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Comments

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Why My LG Optimus Cellphone Is Worse Than It's Supposed To Be

PapayaSF Re:...The hell? (271 comments)

"I bought a cheap-ass phone and it sucks"

It's worse than that. It's more: "I bought a cheap-ass phone and it sucks and thus the free market has failed."

12 hours ago
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Dealing With 'Advertising Pollution'

PapayaSF Re:When "free" isn't free (365 comments)

I'll admit micropayments don't remove the problem of click-bait, which already exists. And there could be fraud, e.g. claiming something is 1 cent to read, but charging $1. But I think a lot of that can be solved be reputation and common sense, i.e. you might not want to click on that .ru link that promises nude photos of Christina Hendricks. I think the negatives would be worth the positives of allowing content providers, large and small, to make money directly, without advertising.

2 days ago
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Dealing With 'Advertising Pollution'

PapayaSF When "free" isn't free (365 comments)

This is because most or all website revenue comes from advertising. CBS has ads, but Netflix doesn't. Books don't, and newspapers and magazines have a limited amount, because part of their revenue comes from selling their publications to consumers. (Without ads, a copy of something like National Geographic or Playboy would cost $20 or more.)

The problem is that we don't have a good way of buying small amounts of content online. You can subscribe to some sites by the month or year, or perhaps buy limited access via PayPal, but the cost tends to be $ or $$ or $$$, and nobody wants to subscribe to CNN or YouTube. They want to see that video now, with no registration and commitment. The answer is the great lost Internet opportunity of 15 years ago: micropayments. If there was an easy and universal system for paying (say) a few cents to watch a video, why not? It'd be trivial for viewers, but could add up to real money for sites.

If I were a huge content provider, I'd figure out a way to make it happen, perhaps through ISPs. Subsidize them to give every user maybe $10/month credit. Offer content providers a great deal to install a one-click "Read/Watch Now for 1 cent" buttons. Get people used to paying tiny amounts of money to view content. If something like this could get going, it'd benefit content providers of all sizes. E.g. a comedian who writes one joke a day could make a living with 10,000 readers paying 1 cent per day ($100/day = $36,500/year).

2 days ago
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The Hacking of NASDAQ

PapayaSF Reminds me of a Tom Clancy novel (76 comments)

I forget which one, but as I recall the solution was to restore everything to the state before the hack, erasing the tainted trades along with all the valid ones.

4 days ago
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Apple and IBM Announce Partnership To Bring iOS + Cloud Services To Enterprises

PapayaSF Re:Et tu, Lenovo? (126 comments)

The question going through my mind, is what does this mean for Lenovo? Lenovo acquired IBM's Personal Computing Division in 2004, and announced at the beginning of 2014 that they had reached an agreement to acquire IBM's x86 server business. The fact that IBM chose not to partner with Lenovo for developing all these apps and services for Lenovo's Windows and Android tablets and smartphones is downright bizarre.

On the contrary. Selling things to someone is different from marrying them. And who would IBM rather have a relationship with? An unstable trio (a Chinese maker of undistinguished hardware plus two rival OSes), or the one most profitable and popular maker of phones and tablets and the OS that runs on them? How many of IBM's customers and even employees prefer Lenovo Windows and Android tablets and smartphones to iPhones and iPads?

about a week ago
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Study: Global Warming Solvable If Fossil Fuel Subsidies Given To Clean Energy

PapayaSF Re:You think? (385 comments)

So, to be clear, if Obama got on TV and announced that no taxes would need to be paid on corporate or personal income from renewable energy sales, you would NOT consider that a form of subsidy? And he would get no resistance from the right, because it would just be "taking less of someone's money"?

No, that would be a subsidy, if it wasn't applied to all businesses equally. My point was that some people claim a tax cut, usually in the form of a rate cut, is "the same thing as spending." E.g., if a tax cut is expected to reduce revenues by $100 million, they will say it's the same as the government spending $100 million. It's not, for various reasons too off-topic to go into.

about two weeks ago
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Study: Global Warming Solvable If Fossil Fuel Subsidies Given To Clean Energy

PapayaSF Re:You think? (385 comments)

Today on /. we find out who doesn't know the difference between subsidies, tax deductions, tax breaks, and taxes.

You'd have a mod point if I had one right now. You could have added "spending," because I've seen people argue that tax cuts (i.e. taking less of someone's money) is the same thing as more government spending.

about two weeks ago
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Solar-Powered Electrochemical Cell Used To Produce Formic Acid From CO2

PapayaSF Re:Great... Instead of CO2 we get CO (133 comments)

Only by increasing the forest footprint of the world, or causing massive algae blooms in the oceans can you really sequester CO2 in vegetation.

I imagine some sort of GMO supertree that grows as fast as bamboo, for carbon sequestration and a cheap building material.

about three weeks ago
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The New 501(c)(3) and the Future of Open Source In the US

PapayaSF Pillowism (228 comments)

Every Sunday morning, you worship your pillow.

about three weeks ago
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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

PapayaSF Re:"Safe, knowledgeable" taxi drivers (273 comments)

I point to those examples to show that regulation doesn't necessarily make things better, and thus less regulation doesn't necessarily make things worse.

about three weeks ago
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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

PapayaSF Re: Good? (273 comments)

Yeah, because the private companies that benefit from this had nothing to do with it, right? It's all the government's fault and only the government's fault.

You are missing the point. When legislators decide to regulate buying and selling, the first things bought are legislators. Taxi cartels are prime examples of this.

about three weeks ago
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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

PapayaSF "Safe, knowledgeable" taxi drivers (273 comments)

Do you really want the choice where the safe, knowledgeable driver [...]

"Safe, knowledgeable" taxi drivers like this guy or this guy? And that's just two cases I know of in San Francisco.

about three weeks ago
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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

PapayaSF Re:Good? (273 comments)

I live in San Francisco and you won't be getting a ride from the cabbies who are hypothetically required to take you. Dispatch will accept the call, but no one will ever show up.

Very true. I once tried to get a cab from one part of downtown to another, in the middle of a workday. No cab ever showed up. I've heard they don't want to miss out on a more lucrative run to the airport.

about three weeks ago
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Google Demos Modular Phone That (Almost) Actually Works

PapayaSF Re:Anyone else remember... (126 comments)

Exactly. That's why a modular PCs were never created. There's no way you can get high performance when the user can pick their own RAM, CPU, motherboard, video card, hard drives, etc.

Oh, wait.

Size matters. Desktop PCs are easy to make modular (unless you want an iMac). Laptops are harder, and besides removable batteries, only a few had any modular components (like a DVD drive swappable for an extra battery). Phones are much more space-constrained. Every millimeter counts, and modularity takes up quite a bit of space at that scale, because each part needs to be enclosed, securely attach to the others, etc.

In short, a modular phone is possible, but the trade-offs will be severe, and you'll be able to pick one or two things (e.g. speed, battery life, extra features, small size, etc.) but not all at the same time. And the prices won't be good, because manufacturer(s) will lose economies of scale: it'll be hard to compete with Apple and Samsung making millions and tens of millions of identical units.

about three weeks ago
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San Francisco Bans Parking Spot Auctioning App

PapayaSF Re:They hate our freedom (404 comments)

It occurs to me that knowing where a parking space is available would reduce time spent driving around, itself reducing pollution, excess expenditure on additional fuel, the clogging of streets, and other issues associated with tons of traffic driving in circles throughout the city.

Ah, but you are being logical and not ecological. It has been official policy in SF for years to "get people out of their cars" by any means. This includes intentionally removing parking places (more, more), and even preventing new construction from having more than one parking space per unit.

about a month ago
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2 US Senators Propose 12-Cent Gas Tax Increase

PapayaSF Re:Good! (619 comments)

If you make travel by road artificially cheap (which it is - at least 1/3 of road budgets come from general taxation) then people will drive more rather than looking for public transit alternatives.

Your point is pretty much self-refuting, because public transit is heavily subsidized, perhaps even more than automobiles are.

about a month ago
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Congressman Asks NSA To Provide Metadata For "Lost" IRS Emails

PapayaSF Re:Sad thing about this is (347 comments)

To answer your question about which category under 501(c) the Tea Party should have applied for; the answer is none of them. By the wording of the original law, political organizations should not be getting any 501(c) designations.

I'm sorry, but this is beside the point. If there are going to be 501(c)(4)s, the IRS has to judge them fairly, and they weren't. Maybe you think the AARP, the NRA, the League of Conservation Voters, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund, and all the rest should be taxed like for-profit corporations, but under the interpretation of the law that has existed for decades, they aren't. And if you are going to change that, don't change it for one political view, and not for the others.

about a month ago
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Congressman Asks NSA To Provide Metadata For "Lost" IRS Emails

PapayaSF Re:Nice Synergy (347 comments)

I am not downplaying the importance of the NSA scandal, but the IRS scandal is, in a way, worse. While the NSA violated the right of masses of Americans, it is (as far as we know) an "equal opportunity" violation of rights. But the IRS scandal is about using the machinery of government for partisan advantage. That is hugely dangerous in a way different, and arguably worse.

about a month ago
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Congressman Asks NSA To Provide Metadata For "Lost" IRS Emails

PapayaSF Re:Sad thing about this is (347 comments)

It's amazing how many people think that the IRS was seeking to prevent the Tea Party from getting tax exempt status; that was never the issue, their tax exempt status was never in doubt. The issue was they were applying for 501(c)(4) status which is reserved for social welfare groups like civic leagues and volunteer fire departments. Social welfare groups are allowed to engage in political activity but it cannot be their primary activity. Wondering why the Tea Party wanted that 501(c)(4) designation? Such groups do not have to reveal who is donating money to them. There has been a large run up in the number of groups applying for the 501(c)(4) designation.

Nonsense. What section of the code should they have applied for? 501(3)(c)s have strict limits on participation in politics. 501(c)(5) and 501(c)(6) are even worse fits.

If Obama's campaign organization can become a 501(c)(4) and now serve has a propaganda and lobbying arm for Democrats, including running the Presidential Twitter feed, how is it that groups that want to educate people about the Constitution are somehow too political? Or you seriously going to argue that Organizing For America qualifies, but hundreds of Tea Party groups do not? Give it up, dude. This is a genuine scandal of Nixonian proportions.

about a month ago

Submissions

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HealthCare.gov Can't Handle Appeals of Errors

PapayaSF PapayaSF writes  |  about 6 months ago

PapayaSF (721268) writes "The Washington Post reports that roughly 22,000 people have claimed they were charged too much, steered into the wrong insurance program, or denied coverage, but the website cannot handle appeals. They've filled out seven-page forms and mailed them to a federal contractor’s office in Kentucky, where they were scanned and entered, but workers at CMS cannot read them because that part of the system has not been built. Other missing aspects are said to have higher priorities: completing the electronic payment system for insurers, the connections with state Medicaid programs, and the ability to adjust coverage to accommodate major changes such as new babies. People with complaints about mistakes have been told to "return to the Web site and start over."

Earlier coverage of this saga includes Slashdot's discussion of the recent TheHill.com report that Accenture Faces Mid-March Healthcare.gov Deadline Or 'Disaster'."
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Accenture faces mid-March deadline or disaster

PapayaSF PapayaSF writes  |  about 6 months ago

PapayaSF (721268) writes "TheHill.com reports that Accenture has two months to fix HealthCare.gov by building a "financial management platform that tracks eligibility and enrollment transactions, accounts for subsidy payments to insurance plans, 'provides stable and predictable financial accounting and outlook for the entire program,' and that integrates with existing CMS and IRS systems." The procurement document, posted on a federal website, states that if this is not completed in time, there will be "financial harm to the government" and "the entire healthcare reform program is jeopardized." Risk mitigation (which pays insurers who enroll a higher-than-expected number of sick patients) must be accurately forecast, or it might put "the entire health insurance industry at risk.” Accenture will also have to fix the enrollment transmissions, which have been sending inaccurate and garbled data to insurance companies. Because the back-end cannot currently handle the federal subsidies, insurers will be paid estimated amounts as a stopgap measure. The document also said that officials realized in December that there was no time for a “full and open competition process” before awarding Accenture the $91 million contract. What are their odds of success?"
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The SEC is about to make crowdfunding more expensive

PapayaSF PapayaSF writes  |  about 7 months ago

PapayaSF (721268) writes "Proposed new rules require that funding portals register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Intermediary Regulatory Authority (FINRA). In addition, investors must have access to a business plan, use of proceeds, a valuation of the company, and financials, so CPAs may needed. The SEC estimates that for amounts under $100,000, the fees will be 12.9% to 39% of the money raised, though it may drop to under 8% for higher amounts. Is this needed regulation, or bureaucratic overreach?"
Link to Original Source
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"Green gasoline" breakthrough

PapayaSF PapayaSF writes  |  more than 6 years ago

PapayaSF writes "Researchers have announced the first direct conversion of plant cellulose into "green gasoline." Rapidly heating cellulose with catalysts and then cooling it produces liquids like naphthalene and toluene that are a quarter of the components of gasoline, in under two minutes. The result can be further treated or used as part of a gasoline blend, and can be used in existing engines without the mileage penalty of ethanol-based fuel. The process requires less energy to make than ethanol, can use forest or agricultural waste, and (in principle) won't have a carbon footprint. They say it could be at the pump in five to 10 years."
Link to Original Source
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Total Music to Challenge iTunes

PapayaSF PapayaSF writes  |  more than 6 years ago

PapayaSF writes "Business Week is reporting on a plan by Universal Music, Sony BMG, and possibly Warner Music Group to create an industry-owned digital music service called Total Music. The business model: get hardware makers and cellphone carriers to pay them about about $90 per device and in exchange consumers get all-you-can-eat free music. They figure that hardware makers will go for it because they'll sell more units, and consumers will happily pay the extra money upfront to get free music. So will this be a real challenge to Apple, or another music industry flop?"
Link to Original Source

Journals

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Mod points return!

PapayaSF PapayaSF writes  |  more than 3 years ago

After about five months without mod points, they came back right after the redesign. Coincidence or not? Who can say....

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I wonder what happened to all my mod points

PapayaSF PapayaSF writes  |  more than 3 years ago

For a while over the summer it seemed like I was getting 15 mod points every week or two. Sometimes I didn't use them all up before the next batch came in. Then around September they all stopped. I don't think I've had any for three months. Were my mod abilities suddenly considered to be not up to snuff? Did a bunch of other Slashdotters come back from vacation, eager to moderate? Did my half-hearted stabs at meta-moderation work against me? (I *much* preferred the old metamod system and was much better at doing it then.) Maybe someone out there knows....

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