top Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same
Alternately, you could claim that they cut Saturday processing instead of raising prices. I'm hardly outraged about this.
top Human Blood Substitute Could Help Meet Donor Blood Shortfall
By law, all the blood donations in the US have to come from volunteers -- donors are not allowed to sell blood
Then fix the law. I'll give my blood away for free when everyone working at the blood bank and the hospital start working for free as well. Until then, my O-Neg blood is staying where it is. Frankly, it takes balls to ask me to donate when everyone else in the system is in there for the money. Pay people for blood and the shortages will disappear. At least in the US. 3rd world countries may have other institutional problems getting in the way.
about a month and a half ago
top The Ethics Cloud Over Ballmer's $2 Billion B-Ball Buy
With the long term capital gains tax rate at 15%, I'd just pay the tax. Odds are that rate is going back up at some point in the not too distant future.
about a month and a half ago
top Apple Says Many Users 'Bought an Android Phone By Mistake'
Oh, I've bought a few phones that were, in hindsight, mistakes. I knew what I was buying, I just didn't know it was crap. Android prior to Gingerbread was crap, and even Gingerbread was kind of iffy. Fortunately, smartphones have reached a point where even the cheap phones are pretty nice. My S3 is approaching 2 years old and I may continue to use it for another 2 years.
top Mutant Registration vs. Vaccine Registration
I always fill out the conscientious objector form, even though my kid is vaccinated. It's none of the government's business. Yep, I'm one of those people.
top Virtual DVDs, Revisited
He's a columnist. He's probably more qualified than the idiots who write for my local newspaper. But his job is to write something even if he doesn't really have anything to say.
And in this case, there's not much to say. Movie streaming, DVD sales, rentals, etc., are tied up in a web of contracts and distribution agreements, and it's entirely possible that a studio couldn't sell streaming on some things even if they wanted to. Also, a lot of movies are available on Amazon Instant Video as 24 hours rentals. Ta Da. The challenge for Amazon, Netflix, and the studios is how do they milk the most money out of consumers while at the same time satisfying all of their existing contractual obligations. They're all smart companies, it's just more complicated than poor Bennett understands.
top With the Surface Pro, Microsoft Is Trying To Recreate the PC Market
They're a fantastic business machine. They really are.
But at the same time, Microsoft is losing a whole generation of users who are learning that they don't need Microsoft. I would argue that a lot of Apple's success today stems from the fact that they were the dominant machine in schools 30 years ago.
Kids today are running around with 7" tablets. Sure, they're infotainment, but they do everything on those tablets. Web, Skype, Netflix, they type up homework, and of course, play games. It is a major strategic mistake to ignore the 7" tablet market.
top 5 Years Later, 'Do Not Track' System Ineffective
I use a DNS (hosts file) based ad blocker. Works great. Although I'm less concerned about being tracked than I am about someone using ad networks as a vector for malware.
I'm not opposed to advertising, but until ad networks can be trusted, I'm going to leave the blocks in place.
top Silicon Valley To Get a Cellular Network Just For Things
It's called equipment monitoring. I make a monitoring system for stand-by generators. It turns out that there are laws about how often you can run your generator in a non-emergency fashion in some states. My monitoring service costs a tiny fraction of the fine for an incomplete log book. As an added benefit, it can automatically notify your maintenance company that the generator needs repair or fuel.
No one cares about connecting your toaster to the internet. However, there are a lot of monitoring applications that can really benefit from a low cost low bandwidth service.
top Driverless Cars Could Cripple Law Enforcement Budgets
Taxing EVs makes perfect sense. They still need roads to be built and maintained.
Adding an enforcement fee for a car that doesn't need enforcement is just absurd. If the number of tickets being written drops because there are no more speeding cars and reckless drivers, then just reduce the size of the police force. You don't need patrol cops any more and that's a good thing. Instead of employing people as patrol cops, they can instead work as artists or scientists or something that makes the world better instead of being a necessary evil.
top Ask Slashdot: Minimum Programming Competence In Order To Get a Job?
How do you check your level? Here's a little test...
Test 1: write a program that loops through the number 1 to 20. If the number is a multiple of 3, write "Fizz", if the number is a multiple of 5, write "Buzz", if the number is a multiple of 3 and 5, write "FizzBuzz". For all other numbers, just write the number.
Test 2: read a text file full of numbers, sort it, and write out the sorted list of numbers back out to a second text file.
If you can do both in under 15 minutes, you're at least a 7/10, and I may have a job for you. Seriously. I hire programmers and 3 out of 4 can't do that. One guy with 5 years experience took almost an hour to produce 2 programs that were almost correct. I rate myself a 9/10, which says less about my skills than it does about 90% of the people working in the industry.
top A Look at Smart Gun Technology
The problem isn't the lack of market. You develop a smart gun because you think you can get politicians to mandate smart guns. That's why there's all the hate mail and threats from gun nuts. They don't want these guns, it's a dumb idea, and it will probably be forced on them eventually.
top Ben Starr Answers Your Questions About Sustainability and Kitchen Tech
I've tried the Voodoo Maple Bacon beer, and that was enough to halt any thoughts I might have had about brewing with either bacon or maple. Lately, I've been working on making light beers (a very challenging task!) that are still interesting (an even more challenging task!). Ultimately, the problem with home brewing is that it was starting to make me fat.
Still, I make a few full bodied beers to keep me happy and sane during the cold winter months.
top Comcast: Destroying What Makes a Competitive Internet Possible
Close... What cities actually need is a functioning marketplace for internet service. Right now, the driving cost, the barrier to entry, is putting wires or cables in the ground. If you uncouple the last mile from providing service, it gets really easy for ISPs to get in to the market. Google Fiber is just like any other ISP. They want to run the competition out of town so that they can get top dollar for their service. They want to be a monopoly. I assure you, if they had the same market penetration as Comcast, they would be just as bad. The best way to prevent this is to make the last mile a local utility. The ISP only needs to run fiber to the neighborhood and then cross connect their own customers.
top Ask Slashdot: Beginner To Intermediate Programming Projects?
The SpamBayes email filter hasn't been updated in forever. The actual filtering part works great. The problem that needs solving is that it needs to be updated for Outlook 2013 (using the Ribbon) and for 64 bit platforms. It's open source, and written in Python.
top The Feature Phone Is Dead: Long Live the 'Basic Smartphone'
When I think about it, I really don't need a data plan anymore. 95% of my data is coming over WiFi networks anyway. My phone is already set up for data at home, work, the coffee shop, several restaurants, and my kid's school. The only time I really need data is if I'm lost and I need a map.
On the other hand, I'm probably not all that typical. All I'm using for data is mostly email and weather. I don't play games on the phone and I'm not an app junkie. But even if I was, I think I could get by without an actual data plan.
top Yahoo Stops Honoring 'Do-Not-Track' Settings
It was a dumb idea anyway. Asking a web server to honor the "do not track" setting is like asking my dog to guard a plate of cookies. If you want this to work, you've got to control privacy from the client, somehow. Alternately, you need a legal remedy of some sort.
top Lessig Launches a Super PAC To End All Super PACs
I'd like to volunteer to show what a dumb idea this is. I propose that Mr Lessig attempt to get me elected to congress. I am exceedingly smart, but have no public speaking skills, and no matter how good I am at being right, I'm very bad at convincing people that I'm right. Also, I live in the district of a popular incumbent. So, if an unlimited amount of money can get me elected, then this idea will be validated and I'll definitely push for some campaign finance reform once elected. Otherwise, Larry can take that money and invest it in something more useful, like pizza. Because, really, it takes an absurd amount of money to sway even a very close race, and every attempt at CFR to date has backfired and left the controlling interests even more powerful.
top 50 Years of BASIC, the Language That Made Computers Personal
A language that required certain statements to start with a certain indentation? Fortran was pointlessly stupid. As a child learning programming in the 80s, I certainly flourished with BASIC. When I was subjected to Fortran77 in college, I wondered why people were still using this archaic language.
top To Save the Internet We Need To Own the Means of Distribution
To summarize, previously there was no vertical integration. ISPs didn't own the last mile. And I think that's the model we need to go back to.
Suppose ISPs no longer own the last mile. That's either a government or even any 3rd party. All an ISP needs to do to provide service to an area is to run a fiber to the main patch panel for that area. Suddenly it's easy for more players to get in to the ISP business and offer service to an area.
My main point being is that the last mile infrastructure is a natural monopoly. It's relatively expensive to lay and it's typically not economical to have multiple providers. The reason water, sewer, and roads are typically provided by local governments is that there's no benefit to privatization. You privatize roads, and all you get is a heavily regulated monopoly.
So, I don't want government internet any more than I want a government grocery store. Wrong solution to the wrong problem. I do want to separate the last mile from the ISP/Cable company/whatever. Markets work, but only where there is an actual functioning market.