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Comments

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Free Copy of the Sims 2 Contains SecuROM

Quirkz Re:Anti-piracy (222 comments)

Zed's dead, baby. Zed's dead.

yesterday
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Do Apple and Google Sabotage Older Phones? What the Graphs Don't Show

Quirkz Re: Not Just Phones (276 comments)

Because if the phone I currently have seems okay for a year and then turns into a nonfunctional piece of junk, I'm not very likely to buy another one next time?

2 days ago
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Apple Acquires "Pandora For Books" Booklamp For $15 Million

Quirkz Re:forever payments (26 comments)

I used to think I wanted to own everything. Then I moved 20 boxes of books 9 times in 11 years, half of the time not even bothering to unpack. I eventually realized while I've got several hundred books that I value and revisit (good stories, reference, push on my kids when they're old enough, whatever), there's a large majority I'm happy to read once and not again, and also very happy not to have to store/organize/move.

2 days ago
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Apple Acquires "Pandora For Books" Booklamp For $15 Million

Quirkz Re:Did anyone ever try booklamp? (26 comments)

I've been using Pandora recently and very happy with a lot of new suggestions, too. It's been many times more effective than other sources in pointing me at music I've never heard before but really like.

For fine tuning, an interface might be nice, but just in case you overlooked it, I think the thumbs-up/thumbs-down on individual songs as they play does help with tuning.

2 days ago
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How Stanford Engineers Created a Fictitious Compression For HBO

Quirkz Re:Why call them "engineers"? (89 comments)

I don't think that's true. Fully 50% of Silicon Valley job postings are for "XXX Engineer" and most of those are programming positions.

2 days ago
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Empathy For Virtual Characters Studied With FMRI Brain Imaging

Quirkz Re:Virtusl mapping of brain areas (51 comments)

Shouldn't the DIAF acronym work into your analysis somewhere?

5 days ago
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No RIF'd Employees Need Apply For Microsoft External Staff Jobs For 6 Months

Quirkz Re:This is just a repeat (282 comments)

This only remotely makes sense if the jobs are interchangeable. You seem to be implying they should fire an H1B programmer and keep the factory worker or middle manager, but unless one of the latter two can step up and do the programming, it's not going to work very well.

At least I'm guessing most of the H1B employees aren't doing middle management or factory work. I could be wrong.

about a week ago
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Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

Quirkz Re:The patreon model could really work (192 comments)

Once you've got an audience it may be doable, but there's still a huge grey area in the beginning where you need to somehow reach the hundred thousand people required to find two thousand people enthusiastic enough about your work to be willing to support you. Patreon makes the business more easily sustainable once you're famous, but it doesn't negate the need to first find a way to become famous.

about a week ago
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Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

Quirkz Re:how much are authors paid under this model (192 comments)

An email from Amazon, to authors:

KDP Select authors and publishers will earn a share of the KDP Select global fund each time a customer accesses their book from Kindle Unlimited and reads more than 10% of their book-–about the length of reading the free sample available in Kindle books-–as opposed to a payout when the book is simply downloaded. Only the first time a customer reads a book past 10% will be counted.

The numbers are always a little vague ahead of time. There's a pool of money allotted each month, and that pool is divided among books that are viewed. Originally KDP select was just for lending, but is expanded to include this, now, too. Historically I've seen values around $3+ per loan, often around $3.25. It depends on your pricing and royalty scheme whether this is "good" or not, but at 70% royalties, if you sell your book for around $4.64 or less, this is higher than what you'd make for a straight-up purchase, and if you sell your book for more you're probably "losing" a little money compared to a sale. The thing is, both the lending library and this Kindle Unlimited program basically make the books "free" to the user, so they may be more likely to try something new without the risk of committing money.

I don't think Amazon differentiates royalties based on sales numbers. It's a flat 70% for most books, but 30% for some of the cheapest. (I forget what the cutoff is, but it's easy information to find.)

about a week ago
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Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

Quirkz Re:Controlling prices? (192 comments)

I've tried a few dozen of the freebie books. Many have been bad, a few as bad as you say. I've also read a couple that I really enjoyed, and there's at least one case of an author where I bought a few of her sequels after reading the first freebie.

What would be nice is a much broader rating and recommendation tool than currently exists. Not just a single star-rating, but some more reliable information about quality of writing and editing as well as content, to help people find the diamonds in the rough.

about a week ago
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Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

Quirkz Re:How much does an editor cost? (192 comments)

It varies a lot, but freelancers often work for a fraction of a cent per word, maybe around .2 or .3 cents. Some work by page count or other means. I paid about $3k for a very long novel.

Also depends if you're looking for a full-on editor, just a proofreader (or eventually end up with both).

There's also cover design, which can run a few hundred to a thousand.

And if you're not going strictly digital, you may need to hire layout services for the book, which can be another several hundred to a thousand.

So, roughly speaking, a short book might only cost you a few grand, a long book with lots of extras, or multiple revisions, could easily run five grand or more. And that's assuming if you print it's on-demand (the most expensive in the long run, but cheaper than shelling out for a large batch up front).

about a week ago
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Chicago Red Light Cameras Issue Thousands of Bogus Tickets

Quirkz Re:just follow the rules people (229 comments)

I know "the city" is pretty big, but I don't believe it's made it all the way to Chicago, yet.

about two weeks ago
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CCP Games Explains Why Virtual Reality First Person Shooters Still Don't Work

Quirkz Re:Not doing it in real life? (154 comments)

The first time I played Doom I was so antsy trying to look around corners I was physically standing up in my seat and leaning around the side of the monitor, as if that would help. I grew out of that reflex with practice, though.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Future-Proof Jobs?

Quirkz Re:Simple (509 comments)

Your home loan is your single biggest tax deduction, and unless congress changes things, will remain so for the rest of your life.

Tax deductions are overrated. Yes, if you get one for behavior that you'd engage in already, it's great. But manufacturing them doesn't make sense. A deduction only nets you a small percentage of what you spent. It'll vary depending on your tax bracket, but could be as low as 15%, and at best only returns 40% on each dollar you spend. I don't see how giving the bank $10,000 in interest each year in order to get back $3,000 from the government is beneficial -- I'd be $7k better off without the interest and the deduction.

about two weeks ago
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Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For an Answer

Quirkz Re:Same business model, different business (401 comments)

I filled out a "give me a quote" form on a web site that appeared to exist explicitly to quote prices on new models of cars. The follow-up email was a long string of "we've got this that and everything come in and I'll show you around." Not those literal words, but the lack of punctuation is accurate, as is the complete unawareness of the question I asked. I responded with "I asked for a specific quote for a specific model of car" and restated what I wanted. His follow-up email was again jumbled and boiled down to "we have that model, come in or call".

At that point I gave up trying to talk to the guy. If they can't respond to a simple question in a reasonable fashion, I'm not going to try to actually do a large financial transaction with them.

about two weeks ago
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Rob Pardo Says Farewell To Blizzard

Quirkz Re:Who? (93 comments)

I thought Rob Pardo was SlashDot's own CommanderTico. No?

about three weeks ago
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No Shortage In Tech Workers, Advocacy Groups Say

Quirkz Re:I simply haven't seen it (401 comments)

I'm afraid this might disqualify me from consideration, but I can't seem to figure out how to send a PM in Slashdot. I don't suppose someone might either give me a nudge, or you'd do me the favor of using my contact info? Thanks.

about three weeks ago
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When Beliefs and Facts Collide

Quirkz Re:What if? (725 comments)

Yeah, that would be a hilarious conversation. Ding-dong! "Hello, have you accepted rationality and the lack of superstition as your lord and savior?"

about three weeks ago
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Study: People Would Rather Be Shocked Than Be Alone With Their Thoughts

Quirkz Re:Buddhist meditation... (333 comments)

Typical evening at home: the wife is watching television, while also telling me things about the day about every three minutes, as she thinks of them. I'm trying to ignore the TV by wearing headphones, except I have to take them off to listen to the real conversation. Every twenty minutes the toddler wants water, or to go potty, or any excuse she can think of to stay up a little longer. And what I'm really trying to do is work on the novel. It's amazing I make any progress at all.

about three weeks ago
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Study: People Would Rather Be Shocked Than Be Alone With Their Thoughts

Quirkz Re:Sad, sad times... (333 comments)

I can't speak for anyone else, but generally one of the most immediate benefits of sitting to think is you remember things. Like: oh, boy, my electric bill is due. And then you want to get up and take care of it. Or if you're deep in planning mode (thinking hard about a program, working out a scene in your novel, etc.) and come up with something good, it's difficult not to want to write it down. I've lost more good ideas than I'd like to count, due entirely to my inability to remember. You say it'll resurface, but in my experience that just isn't always true. Particularly if you don't get as many opportunities to sit and think as you'd like.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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Running your own ghost investigation?

Quirkz Quirkz writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Quirkz (1206400) writes "I am a skeptic, but have friends and family who swear by their ghost stories. I have access to a supposedly haunted house and been tempted to run a proper scientific investigation. My first question is what sorts of tools or measurements would make for sensible metrics to test during a hunt? Temperature change seems to be a common one, but the other devices you'll see ghost hunters use seem pretty random. The second question is what kinds of results would it take to be "interesting"? Baseline readings at several presumably non-haunted locations seem to be obvious requirements for comparison. Once you have those, what kinds of results would it take to convince a skeptic there's something unusual going on, or demonstrate that there's not? I don't have much hope of changing the minds of those who believe, but it would be satisfying to at least be scientific about it."

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