a modest but loyal group of regular users and to periodically introduce new features that will entice usage jags out of occasional players.

Comment Re:I don't get it (Score 3, Insightful) 114

It is pressure tested at many times the 0.5-1.0 atm pressure differential needed to sustain human life in space.

It is pressure tested on earth before being subjected to the intense rigors of launch. All bets are off as to whether it retains long-term integrity, as it has not been designed to do that. It's easy to find situations where a vessel will will not leak at high pressure differentials, but will leak at low pressure differentials. That we don't know the answer as to what will happen to the current designs is a good reason to test, but it should not be put forth as incontrovertible evidence of future success.

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