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"Going Up" At 45 Mph: Hitachi To Deliver World's Fastest Elevator

JanneM Re:Expensive (52 comments)

The problem with building really tall buildings is how to transport enough people up and down without using up the floor space on elevators rather than rentable area. Silly fast elevators may well be worth the money if it results in more silly expensive top-floor rent income.

4 hours ago
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Apple, Google Vying For Mobile Game Exclusivity

JanneM Re:As a developer who uses in-app purchase ... (50 comments)

A free but limited version and a full, paid one is completely reasonable. There's several ways to do it too, but I think perhaps the best division is between the casual and the dedicated user. Casual users are unlikely to pay if forced, but they can still be good advocates for the app, so it may be worth it making sure they still have something to use.

The Aedict Japanees dictionary, for instance, is one of my most used apps. It has a free version that is really the full old (pre-Android 4) version of the app; and a paid version that is newer, better, more polished and with lots of added funcitonality. You can use the core functionality in the old app, but you really want all the improvements in the new one.

Games could have just the first few levels. Productivity apps could limit the document size or number of simultaneous documents. But I do think that making the free version usable for the occasional user likely pays off over time. Casual users advocate the app, and they may become dedicated users over time.

2 days ago
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$42,000 Prosthetic Hand Outperformed By $50 3D Printed Hand

JanneM Re:Sunk Costs (285 comments)

[...] but getting a fake hand for the sake of a fake hand is just being vain IMHO.

People are vain. People do care what other people think of them, and people do want to make a good impression on others. And it's completely rational; we are being judged by how we look, what we wear, how we behave. What we think of that is besides the point.

So yes, it turns out most people care about what their prostheses look like as much or more than how well they function. Any maker that disregards that is setting themselves up to become a niche within a niche; and most likely a long-term failure.

3 days ago
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$42,000 Prosthetic Hand Outperformed By $50 3D Printed Hand

JanneM Re:Sunk Costs (285 comments)

Idk about you, but I'd think an obvious robot hand would be easier to deal with than a fake looking piece of plastic mimicking a human hand.

It's probably impossible to know until you are actually in the same situation. There have been highly functional, highly useful hand prosthesis long before robotics - the classical hook is just one example - but the vast majority of patients have always preferred a hand mimic, even when it is completely nonfunctional and even when the mimiry is far from perfect.

Not getting stared at, and fitting in, is critically important to people, in this case as in others. Should'nt be too surprising when you think about it in such terms.

3 days ago
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Seattle Bookstores Embrace Amazon.com

JanneM Re:I prefer to browse real bookstores (83 comments)

I wasn't considering the time spent shopping for books, whether on an online site or in a store, but the overall time I have to read. Besides, browsing the store is part of the fun, not a chore. I basically count that as part of my reading time.

about two weeks ago
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Seattle Bookstores Embrace Amazon.com

JanneM Re:I prefer to browse real bookstores (83 comments)

Welcome to the minority you share with the employees at Amazon HQ.

What minority? Most people do work or have other income sources (even though unemployment is alarmingly high the world over). And my income is slightly less than the average for people my age where I live.

My point was that books are not an expensive indulgence; not in absolute terms and not compared to other everyday extras ranging from movie tickets, coffee-shop coffe or music buys, to weekend beers or tobacco.

I'm not saying the price difference doesn't matter for anybody, or for any kind of book. I am saying that for many people the limit for book buying is not how many books you can afford, but how many you have time to read. And after all, if you're hard up for cash, used book stores or the library are excellent sources for reading material as well, and cheaper still than Amazon.
 

about two weeks ago
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Seattle Bookstores Embrace Amazon.com

JanneM Re:I prefer to browse real bookstores (83 comments)

After you browsed through the real bookstores, where did you buy them?

I usually both browse and buy at real bookstores. In fact, I sometimes browse on Amazon (the ratings are very useful), then buy at the bookstore.

Why? Because even when the price difference is large, the absolute price is still quite low. Besides, these days the price difference often isn't actually very large anymore, once you add the cost of shipping. The difference may be that of a plain cup of coffee or less for a book I may spend weeks enjoying. And I can get the book right then, right there, not have to wait for shipping and schedule a pick-up time.

I work and I have disposable income. I don't, however, have a lot of free time. I can buy far more books than I will ever have time to read without making much of a dent in my personal play money. The limit is not money but time. Books I can't find elsewhere I order from Amazon or Rakuten, but otherwise I prefer the physical store.

about two weeks ago
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UN Report Reveals Odds of Being Murdered Country By Country

JanneM Re:Singapore (386 comments)

So what about Japan then? That's a large, heavily populated country with both huge urban conglomerates and a sparsely populated countryside. Or Sweden, about the same size, with a diverse mix of cultures.

Of course, there's relatively small income equality in both cases. it would be intereting to see how income inequality correlates with murder rate in general. I wouldn't be too surprised if it turns out to be as important as, or even more important than, average income itself.

about two weeks ago
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Algorithm Challenge: Burning Man Vehicle Exodus

JanneM Solving the wrong problem (273 comments)

The post says the total number of exits is fixed. You're just shuffling the order of the queue. A limited benefit, if any benefit at all - the people in the general queue will wait even longer, with more breakdowns and medical emergencies as a result.

And the post itself mentions the solution: Make off-site parking more viable so more people get in and out on buses. That would benefit everybody, rather than pitching one subgroup against another.

about three weeks ago
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Fukushima Photo Essay: a Drone's Eye View

JanneM Just to be clear (66 comments)

Just to be clear here: the devastation is all due to the tsunami, not to the reactor failure. Foreign media seem to often forget or ignore that the disaster was the earthquake and tsunami. That's what killed almost 20k people dead and destroyed the homes of many hundreds of thousands of people.

about three weeks ago
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Job Automation and the Minimum Wage Debate

JanneM Re:One thing's for sure... (870 comments)

In the longer term you're absolutely right. And in the longer term I don't think automation is an overall bad thing. I suspect that those of us in the industrialized world will be in for a rude awakening when we realize that it's the developing countries that will reap most of the benefits, but that's a digression.

What I meant with my comment was that the only people that benefit specifically from lowering wages* to stave off automation are the employers. It's a short-term event - buying people a few years or so - and effectively won't be reflected in the long-term price level changes. And the effect on the wage level spreads to areas that are not otherwise immediately affected by automation. The employers are effectively reaping the benefit of automation a bit early; a margin profit that we're unlikely to see.

* Wages can be lowered in other ways than reducing the pay. Adding to the workload, no compensation for inflation, more responsibility, night or shift work, or split shifts; they are all effectively the same as lowering the wage.

about a month ago
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Job Automation and the Minimum Wage Debate

JanneM Re:One thing's for sure... (870 comments)

"The higher the minimum wage, the more incentive there will be to automate those minimum-wage jobs.

The wage really doesn't matter. What matters is if automation is able to do the job at all - where "able" of course includes social acceptance and other non-technical factors as well. But once you are able to replace it, the cost of that replacement will drop, and will drop below the human wage sooner or later.

Trying to race automation to the cost bottom is an exercise in futility; it's a race humans will not win. The only ones that benefit from it are the employers that get cheaper labour faster as a result.

about a month ago
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Jimmy Wales To 'Holistic Healers': Prove Your Claims the Old-Fashioned Way

JanneM Re:Seems like a fine line (517 comments)

"genuine anecdotal evidence"

I'm not quite sure you understand the meaning of "genuine" here. Or "evidence"...

about a month ago
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Major Scientific Journal Publisher Requires Public Access To Data

JanneM Re:Bad news for ecologists--new license needed (136 comments)

On the other hand, if I don't have your data I can't check your results. If you want to keep your data secret for a decade, you really should plan to not publish anything relying on it for that time either. Release all the papers when you release the data.

Also, who gets to decide when a study is a replication and when it is a new result? Few replication attempts are doing exactly the same thing as the original paper, for good reason. If you want to see if it holds up you want to use different analysis or similar anyway. And "use" data? What if another group produces their own data and compares with yours? Is that "using" the data? What if they compare your published results? Is that using it?

A partial solution, I think, is for a group such as yours to pre-plan the data use already when collecting it. So you decide from start to publish a subset of that data early and publish papers based on that. Then publish another subset for further results and so on.

But what we really need is for data to be fully citeable. A way to publish the data as a reserach result by itself - perhaps the data, together with a paper describing it (but not any analysis). ANyone is free to use the data for their own research, but will of course cite you when they do. A good, serious data set can probably rack up more citations than just about any paper out there. That will give the producers the scientific credit it deserves.

about 2 months ago
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Apocalypse NAO: College Studies the Theological Ramifications of Robotics

JanneM Re:Robots are incapable of evil (176 comments)

People project personhood on lots of things already. Apart from the obvious - search the net for what people think about their roombas - even stuff like cars are designed to evoke it. And it's not as if there's been a dearth of research on these issues already.

about a month ago
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Apocalypse NAO: College Studies the Theological Ramifications of Robotics

JanneM Re:Robots are incapable of evil (176 comments)

making the robot evil is the question

Making the robot evil is not the question. Making the robot evil is the answer. "How do I take over the world?" is the question.

about a month ago
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Facebook To Buy WhatsApp

JanneM Re:And if they make me have a Facebook account... (199 comments)

Or move to LINE. That one has almost as many users as WhatsApp already.

Which leads me to wonder: is Facebook going to play money-bag whack-a-mole with every new social network that shows up? That's going to get expensive really fast.

about 2 months ago
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Fake Pub Studies Drinking Habits

JanneM Re:So a fake pub with drinks and a place to sit (118 comments)

Note, the subjects do not need to know (and shouldn't know) the actual research being done, just that they're part of a research project. Usually they're told that the researchers are testing one thing, while it's something entirely different that's really being tested.

That generally needs specific approval, though, and normally always requirs that the subject gets briefed about the real intention of the research afterwards. Also, I'm not at all certain that serving alcohol does not constitute medicating the subjects; that would mean a still tougher IRB review and approval process.

about 2 months ago

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