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Greenpeace Says the Internet Emits Too Much CO2

AusIV Re:CO2 of things it replaces? (370 comments)

Not to mention online ordering of goods. When I buy something at the store, I have to drive a few miles to a store. That store serves an area of several square miles, and there is another store to serve the next several square miles. Each of these stores must be individually stocked.

When I order something online, my item is shipped from a central warehouse to a shipping facility in my city, which serves an area on the magnitude of hundreds of square miles. That shipping facility calculates an efficient route based on all of their deliveries for the day, and the item gets delivered to my door by the same truck that delivers to several other people in my neighborhood.

Certainly, delivering data electronically is considerably more efficient when it's possible. But even for tangible goods, ordering something over the internet is more efficient than buying it at the store.

more than 3 years ago

Mirah Tries To Make Java Fun With Ruby Syntax

AusIV Re:What about Jython? (444 comments)

My understanding is that Mirah is designed to compile down to Java byte code, while Jython runs a Python interpreter on top of the JVM. There are a number of philosophical and technical differences between these paradigms.

more than 3 years ago

Why We Should Buy Music In FLAC

AusIV Re:If you want CD-quality audio, buy CDs (550 comments)

It seems you completely missed Lonewolf666's point. Yes, 320kbps mp3 ripped from a lossless source is good enough for the real world. But a 320kbps mp3 ripped from a 320 kbps AAC file (or other lossy codec) starts to have artifacts noticeable to the untrained ear on run-of-the-mill equipment.

When I buy a CD, I rip it to FLAC, which I consider to be my master copy. When I move content to my iPod or Android phone, my music manager will automatically transcode it to 192 kbps Mp3 or OGG. This sounds just fine in the context I listen to music on those devices, and it allows me to fit quite a bit more music than a higher bit rate.

If instead of keeping my master copy as FLAC I kept it as a high bitrate mp3, this strategy wouldn't work as well. Converting from lossless to 192kbps sounds fine. Converting from 320 kbps mp3 to 192 kpbs introduces artifacts that are audible by untrained ears on run-of-the-mill equipment. I'd have to choose between noticeable artifacts and having less music on a portable device.

Future proofing is also a concern. A few years from now someone could invent a new codec that sounds as good as 320kbps mp3, but only requires 128kbps. Chances are converting from 320kbps mp3 to this new codec will introduce noticeable artifacts, while converting from a lossless source will give pristine results.

more than 3 years ago

Betty Boop and Indefinite Copyright

AusIV Re:14 years, nothing else (249 comments)

Avatar. James Cameron wrote the first draft in 1995, it wasn't released until late 2009.

That said, I think developing works could get some kind of protection as trade secrets, but not have the clock start ticking on copyright expiration until they are publicly released. I also like the idea of some kind of character trademark. If a company is still using a character from a work that has fallen into the public domain, they could continue to monopolize that character's use outside the context of the public domain works. So anyone who wanted to could sell Steamboat Willie on DVD or put Fantasia's Sorcerer's Apprentice on a T-Shirt, but you couldn't use Mickey Mouse in your own content without licensing it. This would allow continued development of franchises (which I believe hold economic value) without preventing works from entering the public domain (which I believe holds cultural and economic value).

more than 3 years ago

Gmail Accidentally Resets 150,000 Accounts

AusIV Re:GMAil needs better bkup system (401 comments)

Agreed. I'd much rather download all of my new stuff periodically than have to download the whole image to make a backup.

more than 3 years ago

Talking To Computers?

AusIV Re:Time heals all trends (395 comments)

You missed a big one: In the car. I've thought for years that the only place I want to use voice commands is for controlling my car radio. I'd like to be able to tell my radio to play a certain song or artist off of it's hard drive, switch to a specific radio station, or give me directions via GPS. Switching to the next song or next radio station isn't a big deal in the car (though I can understand this in the kitchen), as it just takes a second to reach down and hit the "next" button. Searching for something specific can take your eyes off the road for a while if you have to look at your head unit or mp3 player and scroll through a large selection

more than 3 years ago

Apple Hints At Near-Field Payments System In Next-Gen iPhone, iPad

AusIV Re:Taxation Without Representation (164 comments)

That depends on how it's set up. I paid my rent at the beginning of the month for the time I was about to spend in the apartment. They didn't render the service before the money was paid, so it wasn't a debt.

If you pay at the end of the month, your contract might stipulate that you can't use cash. Ultimately, you still can repay your debt with cash, but they could probably also have you evicted for violating the terms of your rental agreement.

more than 3 years ago

T-Mobile Slashes Fair Use Policy, Says Download At Home

AusIV Re:False Advertising? (364 comments)

I don't know about T-Mobile UK, but T-Mobile USA actively advertises that, unlike on certain other networks, you don't have to be on wifi to do high bandwidth things.

more than 3 years ago

Pay What You Want — a Sustainable Business Model?

AusIV Re:Publicity worked for Humble Bundle (133 comments)

There is an important distinction between "cost", which you're talking about, and "marginal cost", which the GP is talking about. Marginal cost is the increased cost of producing one additional unit, and for digital goods marginal cost is very nearly zero. The only marginal costs you mention are support and payment processing, the rest are more or less fixed costs. The marginal costs for selling a digital good with minimal support are very, very low. Once the fixed costs are covered, selling an additional unit for $5 will be very close to $5 profit.

There's definitely a matter of balancing opportunity costs. It would be silly for a company with a highly anticipated title to offer that game at a name-your-own-price rate. But once sales have started to taper off, it makes sense to lower the price and get something, rather than keeping prices up and get nothing. This can serve to get people talking about the game again, and may lead to sales at regular price once the sale ends.

I don't believe that pay-what-you-want is a sustainable business model, but I think it's a great way to milk some extra cash out of a title that isn't selling much and it can help bring hype to a game.

more than 3 years ago

Gentlemen Prefer Androids, Ladies iOS

AusIV Re:No no no... (483 comments)

What about the myTouch? It's 100% you!


more than 3 years ago

Jailtime For Jailbreaking

AusIV Re:No ex post facto laws (281 comments)

No, it doesn't. People can be pardoned and sentences commuted more or less arbitrarily. The ex-post facto clause exists to prevent people from being facing consequences they couldn't possibly have anticipated when they committed an action. Letting people off easy doesn't have the same downside that ex-post facto laws do.

more than 3 years ago

Seagate To Pay Former Worker $1.9M For Phantom Job

AusIV Re:Too Much (354 comments)

Don't get me wrong, I think it's equally despicable, and should be equally punishable, to represent a job as a good long-term prospect and then proceed to lay someone off after a couple months.

I think intent is very relevant. There are a lot of things that can happen that reduce a company's ability to complete a project they started with the best intentions. Market fluctuations can hurt investor confidence and reduce a project's funding, advancements made by competitors can make a product less useful, or unanticipated costs can put a project over budget relatively early on. If a company knows a project has no chance of being profitable, keeping people on the project is fiscally irresponsible. Hopefully they'll find project members positions on other projects, but some people will probably have to be let go.

If a company knowingly misrepresents the state of a project to get a person to join their team, I certainly think that's fraud. But if a company reasonably believes they'll be able to complete a project and are honest with recruits about the state of the project, but unforeseen circumstances cause the project to fail, I don't think it's right to bring punitive damages against the company.

more than 3 years ago

SSL Certificates For Intranet Sites?

AusIV Re:Untrusted certs should not raise an alarm (286 comments)

There absolutely needs to be some kind of warning for untrusted certs. I can see an argument that the current solution is overkill (I disagree), but treating it the same as an HTTP page gives users no easy way to check whether or not they should trust the connection.

Now, I'm of the opinion that browsers handle untrusted certs as well as they can with current technology. Time and time again, end users have shown that they'll click through simple warning dialogs and send their data to phishers. When a server establishes an HTTPS connection with a client, it's telling the browser that this should be a secure communication, and sensitive data is going to be transmitted. If the browser can't validate that the connection is trusted, the user needs to know something is wrong.

more than 3 years ago

US May Disable All Car Phones, Says Trans. Secretary

AusIV Re:Driving shouldn't be for the public (1065 comments)

Indeed. It WILL cost trillions, like the highway system does.

[Citation Needed]

According to wikipedia, the interstate highway system cost $114 billion over 35 years, or $425 billion after adjusting for inflation. Admittedly, there are a lot of state highways that aren't a part of the interstate highway system, but it's a long way from $425 billion to multiple trillions.

more than 3 years ago

Did Microsoft Alter Windows Sales Figures?

AusIV Re:Yes (165 comments)

How is this different from corporate accounting? Most businesses budget for the long term based on projected earnings. If those earnings don't come through for whatever reason, they end up with budget deficits.

more than 3 years ago

Google Asks Users To Complain Against Facebook

AusIV Re:Suck it up Zuck. (218 comments)

You won't be prompted for your username/password if you are already logged into your email.

And I believe if you are prompted for your username/password it will be by your e-mail provider, not by Facebook.

more than 3 years ago

2010 Election Results Are In

AusIV Re:Should be good for the economy (1530 comments)

Those people don't just live here, they run businesses which create jobs. If they leave because they feel over-taxed, their businesses (and the jobs they create) will leave with them.

more than 3 years ago

2010 Election Results Are In

AusIV Re:Should be good for the economy (1530 comments)

In world war II, we racked up a massive debt planning to pay it off once the war was over. There was a clear objective that, once met, would end the need for debt. No such objective exists today. We've been running deficits consistently for decades, and nobody can say when it will end. That's what makes this debt distressing to me, not that it's particularly bad as a percentage of GDP

for a steady economy, we need to get back to the higher taxes on the rich, like the 70%-90% on the highest tax brackets which were helping us pay down the WW-II debt consistently over 35 years until Reagan took office.

After WW-II much of the world was in ruins and trying to rebuild, but the US had industrial resources and a work force ready to produce. We could tax 70%-90% because there wasn't anywhere else you could go to run a successful business and get taxed less. The world has changed since then. If we tried to tax 70%-90% today there are dozens of countries around the world that would quickly become more appealing to those in the highest tax brackets. We've already lost most of our manufacturing industry, soaring tax rates would almost certainly cause more industries to pack up and leave.

more than 3 years ago

2010 Election Results Are In

AusIV Re:Should be good for the economy (1530 comments)

The "balanced budget" was a political device. They claimed to have a surplus, but that was only true if you ignored intra-governmental holdings. The public debt, where the government sells treasury bonds to non-government entities, actually went down for a couple of years. What they swept under the carpet was the rising intra-governmental holdings; money from social security payments was being used to fund government programs. They considered that to be one branch of the government loaning money to another branch of the government, so they claim it wasn't really debt (conveniently ignoring the fact that they're still going to have to pay it back eventually).

more than 3 years ago


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