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Netflix Blinks, Will Pay Comcast For Network Access

V-similitude Thank you Netflix for the long play (520 comments)

This is a play by Netflix to demonstrate to the FCC just how dangerous the Comcast/TWC merger would be. Here's hoping they listen.

about 8 months ago
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Apple Unveils iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S

V-similitude Re:Fingerprint database, anyone? (773 comments)

Does the S3 contain a scanner that scans personal biometric data in such a place that you can't possibly avoid touching it?

You're absolutely right that there's a limit to the amount of trust you can have in a device. There's simply no way to verify everything.

Fortunately, with most phones, you don't have to worry about something as sensitive as your fingerprints being scanned, so the level of paranoia about the device can be toned down a bit.

No, just everything you say or do within range of its microphones or cameras. Nothing significant.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Planks Would You Want In a Platform of a Political Party?

V-similitude Re:Off the top of my head (694 comments)

Great idea. Not one I'd heard before.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Planks Would You Want In a Platform of a Political Party?

V-similitude Re:Voting Franchise Restoration (694 comments)

* even convex ones

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Planks Would You Want In a Platform of a Political Party?

V-similitude Re:Voting Franchise Restoration (694 comments)

Definitely need redistricting reform, but "no concave borders" is probably unworkable given the inherent chaos of population distributions. It also doesn't solve one of the major problems currently, which is that cities are so strongly democratic that it's easy to form districts (even concave ones) that are 90+% democratic, while distributing suburban & rural votes more evenly, essentially "wasting" a large portion of city votes.

I think the solution (and certainly the technology-oriented approach) is to algorithmically dictate districts according to certain apolitical rules.
E.g.
- All districts must have population = district_size +/- acceptable_variation
- Minimize sum of all districts' perimeter/area ratio
- All else equal, maximize overlap with former districts
- etc...

This would still potentially have the city packing problem, but at least it would be more neutral in the application of it. Take the human out of it and it's far more likely to be fair.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Planks Would You Want In a Platform of a Political Party?

V-similitude Re:Voting Style Needs to Change (694 comments)

This + a campaign finance overhaul would really do wonders for the US.

about a year and a half ago
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Are Lenovo's ThinkPads Getting Worse?

V-similitude Re:X1 Carbon (271 comments)

Egh. Sorry for the lack of spacing. I forgot I was on slashdot...

about a year and a half ago
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Are Lenovo's ThinkPads Getting Worse?

V-similitude Re:X1 Carbon (271 comments)

Agreed. I recently got an X1 Carbon to replace my old X61s. While there's still something nice about the x61s's form factor (oh 4:3 screens, how I miss thee), the thinner, lighter x1c is incredible to me. It's sleek, light, and comfortable. It's also far more feature-full: the hard mute button with an indicator light is a lifesaver for me when turning the computer on when I don't know if it's muted or not (and need it to be); the fingerprint reader that's always-on so you can swipe your finger from full-off and it turns on and logs in automatically is a great time-saver (don't have to wait for it to turn on, then swipe, then wait for windows to login); backlit & chiclet keyboard, quick-charge, better battery management, etc. etc. Not to mention all the general laptop improvements (RAM/CPU/SSD/etc.). Overall, I think it's a huge improvement over old thinkpads. Only thing I really don't like is how wide it is. I'd much much rather a 4:3 13" than a 16:9 14". I guess the integrated battery is a bit of a negative, but for my use, it's a good tradeoff for the thinner/lighter build. Ultimately though, it's all about the trackpoint (aka nub) for me. I simply cannot STAND touchpads for most control (though I like having the option now), so as long as thinkpad keeps making reasonably attractive thinkpads with trackpoint mice, I'll keep buying. Though, I will say, the T431s's lack of trackpoint buttons would seriously irk me.

about a year and a half ago
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The Strange Math of Apple's Alleged Massive iPhone 5 Order Cuts

V-similitude Re:Apple the largest Company (298 comments)

Find me a company with a PE of ~11.5 that does have negative earnings.

Hint: RIMM and Nokia have negative earnings, what are their P/E ratios?

But yeah, pull up any company that has limited growth prospects, Dell, Xerox, Diebold, etc. etc. etc. Or, you know, do your own search: http://www.google.com/finance#stockscreener

about 2 years ago
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The Strange Math of Apple's Alleged Massive iPhone 5 Order Cuts

V-similitude Re:Apple the largest Company (298 comments)

It doesn't imply negative earnings... it implies negative earnings growth, which is exactly what analysts are predicting in the short term (this quarter's avg. EPS estimate is 13.35 vs last year's 13.87 actual EPS). Clearly, Apple can (and will) continue to make tons of money for years to come; the question is whether or not they'll ever again make AS MUCH money as they did last year. If they don't, an 11 (or less) P/E ratio is very fair, depending how far they fall back. Eg. if you expect them to fall back to 2009 earnings levels, you might value them at around 4.5 P/E right now.

about 2 years ago
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Krugman: Is the Computer Revolution Coming To a Close?

V-similitude Re:I would argue (540 comments)

Add portable and safe to this. Highly portable, cheaper energy (abundant is redundant w/r/t cheap) that's safe to use could herald a number of advances.

about 2 years ago
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How Websites Know Your Email Address the First Time You Visit

V-similitude Re:Gmail is easy to snoop (184 comments)

Almost guarantee that they didn't snoop your e-mail through chrome or hidden cookies/3rd party trackers. Not saying it's not possible; it's just that they'd be crazy to do it so flagrantly. Most likely, you entered your e-mail in a field that was snooped by javascript. You may think you didn't "enter" any data if you close the tab before hitting submit, but that's not true. Either that, or you previously had an account with them and had some cookie with them indicating that.

If I'm wrong, it should be replicable. I'd love to hear if that's actually the case.

about 2 years ago
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Senators Vow To Renew Bid For State Taxes On Remote Internet Sales

V-similitude Re:Creates a near monopoly (268 comments)

As part of the bill, require any state that wants to participate to publish a public API that takes a dollar amount, a zip code (or address) and a product type and returns how much tax is owed. Done.

It's absurd to call this a "nightmare". It's trivially solvable.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Make a DVD-Rental Store More Relevant?

V-similitude Re:Well... (547 comments)

Try amazon video streaming rentals. I used to keep a netflix disc account for the same reason, but I only really had time to watch 3-4 a month (for which I paid $12/mo to have at least some selection of 2 discs at any time). So I recently switched to amazon rentals. Now I have massive selection at $3-4 a pop instead of "unlimited" physical rentals. Ultimately, I'm paying about the same per month on average, and have way better selection - in so far as not having to choose 3 days in advance. YMMV obviously, depending how many discs you actually manage to watch per month from netflix.

In my experience Amazon Prime unlimited streaming is roughly on par with Netflix (though I prefer Netflix's audio dynamic range, and greater selection of videos with subtitles). But Amazon's rental selection (not unlimited streaming) is very broad, possibly better than Netflix's disc selection for new stuff (but not as good for older stuff).

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Make a DVD-Rental Store More Relevant?

V-similitude Re:DVD rental, coffee shop and hardware sales? (547 comments)

Love the coffee shop/dvd combo idea. You can even provide dvd-player units in the shop that people can use to rent a movie, watch it while they drink/eat their coffee/soda/snacks. You can make it like a mini/personalized movie theater (but hopefully getting around the whole fee structure by technically just renting the disks). Make room for the tables/booths by giving up the dvd shelf space and switching all disks to a digital selection system (a la redbox). It's still tough, but I think something like this has a good chance. Without some sort of hybridization, I don't think a dvd rental shop can succeed much longer on its own. There's just not enough need for dvd's anymore.

about 2 years ago
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Microsoft Urges Businesses To Get Off XP

V-similitude Re:Farewell XP (727 comments)

Leaving aside the horrendous problem of "search bars", and activation, it is particularly maddening the way you get all the popups, and files you download/save "magically" go somewhere other than where you put them.

Perhaps you don't understand the difference between an "Operating System" and an "Internet Browser"... What problem exactly in the OS has anything to do with search bars? Popups? Are you talking about the completely configurable security exception dialogs? As for files going "magically" anywhere... if you are, in fact, talking about the OS (rather than the browser download manager, say), maybe you didn't take 5 minutes to read about libraries, but they're not that complicated and easy to ignore if you don't like them (and a lot of people do like them). Overall, sounds more like PEBKAC to me.

about 2 years ago
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Pols Blur Line Between Data Mining, Cyberstalking

V-similitude Re:Promoting Synergistic Synergy (115 comments)

what is to stop facebook and/or google (maybe others) from picking a side and providing an interface to their chosen candidates campaign?

The risk of alienating half their users by picking a side that they (the users) disagree with. And probably alienating a significant part of the other half given the excessive privacy violation (possibly also violating their privacy policy). Users may be the product rather than the customers, but you don't want to scare away your product either. They'd need some pretty serious quid pro quo for that to be worth it (almost certainly far more than they could realistically get).

P.S. WTF "Pols"?? Really Slashdot?

about 2 years ago
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Mysterious Algorithm Was 4% of Trading Activity Last Week

V-similitude Re:Truth or dare... (617 comments)

This is not really an accurate explanation. Once an order is filled, it can't be cancelled. What the HFT's do is post small orders, cancel them if no one fills them (buys or sells based on the HFT offer), and tries again, like you say. But once it hits Alice's limit price, the trade does actually have go through. This article is a much better explanation: http://www.wikinvest.com/wiki/High-Frequency_Trading_(HFT)

about 2 years ago
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Mysterious Algorithm Was 4% of Trading Activity Last Week

V-similitude Re:Truth or dare... (617 comments)

Boy do you not understand stock exchanges. Basically none of what you said it accurate. HFT's don't suck up the difference between the bid and ask, that's the exchange's job. If HFT's did though, all they'd be doing is taking money from the exchange NOT from investors. High volume is GOOD for investors. Your hypothetical is just wrong; there's no situation where the investor pays 1.20, unless they go outside the market and settle with the seller directly (even then, negotiations will tend to end in the middle at 1.225). Really, in a low volume (normal) situation, the investor pays 1.25, and the buyer gets 1.20, and the exchange or broker gets the spread. Add in extra volume (perhaps from HFT's, but not really), and the spread shrinks, and the investor then pays 1.24 maybe, and the buyer gets 1.21 (good for both), while the high volume traders soak up some of the difference, and the exchange/broker probably still gets some part of that as well.

Really though, the problem with HFT's is that they do nothing of the sort. They muck around making microsecond trades and bids and offers, which just screw with the market in unpredictable ways. They make money by micromovements of the market, not by skimming the spread.

about 2 years ago
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Hiring Smokers Banned In South Florida City

V-similitude Re:Where will it end? (1199 comments)

Frankly, I used to believe slippery slope arguments were silly. However.... the way smoking is going really makes me wonder. Every step seems pretty simple from the last. This step is the one too far for me. For the most part, employers should not have say over what employees do while they're not at work. I just don't really see how you could make a distinction between smoking at home and say... performing homosexual acts at home. If government and/or businesses can ban one, can't they ban the other? Is the free market really all that protects us from this?

about 2 years ago

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