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Comment Not News (Score 1) 770

I lived in Japan for several years, talks of hikikomori has been going on since at least 2006 when I first got there. This isn't really news, the figure is probably grossly exaggerated, and I'd wager you can probably point part of the finger at Japanese socialization combined with those people maybe just being the introverted types.

Comment Re:Car Analogy (Score 1) 317

I lease a car. I don't get to tinker with my car. It says so in the lease. Somehow, I don't see that as a gross violation of my rights. I read the contract and chose it over paying cash and buying the car outright.

In addition, every lease financing company has the same "no modifications" provision, as if they were acting as a cartel. I still don't see that as a problem.

What is the big deal? If you want an unlocked phone, buy one. If you want to finance your phone, you need to adhere to the contract terms, and all the companies have the same terms. It's the same with cars.

Let's try another analogy: say you drive your U.S. car into Canada and the engine shuts off. You get a message on your car's HUD or on your registered cell number or whatever: for a greatly inflated monthly fee (which will be tacked onto your lease back in the U.S.), your car engine will be re-enabled and you can drive on Canadian roads. Or, you can just say "Acknowledge, Keep Driving" and pay a by-the-mile super-duper inflated fee (perhaps totaling $1000 for a road trip from the Bellingham-ish border to Vancouver). If, however, you owned your car outright and had unlocked it, you could pay tolls on Canadian roads as you go, not through some U.S. company, perhaps totaling as little as $10 in an entire month, but because you're leasing your car and have not road-unlocked its engine, you're forced to accept these absurdly high fees.

A lot of people want an unlocked phone and would be willing to finance it themselves, but you notice how the new iPhone comes out only as carrier locked versions, and then, when months later it comes out as a carrier-unlocked version, the price is still a couple hundred bucks more than it maybe ought to be? Other notes: your carriers now won't unlock your phone when you finish your contract, it is illegal for you to do so yourself, and note that they've only been so nice as to carrier unlock you for about two years now, anyways.

I've moved between countries many times, and having to deal with the carrier locking shit is infuriating, especially when, say, I want to update my version of something like iOS to get a security patch but don't want to lose my carrier unlock in the process. (Yes, I also use Android phone sometimes, but alas~.) Granted, carrier unlock is more meant to keep people domestically stuck to one carrier, so that everyone doesn't migrate to T-mobile (Science Bless!).

Comment The Damage of Porn Consumption (Score 1) 684

Aside from the issue of exploitation of women who participate in pornography, we should ask ourselves what pornography does to all the men who consume it. And no, I'm not talking about how it warps men's perceptions of women, because I don't think it necessarily does, or, even if it does, I don't think that that is the most important thing at stake.

What are we doing to our teenagers if we tell them that sex is wrong and bad and dangerous, and therefore that they should abstain? Teenagers (particularly boys) will find a sexual outlet, and so is it better to let them engage in the real thing (albeit with better education than currently exists about pregnancy and disease and tumultuous emotions), or is it better to let those desires unfurl in evolutionarily novel ways, like via pornography use? What happens when men spend years fapping to unreal images of women in magazines, television, and the internet?

I think porn is highly addictive. Not in obvious ways like alcohol cravings to a long-sober man, but in more subtle ways, like the inability to stop drinking after the first sip. If porn should be blocked, I think it should be for the sake of men, not because of some babble about harming women. Of course, then you have to deal with all sorts of sexualized female imagery in media and adverts, and I think the genie may be permanently out of the bottle on that..... I guess I just don't think you can take away pornography without maybe having a real, serious talk about how much more actual sex teenagers may and ought to begin to have, and how society should deal with that. Granted, I think that may be the better discussion to have.

Yeah... we Americans think that the pursuit of pleasure is the meaning of life. Like, if it feels good, how can it be wrong? And I think we've taken the wrong attitude towards pornography: I feel like pornography was a natural thing to evolve, but then we came to justify it by saying, "Oh, it's a reaction against all the Puritanical bullshit, and it feels good so it _must_ be good!" And certainly that Puritanical mumbo-jumbo _was_ bullshit, but I think the real answer was just to have more sex and focus on real relationships, not to help a generation of young men waste their time with technology-enhanced masturbation.

Comment Re:How America has withered ... (Score 1) 416

No matter what ATT says, they almost never provide the unlock codes for phones once the contract has expired. Go ahead, and try, see what happens.

Ok, I'll bite. I just did this the past week. I have 2 AT&T smartphones. One is under contract, one isn't. I called asking them to unlock both of them, and they gave me unlock codes without hesitation. So no, in my anecdotal experience, this isn't the case. In my experience, AT&T is happy to unlock your phone if you just ask politely, EVEN IF IT IS STILL UNDER CONTRACT.

I tried this six days ago, my phone still under contract, and was denied.

Also, this is relevant to me because I'm travelling to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in two weeks, where being able to buy a local SIM card would be awesome. Fortunately I have an older jailbroken and unlocked iPhone, as well as an unlocked Nexus S, but still.....

Comment Re:And we care because why? (Score 2) 250

Today's lesson: maybe you shouldn't pay a billion dollars dollars for a service that users can easily drop and replace with dozens of other similar services...

...(emphasis mine)...

Care to name just one of the dozens?

Or should I say you're trolling?

I think the point is that the fundamental service offered by Instagram is not so complex or revolutionary as to be irreplaceable. Like Google could probably in-house it in no time. (I mean, they've already got Picasa.) Do I speak correctly on your behalf, wile_e8?

Also, there's a breed of trolling in which a troll accuses a non-troll of trolling.

Comment Re:Assorted Points (Score 1) 465

(a) The price point for Kindle books (and others) is totally off. Sure, if the book is exclusively physically available as a $30 hardcover, then in that case a $13 e-book pricing is acceptable, but if I can get new physical copies for $6-8 (or used copies for $3), why would I pay $13 for an e-book? Are you mad?

(b) Well, I would pay $13 because e-books don't consume a book's worth of tree, nor do they incur the negative externality of the chemical processing of its pulp. (Yeah, I care about the environment, albeit buying a used book somewhat side-steps these issues.)

(c) E-books are immediate: we can make totally impulsive purchases, anywhere. From this standpoint e-book prices should be lower to incentivize us, I hypothesize.

(d) The DRM situation is not good. Although I generally don't re-read books (I get around this by writing down all the good quotations and making notes on my sole read-through, thus I only have to re-read the good parts), sometimes I do want to lend them to friends. Solution: if I buy a book, and you, the publisher, give me a DRM version, I go and steal a copy from piratebay using a coffee shop's wireless. I _own_ this shit, dog.

(e) Some books just aren't good for the e-format. Lonely Planets on e-readers? They suck. Anything where you're going to be flipping around a lot or randomly accessing certain pages is just not going to make for a good experience on an e-reader at this point, unless you feel like developing ninja skills with the search utilities.

(f) Other languages: I speak Japanese, and so far Japanese publishers have largely refused to sell e-books, allegedly because it cuts into their existing infrastructure and profits. Like why would they simply hand over their margins to this American "Amazon" company? On that note, Japan has been raping its own forests (heya, rural Shikoku) and Taiwan's (back in the day) and pretty much everywhere else in its hunger for wood and paper. (Not that the US isn't a resource-devourer and -waster, but that's not the point here.) Point being I would love to be able to buy Japanese language books in the US (without paying absurd import fees and currency conversion fees), from my couch, DRM-free, in an environmentally-conscious manner (I love your nature, Japan!), but my desires probably won't be met until a shift occurs in the larger consumption habits of the Japanese populous as a whole, in terms what they demand and expect of their book publishers.

Just get me some (Haruki Murakami) on my Kindle, dagnabbit!

Oops, that was my post. Didn't mean to be an Anonymous Coward. Those slippery cookies!

Comment Re:Of all states? (Score 1) 686

It's backwards to penalize people for conserving oil. This is a very short-sighted strategy.

When people drive more gas-efficient cars, all things being equal they tend to drive more, offsetting the benefit of increased mpg ratio. Furthermore, many electric cars will still be powered by oil or (ack!) coal, although I feel like Portland would have some clean energy sources. So, yes, penalizing them for driving a more 'green' car (thus, in theory, conserving oil) seems silly, but effectively they may not be conserving oil at all.

I will agree with you and say the proposition sounds entirely bone-headed, all that said.

Comment Re:Extremely lucky they're ONLY flat (Score 2) 660

People say this about programmers being able to work wherever, but when you're developing something on a wide variety of devices (like trying to write Android software that works on Vanilla Google Nexus, Samsung, LG, Motorola, HTC, etc. devices), it's reasonable for a localized team of people to share those devices, but not so practical if people are distributed. This becomes even more of an issue with secret or not-yet-released devices, which come with HUGE liabilities if you lose or misplace them.

Furthermore, working as a team is _way_ more efficient if you can walk a few paces over and talk to people. I mean, this is the kind of thing that slows down business if people aren't even on the same floor, let alone in different buildings or different cities or land masses. And doing video chats or phone chats is never going to be as good as _being there_.

Lastly, it's hard to get a GOOD, salaried remote code-writing job if you've not worked for a given company in its local area first.

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