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Comment Spoken like a complete moron (Score 1) 527

Apple is Microsoft 2.0

If you really believe this, you're probably so completely lobotomized that you won't be capable of understanding any distinction, so my followup post is probably pointless for 80% of you who spout this bullshit over and over and over again on slashdot.

For the rest of you who have some hope of being rescued from this misconception, however dim...

First off, just so it's clear -- particularly to the anit-fanbois who will undoubtedly struggle to do anything other than let the "you're just saying this because you're a fanboi!" completely overwhelm whatever capacity for thought they have -- distinctions don't absolve Apple of crappy behavior. I think they're being dicks. If you don't like Apple, fine. They're still not Microsoft.

Why? Because they don't have now and they've never had anywhere near the market power that Microsoft has. They don't even have a quarter of the mobile market. If you consider tablets competitors in a space also occupied by netbooks, they don't have a plurality of the market there, either. In fact, I'm hard pressed to think of any arena in which they have plurality market share -- maybe the iPod at some point. Maybe.

And while they erect barriers to entry to sell on their products, they don't erect barriers to entering any market they sell in.

If Apple was Microsoft 2.0 -- if they had the market power MS had and the desire to use it -- you'd see them them:

* telling record labels and publishers that if they wanted to sell through the itunes/ibooks, they have to sell exclusively through the itunes store
* forbidding App Store developers from making/selling an app on any other platforms. You wanna sell Remember the Milk on the App Store? Can your Android implementation or else we'll ban your app. Or maybe just double our cut of your sales.
* telling carriers that if they want to sell the iPhone, they'd better not be selling other smartphones.
* buying up shelf space in retail outlets that sell smartphones/tablets so there's no room for other competitors

Comment Apparently not highly regulated enough (Score 1) 422

But other posters will point out, "you can't put a price on your health"

Seems to me this is quite probably the larger reason over regulation that prices don't behave like an efficient market. Regulatory burden may mean an upward pressure on costs, but in a competition/choice driven market, there's downward pressure on prices, which encourages participants to find more efficient ways to provide goods or services within the regulatory framework.

But consumers don't treat health care like they treat electronics or restaurants.

people will cough up to $3200 for a simple abdominal X-Ray that takes, literally, 45 seconds of device time. The same X-Ray costs (I'm told) around $800 in Japan, and less in France or the UK. But in France and the UK, you turn up for your appointment, fill out no extra paperwork, but wait for maybe 90 to 120 minutes to go under the device, because it is utilised at 90% to 100% of the time.

So unless your time is worth over $1000 an hour (and you can't find a way to gain utility out of waiting time), the French and the English have come up with a more efficient system.


Comment Mod Parent Up: Malpractice not a major cost driver (Score 1) 422

Spot on. Most people have no idea what drives medical costs, and their experiences with the legal system are as culturally foreign as IT is to the average layman (at a minimum; it's likely enough they're gratingly adversarial as well as foreign), so it's easy to make the legal system into a bugaboo. And, bonus! The cost problem becomes simple! One easy factor you can blame!

Thing is, medical malpractice is a genuine problem, and when practitioners screw up, the resulting costs to a patient can be astounding. And as adversarial as the legal system can be, dealing with medical practitioners and organizations is often just as bad. Ever tried discussing billing mistakes with a hospital or doctor's office?

If you want a good overview of the various drivers behind medical costs, take a listen to what's available here.

Comment Re:Which questions? (Score 1) 822

The first and largest was "what did your simulations actually DO when calculating this predicted climate change?"
And yes, the answer was, basically, "shut up - we know what we're doing, you don't need to see the computer code."

That's interesting. You seem to be suggesting that the common practice is for people doing research in climate science to publish without giving the details of their models, that most climate scientests are not using their models as an exploratory tool but to produce a predetermined set of answers, and that modifying data sets is a common practice.

Can you cite some sources for this?

The straw man questions you post were, oddly enough, not that straw-mannish

If you're not familiar with the ready refutations of each of those questions, I'd be happy to reproduce them and cite some at length sources.

the guy who is the godfather of the global warming computer models

Are you talking about Lorentz?

  I guess you didn't know that, though. It's another of those "dumb" questions you didn't even know was asked, much less the answer to...

I'm not sure how escaped your apprehension that I brought that topic up, since you're replying to my post.

Comment Which questions? (Score 2, Insightful) 822

"you're still evil for asking all of those questions (even though they turned out to have a good foundation for skepticism, and you were pretty much right about the weak science)

Which questions had a good foundation?

My experience is that a good number of "those questions" -- at least as they filter out into popular discussion -- are either ridiculous or end up having credible responses in support of anthropocentric climate change.

"How can it be global warming if some places are getting cooler?"

"Why is no one talking about urban heat island effect on measurement?"

"The 'consensus' in the 1970s was that we were in for a new ice age! Why should we believe climate scientists now?"

"Ice is getting *thicker* in some places in Greenland. Doesn't this disprove the whole thing?"

"Aren't concerns about global warming are based largely on unreliable computer models?"

"Scientist in is a skeptic for reasons not clearly discussed! Doesn't that mean there's not a consensus?"

Maybe I'm strawmaning the debate, but this is seriously the level of questioning I see. I'd be happy to engage tougher questions if they exist, but as it looks to me right now, either skeptics are either largely represented by people who are poorly articulating whatever substantial objections might exist, or they deserve the scorn they're met with.

Comment What do you mean by clean? (Score 1) 89

It is so much easier to write clean code in Ruby

How come? What do you mean by clean?

I know Javascript a lot better than I know Ruby, but I've got at least some mild experience with the latter, and so far, I don't see any particular feature of the language that suggests to me that Ruby's on a higher plane. Perhaps you could point out some?

it would be great to be able to use the same code in the backend and in the browser.

It would, which is one reason why it's exciting to see Javascript gaining traction on the backend.

Comment WTF? (Score 2, Insightful) 163

They get for free multi-billion dollar valued airwaves all over the country.

Neither NPR nor CPB actually have any spectrum, let alone get it for free. They produce programming which is licensed by other broadcasters. The radio stations themselves are generally operated by public education institutions (with the occasional private university or ad hoc community organization thrown in).

That '2%' you cite is more if you consider the taxes not collected from the 98 percent donated.

Are we going to claim ownership of anything produced by any 501c3 or any other tax exempt organization, too?

Comment Was he really causing them grief? (Score 1) 351

If you cause someone grief, don't expect them to be nice to you in return

Was he causing them grief, really? The vulnerability existed whether he talked about it or not. Given that it's tied to some deep long-term issues with null-terminated strings, it's entirely credible to theorize that there are black hats that knew about it already, and his disclosure gave software developers a chance to do something about it. That keeps PayPal from having to deal with fraud and theft problems associated with the vulnerability. Hardly assholery.

And even if they're within their rights to behave this way, it's more troubling than the existence of vulnerabilities. Everybody makes mistakes, but retaliation every time anyone points one out doesn't build trust, it makes you look insecure and calls into question your ability to improve. How much do *you* trust a company whose response to criticism is to lean on those who level it?

And all this leaves aside the ethical issues inherent to any kind of retaliatory cessation of service. Losing your PayPal account isn't such a big deal, but there are other services for which this kind of behavior would grant heavily inequitable power to providers, particularly in markets where there's a small number of competitors or where the idea of blacklisting takes hold. It's one of the reasons why libertarianism will never, ever work anywhere near like its proponents like to imagine it will.

Comment Is the image a parody? (Score 2, Insightful) 869

Parody is fine under copyright law.

It's not particularly clear the image is a parody. What is it mocking / poking fun at? If it's Obama, then the copyright problem you're dealing with is the use of the image of the Nolan/Ledger Joker. If it's the Joker... you're going to have to explain how exactly that's working here.

(If it's the concept of equating the current president with socialism or nihilistic anarchy, I think you may actually have a case)

Flickr has no problem with copyrighted images of Bush being photoshopped.

That may or may not be true, but this isn't a good direct comparison with which to asses that issue, partly for the reasons I mentioned above (the significant copyright issue likely isn't with the image of a public figure)... and partly because this image has a really high visibility right now.

If you want to make that point, you'll need a comparable image where of Bush (under copyright protections not mitigated by law about images about public figures) photoshopped with an image from a highly successful commercial work with the level of distribution that the Obama-Joker image is getting.

This isn't to say that there aren't some larger points about copyright protection vs speech that could be made, or that Flickr's true reason for removing the image is their given reason. Just that it's plausible.

Comment Re:Serves you right! (Score 1) 186

What part of MS locked me in?

The part where they've used their market power in anti-competitive ways, meaning that unless you're paying close attention, you're not even aware of where Microsoft has bullied OEMs to keep competitors from negotiating preinstall deals, depriving them of revenue and visibility. Where they've deliberately introduced incompatibilities in order to make development difficult for competitors. Where they've struck deals over shelf space in retail stores.

So, no. They don't lock *you* in. They do their best to manipulate markets so that they don't even have to worry about locking you in.

I can't think of a good analog for Google. The closest stretch is their placement as default search engine in Firefox, but not only is it possible to switch, it's *convenient*.

Comment China Considers Tibet China (Score 1) 599

it ceased to be another country.

China has its own ideas about what the boundaries of China are, and never accepted Tibet's claim of sovereignty. This is also more or less what's going on with Taiwan. There are arguably some problems with the merits of China's claims, but from that perspective, there's no particular inconsistency between a policy of non-interference in internal affairs and asserting control over Tibet.

Comment Power deserves critical focus. (Score 0) 587

I'm a liberal by political beliefs, but I am here to tell you that I have seen a disgusting media spin trying to tell you the past 8 years that all Republicans are evil, and all Democrats are perfect. I work for a newspaper, and I am saddened by the lack of any objective journalism is today's society.

Are you sure you're not confused by the facts that Republicans had (a) largely been in charge of the country for eight years and (b) had really, really screwed up?

Because not only do I recall a pretty different story -- and don't think it'd be hard to come up with examples of Democrat-focused criticism and Republican praise in the mainstream press -- it's arguably completely reasonable to have had a press that's been quite focused on the problems with Republican governance for most of the new millenium, given that until less than 3 months ago, Republican governance is exactly what we've had.

I'd go farther: it wouldn't have been partisan to have avoided giving even a single line of criticism to Democrats from 2000-2006. You put your critical focus where the power is, and the Democrats simply didn't have it then (they barely had a reasonable claim to power from 2006-2008, given that the executive can largely ignore or stare down anything other than very determined and unified congress).

I am curious how and why you think only one party is evil.

Certainly both parties have issues with political corruption. The Republicans also sport a political philosophy which is often essentially anti-social. Which one you think is more evil probably depends on whether you prefer certain flaws to be clearly labeled and/or whether you also have an essentially anti-social political philosophy. But in any case, right now I suspect political philosophy has less to do with the whole issue than coming out of a long period of Republican governance with some markedly ugly episodes. They *look* more evil because their mistakes and corruption are more recent and visible. If we get through an equal period of Democratic governance with qually terrible mistakes and equally visible corruption, I suspect the pendulum will swing.

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