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Comment Crowdfunding is investing (Score 1) 40

Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter try to make it seem like you're pre-paying for a final product, but you're not. You're investing in a business concept - basically you're a venture capitalist. If it works, you'll get your product. if it doesn't, you'll get nothing.

Crowdfunding is actually worse than venture capitalism. With the latter, you the investor get part ownership of the company, so if it becomes successful (e.g. Oculus VR, Pebble) you share in that success. With crowdfunding, all you get is a shiny trinket. If you even get it at all. All the risk, none of the rewards.

Comment Re:already exceeding expectations (Score 1) 1323

People advocating hypotheticals based on popular vote are arguing on the basis that fairness (majority wins) should override methodology (Electoral College). The problem with arguing Clinton should've won the election based on fairness is you're artificially limiting the election to just two candidates. Clinton and Trump only got 93.97% of the vote. Your "fair" projection disenfranchises 6.03% of the voters

So in the interest of fairness, say you include as many of those 6% as you can. If you add up the votes for the liberal candidates (Clinton, Stein, Sanders, Riva), you get 49.22%. If you add up the votes for the conservative candidates (Trump, Johnson, McMullin, Castle) you get 49.89%. So in all fairness, based on the popular vote the correct winner of this election should be a conservative candidate.

Also, California's last Republican Senator was John Seymour. (Appointed to replace Pete Wilson, who ran for and won the governorship in the first election I was allowed to vote in. The Republicans had made it a priority to get him elected as governor because the 1990 census was being conducted and the governor could veto the gerrymandering Democrats had done to the state's districts.) And the problems you cite (weak economy, broke government floated on large companies) pre-date Schwarzenegger. Gov. Davis was recalled due to California's poor economy following the dot-com bubble bursting, and the huge budget deficit. Schwarzenegger didn't cause these problems as you claim - he was elected because of these problems. Finally, the governor doesn't control the budget. The legislature does. All the governor can do is sign or veto whatever the legislature passes. And the last time California had Republicans controlling even one branch of the state legislature was the '95-96 state assembly.

So it was Democrats who are responsible for every California problem you cite.

Comment My experience (Score 1) 25

Signed up for it at the end of their promo a week and half back (100+ channels, gen 4 Apple TV and 3 months service for $105, I added on HBO at $5/mo).

The browser version is unusable. Crashes, glitches (shows freeze or stop playing), gets stuck in low res mode, often can't connect to the stream or gets 5 seconds and stops. I wasn't really planning to use it with the computer so not that big a deal for me. The main drawback is I have no way to stream it to my projector since they haven't added Roku support yet.

The Android version mostly works. I've been using my tablet as a mini portable TV when I'm doing stuff around the house, which was really the point of getting the service. I still have an unlimited phone data plan, and am able to use it + hotspot to use the service on my tablet when I'm traveling. Transition from hotspot to regular WiFi is seamless. A few annoyances I've found.
  • Occasionally logs you out. This was happening every 30-60 minutes when I first started the service, but it's only happened once in the last few days so they seem to be getting it under control.
  • Yes they have ABC, NBC, and Fox (CBS wants you to pay for their channel to get OTA shows). But only in certain metro areas. And if you move outside of that metro area, the channels stop working. The Android app needs location permission or it refuses to run. I haven't yet traveled to another supported metro area, so dunno if this is just checks for supported locations, or if it's tied to your home address metro area.
  • Limited to 2 streams. Not an issue for me, but this will be a deal-breaker for some.
  • Most streaming channels don't list DirecTV Now as a service. So even though I can watch the Discovery Channel with DirecTV Now, I can't watch their Roku channel since there's no way for me to activate it. Hopefully this is just due to the services being slow to add DirecTV Now as an enabling subscription service. It does work for HBO, and someone else has said it works for ESPN.
  • Swiping up/down on the guide often advances the show listings forward an hour.
  • The favorites selection is right next to the channel names. It's easy to accidentally favorite/unfavorite a channel while scrolling through the list, or when selecting a channel to watch.
  • Favorites list is slow to sync between devices.
  • Only has a single favorites list. I was expecting multiple favorites like with their satellite tuners.
  • Guide defaults to all channels every time you open it.
  • Starts muted when you first start the Android app. This threw me off for a bit as I tried to troubleshoot it. IMHO it should remember the audio state the last time the app was run. (Just checked and looks like the update they released today adds an option to let you set it to on/off on launch.)
  • Easy to change from partial screen (with a list of recent channels you've watched underneath) to full screen. But impossible to switch from full screen to partial screen.
  • No configuration options for closed captioning. Text is probably the right size for a phone, but too small for my tablet (2560x1600 screen).
  • After living with the Roku for a year, it's really horrifying how much of the show times are taken up by commercials.

I'm gonna keep it for now. HBO alone is normally $15/mo, so it's like I'm getting the other 100+ channels for $25/mo. (The 100 channel promo ended Jan 10. It's now priced at $65/mo. $35/mo now gets you just 60 channels.) Yeah they're having a lot of problems, but it seems to me to be teething problems. And my cable company's basic TV plan was nearly double the price for far fewer channels. Here are comparison of DirecTV vs Sling vs Vue channel lineups and features

Comment Re:Perhaps globalism might be in fear for once. (Score -1) 1323

I expect to there be less government under Trump, I may be wrong though. I expect reduction in government interference to the individuals (and when I say individuals I do mean people who are mostly abused by the power, those who have something to take away from, thus businesses and yes businesses are people.) That's the only thing that matters, one thing, the only thing, the singularity of things: less government interference.

Comment Re:Self-fulfilling Prophecy (Score 1) 304

Harvard has a $37.6 billion endowment. Even with the abysmal 1.38% return in the S&P 500 in 2015, that would translate into $518.9 million in profit. Across 22,000 students, that's $23,585 per student.

So yeah, Harvard is in the unique position to be able to offer something like this. In a better year like 2016 (11.74% return), their endowment would've raked in over $200,000 per student.

Comment Re:I Explain This to Millennials Constantly (Score 1) 62

I used to run my own personal email server, so when the small business I worked for wanted its own domain and email in 2004, I offered my services to set it up for them. The setup part is easy. The PITA is that every time there's a problem, you have to fix it. Server down? Figure out what went wrong and get it running again. Mail being bounced? Contact the spam list to get you removed. Someone not able to access their emails? Walk them through to troubleshoot the problem.

I lasted less than a year before throwing in the towel. I was spending more time babysitting the email server and acting as email technical support than I was doing my actual job. I signed up the company for Google Apps for Business (basically email hosting for your domain using gmail - it was free back then). Google's staff takes care of all these problems now. I did suggest a pay email service as an alternative, but the company wanted free even if it meant they might be giving up privacy.

Comment Missed opportunity (Score 1) 365

1080p 3D TV needs at least a 120 Hz screen refresh rate. 60 frames each second are used to show the left image, 60 frames each second to show the right image, 120 frames per second total. (If the set is designed to eliminate judder when displaying 24 fps movies, it needs a 240 Hz refresh rate to do it in 3D movies shot at 24 fps (48 fps for both views).

The problem is, every 120 Hz or 240 Hz TV I've seen has made this refresh rate internal-only. They only accept a 60 Hz input signal (which is 120 Hz for 3D-only). Probably because HDMI only supports a maximum of 60 Hz (120 Hz for 3D-only). A few times a week, I run across a gamer asking if they can hook up their 120 Hz TV to their PC and play games at 120 fps. And I have to tell them it's not possible - the TV isn't designed to accept a 120 Hz non-3D input signal.

If they had designed the 3D TVs to accept 120 Hz non-3D input, you'd have gamers tripping over themselves to buy 3D TVs to use as 120 Hz monitors, with the 3D stuff being a "free" added capability. A few of them would then probably experiment with playing their games in 3D (where the depth perception can actually be advantageous), and that might have been enough to make 3D displays catch on.

Comment Re:Agrument in favor of modularity (Score 5, Interesting) 80

How much thickness do you think the extra outer layer of plastic adds to the phone? If it has to be more than a millimeter I would be surprised.

Personally, I think it has more to do with the fact the lithium ion batteries have a finite shelf-life than it does with thickness. That means in two years you need a new phone even if you never added any software to it and managed the battery recharging perfectly. Even if the phone had been sitting in a box all that time it'd have significantly less battery life.

Comment From TFA: (Score 1) 159

The patterns were a mishmash of unrelated structures that were as misleading as they were illuminating.

This pretty much describes the state of every branch of science after a major influx of new data. Just look at the maps of the world produced after Europe became aware of North America. Early maps sometimes show California as an island; and it's not because the cartographer is stupid; he just put the data at his disposal together into what was at the time a plausible conjecture. And in fact the problem might not even have been that he was ignorant. He may have misinterpreted some of the (at that stage) imprecise data he had to work with.

New information confounds. The detection and resolution of conflicts in data is arguably what science is.

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