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Ubuntu Releases 13.04, Sticks To 6-Month Release Rhythm

LordNicholas Highlights included in this release, for the lazy (177 comments)

Biggest client updates:

-UbuntuGnome (featuring Gnome 3.6 by default) is now an official flavor

-Unity 7

-LibreOffice 4

-Improved support for CUPS

-Software Updater simplified

-Friends service replaces Gwibber

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Starting From Scratch After a Burglary?

LordNicholas Re:First purchase (770 comments)

I love me some Second Amendment as well, but I really hope you don't have kids living with you...

about a year ago
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Google Wiring New York City's Chelsea For Free Wi-Fi

LordNicholas Re:Should read, "Only part of Chelsea" (67 comments)

This. Their NYC offices are the in the old Port Authority building at 111 8th avenue. Apparently they bought that particular building because there's a major fiber line that runs through it.

Source: I used to work out of the building before Google bought it.

about a year ago
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The Privacy Illusion

LordNicholas Re:Why the government? (198 comments)

Because I can easily opt out of not giving my data to Facebook or Google. If I feel that Microsoft has abused my privacy, I can switch to Apple, or to Linux. If Amazon sells my personal information, I can buy from Barnes and Noble or my local bookstore. It's (usually) an entirely voluntary relationship.

My relationship with the federal government is not voluntary. When Congress passes a law I don't agree with, I can't take my business elsewhere without moving to a different country. I'm stuck with it. It's all well and good to believe that government is supposed to be representing the interests of the people, but they cannot be everything to everyone. Some percentage of people will necessarily be unhappy with the outcome, often a large percentage.

That's why people like me are in favor of limiting its influence. That's obviously not always possible, which is why we also prefer those decisions that large percentages of people won't agree with to go to state and local governments. If my town bans gay marriage and I'm in favor of it, I can move to the next town over without disrupting my life too much. If my state's education department is awful, I can move somewhere with a better one. When you concentrate all that power in the federal government, we lose choice and freedom.

about a year and a half ago
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Toys R Us Unveils Android Tablet For Kids

LordNicholas You're not thinking like Mom (163 comments)

As a nerd, but also as someone in the mobile games business, I'd say there's definitely potential here. All they need is a big sticker saying "No accidental app purchases!"

Mobile games on an iPad run the risk of Junior buying $500 worth of virtual currency. The same moms who aren't tech-savvy enough to disable that feature are the same ones who'd more than happily spend $150 on a kid-proof Tabeo. There's also a dollar value on the fact that Mom doesn't need to spend any time or energy ensuring Junior doesn't download anything objectionable.

Those are just two examples- there are plenty of others.

about a year and a half ago
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NBC Purchases MSNBC Rights From Microsoft

LordNicholas Re:Content control by the previous owners? (209 comments)

So, if I read this correctly, NBC is its own owner again, and therefore also in charge of its own contents. Independence is important for a news provider.

Hope the OP was aiming for a "funny" mod.

NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC are all owned by NBCUniversal (as in Universal Studios; the two merged in 2004), which is in turn owned by GE and Comcast.

CNN is owned by Turner, which is in turn owned by Time Warner.

ABC is owned by Disney

Fox is owned by Fox Entertainment Group, owned by News Corp

Independence doesn't exist in modern media- at least not in the television space.

about 2 years ago
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Supreme Court Orders Do-Over On Key Software Patents

LordNicholas What else is there to say? (167 comments)

This nonsense is crushing innovation. It's one more in a long line of examples of how we need to reevaluate how we govern ourselves.

about 2 years ago
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Stanford Bioengineers Create Rewritable Digital Data Storage In DNA

LordNicholas Re:Any word on effects (56 comments)

Not if they're non-coding strings of DNA that aren't involved with gene expression.

about 2 years ago
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Diesel-Like Engine Could Boost Fuel Economy By 50%

LordNicholas Any engine technicians around to translate? (721 comments)

Where exactly do the efficiency increases from tradition -> diesel -> Delphi engine come from? The article mentions the ignition process but I'm having a hard time understanding exactly what about this drives a 40-50% improvement. What's so great about diesel, and what makes this engine so much better?

about 2 years ago
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'Inexact' Chips Save Power By Fudging the Math

LordNicholas Re:Prediction (325 comments)

My computer makes it a +4.7 funny.

More like +/- 4.7 funny.

about 2 years ago
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U.S. Imposes Tariffs On Chinese Solar Cells

LordNicholas Re:Yes, it will raise prices (345 comments)

And then when they jack up the prices again, what's to stop anyone from re-entering the market? Do you think there are significant barriers to manufacturing something as simple as solar cells?

Even assuming they bankrupt all competitors and then raise their prices, new competitors will come out of the woodwork to eat their lunch. It's not a sustainable long-term strategy.

This is a ridiculous argument.

about 2 years ago
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U.S. Imposes Tariffs On Chinese Solar Cells

LordNicholas Re:Yes, it will raise prices (345 comments)

And they'll be able to sell them no higher than the market rate, which will be higher than cost plus a slim profit margin, just like any other product on earth. Raise the price too much and China's comparative advantage is lost, and Vietnam or India or maybe even the USA swoops in and sells them for less. Eventually we settle on the truest, cheapest realistic price for the product.

Guys, this is basic economics.

about 2 years ago
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U.S. Imposes Tariffs On Chinese Solar Cells

LordNicholas Re:Yes, it will raise prices (345 comments)

As always seems to happen during debates around trade tariffs and regulation, you're considering only one side of the equation (American workers) and not the other (American consumers). The majority of us who are not workers manufacturing solar cells benefit greatly from having a supply of cheap, foreign-made solar cells rather than expensive, domestic-made cells, which on the whole balances out the negative impact on American workers.

Our first world living standard is exactly because of these kinds of arrangements, not despite them.

You are correct in pointing out that "dumping" (selling solar cells below the cost of manufacturing them) is a true market distortion and should generally be discouraged, but I think it's naive to pretend that these tariffs are based on economics and not political pressures.

about 2 years ago
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The Pirate Bay Returns, Anonymous Hater Takes Credit For DDoS

LordNicholas Re:Thank god! (122 comments)

Picard's crazy, Geordi can see, and everything is Q's fault.

about 2 years ago
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General Motors: "Facebook Ads Aren't Worth It"

LordNicholas The Old Marketing Adage Applies Double for GM (400 comments)

"I know that 50% of my ads are effective, I just don't know which 50%"

Attributing conversions (ie, purchase of a new car) to ads is tricky for any business, let alone one like GM where the eventual purchase takes place offline. You can track leads from Facebook ads to your website, but how can you be sure the ads contributed to a purchase down the road? And even if you ask someone who comes into a car dealership "Did you see our ad on Facebook?" or give them a coupon to print and bring with them, how can you be sure how much of that purchase was driven by that ad vs the ads she saw on TV vs the radio vs print?

Facebook ads command a hefty premium over more mainstream online ads because of the ability to finely target specific types of people (ie, people who have "Liked" GM, people who have listed "cars" as an interest, people who have mentioned the Chevy Volt in a conversation...). It's a big problem for Facebook if brands can't attribute this premium ad spend to a measurable increase in sales.

about 2 years ago
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Canadian Telcos Lobby Against Pick-and-Pay TV

LordNicholas Re:A (Hopefully) Better Explanation for Bundling (244 comments)

Despite our advances in digital cable delivery, the analytics aren't there. Ad deals are still bought and paid for around Nielsen ratings, which is based on the same sampling methodology they've been using for decades.

There may come a day when we have the same analytics on TVs and cable boxes as we do online, but that day hasn't come yet.

Not trying to schill for the cable companies (although they do pay my salary), because I, too, think the current model sucks ass. But we can blame Nielsen and advertisers for this mess- not the telcos, and not the cable networks.

about 2 years ago
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Canadian Telcos Lobby Against Pick-and-Pay TV

LordNicholas Re:A (Hopefully) Better Explanation for Bundling (244 comments)

I know I'm a few days late replying but yes- I completely agree. It seems crazy to me as well.

Some advertisers are smart- they know exactly the narrow, niche audience they want to reach, and are willing to pay a premium for it because they're betting those customers will be more profitable in the long term. Most advertisers, however, are not. When their target is simply "People aged 25-54" rather than "Wealthy female northeasterners who like outdoor sports", it doesn't matter how engaged the audience is.

The main issue is measurement- despite all our advances in digital technology, Nielsen ratings are still based on a panel of a few million homes that act as a model for the entire nation- essentially the same methodology as in the 1950s. When the advertiser has no way of really knowing who's seeing their ad anyway, the incentive is just to blast it out to as many screens as possible and hope it sticks.

about 2 years ago
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MIT Fusion Researchers Answer Your Questions

LordNicholas Re:Very brief summary / Obligatory XKCD (244 comments)

Let's put $80 billion in perspective (data mostly courtesy of XKCD http://xkcd.com/980).

$80 billion is:

4 new subway lines in NYC (~$17 billion each)
9 aircraft carriers (Gerald Ford class, ~$9 billion each)
Less than Apple's cash on hand (~$97 billion)
Slightly more than the F-22 Raptor program (~$67 billion, now halted/wasted)
Slightly more than President Obama's 2011 high-speed rail proposal (~$53 billion)
About half of the International Space Station (~$138 billion)
Less than half of the Apollo moon landing project (~$192 billion)
3 Manhattan Projects (~$24 billion each)
80 Instagrams

In the grand scheme of Humanity, $80 billion is a trivial cost if it could help solve the world's energy concerns. At least in my opinion.

about 2 years ago
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Canadian Telcos Lobby Against Pick-and-Pay TV

LordNicholas Re:A (Hopefully) Better Explanation for Bundling (244 comments)

Pricing for a specific deal is based on people reached, as measured by Nielsen, after the fact. Long-term relationships between a channel and an advertiser for multiple deals are based on potential reach, before the fact. An advertiser doesn't want to go to 9 different individual small channels to get the scale they need for a campaign- they want to go to one channel with the scale to accommodate them.

Ad revenue won't go up until we all move completely to digital and have better numbers than Nielsen's 1950s strategy for measuring TV audience. We actually do make higher CPMs for online video deals than on-air, but the scale isn't there to make it profitable yet.

about 2 years ago

Submissions

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Marines To Introduce Bulletproof Facial Shielding

LordNicholas LordNicholas writes  |  about 2 years ago

LordNicholas (2174126) writes "The Marine Corps is looking to introduce bulletproof facial shields as standard equipment for some combat roles, which are proving so popular among some soldiers that they're being purchased out-of-pocket. Critics point out that the shields would add cost and complexity to the standard loadout, as well as further distancing troops from the civilian populations they're supposed to protect. I, for one, welcome our new Combine overlords."
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