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Comment Re:€ (euro) (Score 1) 868

I think the real reason it's different in the US versus Europe is that modern banking developed independently in each place before travel and communication between them became as cheap and easy as it is now. Each place has a standard banking service for paying money to people, which is easy and convenient and free of unnecessary fees, which just about everyone uses. In the US, that's checking; in Europe, it's bank transfers. In each place the *other* service is not standard and therefore is impractical and a hassle because of fees and general unfamiliarity and lack of standardization and mostly because it's not the standard way of doing things.

I'm afraid this analysis is misplaced - at least for the UK, I'm not so sure about the guys on the continent. It misses the fact that as recently as my childhood (that is, about 20 years ago) our system was your system.

I remember my parents used checks (well, cheques) extensively/exclusively - "bank transfers" were almost unheard of as far as I remember, and cheques were noted as having the advantages you describe. When I was a teenager and got my first bank account, I remember trying to make a direct bank transfer and finding it (inexplicably) inconvenient, expensive. Even when went to uni, I remember paying most stuff like rent and tuition by cheque, online banking was still barely on the radar.

In the last 10 years online and mobile banking has exploded, making easy and free personal transfers commonplace, and that's changed things a lot. Now I can't remember the last time I wrote a cheque, probably about 5 years ago, most of my friends would say the same.

But they haven't vanished altogether: old people probably still use them predominantly, anyone my age or above will be well familiar with them, all sorts of people doubtless still use them, but in overall trends I think they're on their way out. And not from "unfamiliarity", or having it forced on us, we're just giving up on them out of choice, preferring the alternatives.


Recently there are newer services that have been introduced (since the advent of inexpensive internet access) called "direct deposit" and "direct withdrawal", which are probably somewhat more similar to how bank transfers work in Europe, but they're intended for things that happen on a regular basis (like, every month)

That sounds more like what we call Standing Order or Direct Debit, which isn't really the same thing as the general "p2p" bank transfers which people talk of displacing cheques - although it certainly has done that for many uses such as rent, utilities, telephone etc.

Comment Re:LibreOffice will join the ranks of Linux... (Score 1) 500

I can't be bothered to count exactly, but on a quick skim-count, I think you generated about 130 replies. Bravo man, well played. I haven't seen anybody so successfully goad the open source crew into such a storm of indignation with so few words in quite a few years. I was beginning to think the art was dead here on slashdot, most efforts are way too heavy-handed are largely ignored, but yours really hit the spot.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 240

He's talking about clipping, not compression.

No, he's talking about both.

Your average MoS compilation is bus compressed so hard that I don't dare subject my amps to it, go anywhere near the clip light with that stuff

i.e.: It's compressed so hard that if it clips, it doesn't just clip a few imperceptible samples on occasional peaks, it clips baaaaaad, and constantly.

Comment Re:*shrug* (Score 1) 109

Honestly, Twitter traffic is fairly useless for anyone as the visitors tend to be one-time flybys who spend less than a few seconds on your endsite and just end up lowering your time on site and raising your bounce metrics. If you want engagement you better be using some other network

Do you have analytics data behind that statement? Assuming you do, from what kind(s) of business? (Something vague like "major US household consumables e-commerce" if you don't want to give out your workplace).

This isn't a [citation needed] snark, I'm just curious because recently someone claimed the exact opposite - that they see traffic from twitter as having a much higher conversion rate than any other network, which surprised me. For reference, this person was a musician, so conversions = buying mp3s, and they're relatively unfamous non-major-label artists, but not unsigned randoms, they're established within their scene.

While I'm commenting, can't resist snarking at this quote from the article...

Because the interested reader is forced to go to the URL shortener

Forced? LOL, no; count me in with the "no, the interested reader, upon seeing a URL shortener link, decides he is no longer interested" crew.

Honestly, if it's any good whatsoever, within a few days someone (else) will post it on facebook, slashdot, metafilter or one of the other blogs and forums I frequent which have no ridiculous length restrictions on what gets shared.

But I realise this is straying into "get off my lawn" territory, and my behaviour in this regard is statistically irrelevant, and nobody cares that I don't "get" twitter. (I tried, really and truly I did. I signed up and followed supposedly interesting/intelligence sources like NASA and NewScientist and gave it a while to see if any utility accrued, but every time I log in I just see a jumble of TLA ACRNM INTLSM JRGN http://dodgy.url/1m92f sentence fragment #stupid and think fuck this, I'll just visit their website.)

Comment Re:200,000 dollars (Score 4, Insightful) 239

Sorry... I hate seeing numbers thrown around as if it somehow makes this case more important than others. I'm glad to see that Simon Singh stood up for his comments and also that he is now extremely famous and has furthered his career by this episode.

You have that spectacularly backwards.

The number isn't thrown around to suggest this figure / this case is unusual, it's thrown around to suggest this is usual. Want to defend yourself? That'll cost you ~5 years of a typical wage, then. Suddenly caving in and "apologising" looks quite attractive after all, regardless of how strong you thought your principles were.

The whole reason he could afford to stick the course defending this is that he was already "rich and famous". By the time this kicked off he already had several best-selling books, a BAFTA award, Emmy nomination, an MBE and a fairly high profile career in print, radio and TV. I understand he may not be a familiar name across the pond, but within this country I struggle to think of many people in his field (science journalism / popular science) with a higher profile over the last couple of decades. Maybe Brian Cox, Patrick Moore, Ben Goldacre... it's really not a long list at any rate.

That's the whole point. If some fresh-out-of-grad-school science-interested junior journalist on £18k p.a. had written this, been sued, and faced a £100k bill, they would almost certainly have had to fold: science 0, legal bullies 1.

This man could have just retracted it and bought a Porsche but instead he used his "fame" and wealth to fight the case as a matter of moral principle, legal precedent, and a platform to explicitly draw attention to the general campaign for libel law reform. Snide insinuations he used the lawsuit for personal promotion are hardly fair.

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 402


On topic, reading the comments here is funny. I muck about on production all the time. No other choice - there is no dev environment. No budget for one. After arguing the point for a couple of years they compromised and gave us a dev "server" on a virtual server with a load of other stuff. Yeah, turns out that didn't work so well. SQL Server virtualised = massive silent data corruption, apparently. So now I'm back to remote desktopping onto the live box and hoping I can fix things faster than the public are likely to notice them. I know it's so very, very wrong, but in a weird way I dread leaving this job and going somewhere where they do it properly, it'll feel so stuffy and constricting.

(To forestall all the indignant outrage, no, I don't work on anything remotely relevant to public health or safety. No matter how much I screw up, nobody is going to lose their life, or even their money. If this weren't the case, I dare say that dev box would have a duly higher organisational budgetary priority.)

Comment Re:Does that make sense ? (Score 2, Interesting) 426

I don't know what the A level syllabus is

It's a little over a decade since I did mine, and I don't know how much they've changed. But FWIW mine involved partly learning algorhythms / programming - in Pascal, with tiny bits of assembly - and partly a bunch of theoretical stuff such as binary (floating point) arithmetic, BNF, Codd's normal forms, basic hardware/architecture principles & protocols, etc. I can't claim to remember the proportion very accurately. Somewhere between 30:70 and 50:50 I think.

Comment Re:Not ridiculous at all (Score 1) 830

I'm not sure what it is about his claims that are supposed to be so ludicrous.

The timescale.

For example, a million lines of code seems at least plausible, as long as we bear in mind the following.... {snip}... To be honest, the authors of this article seem to be rather too cocksure in dismissing all this.

The article is not exactly dismissing any of that, as far as I can see. They're dismissing that it'll happen within 10 years.

I'm not that familiar with Kurzweil's predictions, but this seems fairly reasonable to me.

I don't really know shit about programming OR neurochemistry, but looking at the rate of progress in AI so far I'm more inclined to lean towards the linked blog than Kurzweil.

Ultimately though we'll have to come back in 2020 and see.

Comment Re:3 Pounds per hour? (Score 1) 267


YouGov's methodology is to obtain responses from an invited group of Internet users, and then to filter these responses in line with demographic information. It draws these demographically-representative samples from a panel of about 250,000 people in the UK

if he is in the UK, GP is right about NMW. If he isn't, he couldn't earn from YouGov anyway.

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