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Amazon's eBook Math

taustin Re:Equally suspect (133 comments)

Scalzi is right that (entertainment) books are not necessarily interchangeable. If one wants the latest Stephen King novel, and it is too expensive, one may very well not be willing to substitute another author.

HIs error is in thinking (or at least implying, I think he knows this) that no other form of entertainment will substitute equally well for a book. If I can't afford the latest King novel, maybe I'll watch TV instead, and spend the $9.99 on some beer.

People who have enough of a passion for books to become professionals in the industry often do not understand just how little they mean to most of their customers, when it really comes down to it. Books may not be fungible by author, but entertainment overall is.

4 hours ago
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Amazon's eBook Math

taustin Re:I've got a better modell (133 comments)

People who actually work in the industry, including award winning authors will point out that as much work goes in to turning a manuscript in to a book as goes in to writing the manuscript. That's today, with the crappy level of editing and proofreading.

What you want is no editing, no proofreading, and overall shit quality. You can get, literally, millions of books like that for free all over the internet. Enjoy.

4 hours ago
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Amazon's eBook Math

taustin Re:Hardcovers? What about paperbacks?? (133 comments)

The most profitable part of a book release is the hardcover phase for a new book. The profit margin on hardcovers is higher than on paperbacks, mass market or trade. If you undercut your own prices on the hardcovers with your ebooks, you lose the more profitable sales.

It's an outdated business model, and one that doesn't work with ebooks very well at all, but it's the one that has run the publishing industry for a century and more, and it's not going down without a fight.

4 hours ago
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Amazon's eBook Math

taustin Pots and kettles (133 comments)

Scalzi whines (and he's a very good whiner) that Amazon is acting out of pure self interest, with any benefit to anyone else being coincidence, but I note that Scalzi, by his own accounting, makes a six figure income from the traditional publishing industry, so by his own logic, every single word out of his mouth (or keyboard) must necessarily be assumed to be for his own pure self interest, with any benefit to anyone else, including us, the readers, being coincidence.

The bottom line is that the entire publishing industry is very, very broken, desperately trying to cling to a centuries old, thoroughly outdated business model. Amazon is the new, disruptive innovation, forcing change whether their competition, or the market, is ready for it or not. That is pretty much the only difference. Both sides are huge, publicly traded companies required by law to care more about profits than anything else, both sides are doing whatever they can to protect their shareholder's interests and CEO's egos. With the technology changes in the last 20 years, the conflict is inevitable. It cannot be avoided. The winner will be whoever is best at creating the new business model, and history says that will very likely be Amazon. For publishers, it's adapt or die.

Thing is, pretty much all that is true of authors, too. They, too, are businessmen who are out to protect their own interests. The professionals - the real professionals, like Scalzi, who make their living off writing - are not about to let the fans' interests get in the way of their mortgage payments. Those who are part of the traditional industry, like Scalzi, will naturally see the logic of their publisher's arguments. The growing handful of those who have made it big self publishing through Amazon will naturally see the logic of Amazon's arguments. And us, the buyers of books, will naturally see whatever propaganda is packed up in the skimpiest bikini with the biggest boobs.

4 hours ago
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Comcast Confessions

taustin Re:I must be the outlier (221 comments)

If you don't have proof that you canceled the service, it's he said/she said, and they will send the unpaid bill to collections.

If you have to do it by phone, record the call (they give you permission to do so when their computer tells you the call may be recorded for "quality assurance"). Better, however, is to do it in person (and get a receipt that says the service is cancelled), or by registered mail. Then any unpaid (and unowed) bill that is sent to collection is a Fair Credit Reporting Act violation, and they know it.

10 hours ago
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Comcast Confessions

taustin Re:I must be the outlier (221 comments)

That's easy. Someone deliberately screwing with you to prevent your cancellation in person could escalate the situation to violence. Over the phone, the most that can happen is a shouting match, and if the customer gets frustrated enough, they hang up, which is a win.

Every cable company office I've ever been in - every single one - all the employees are behind bullet proof glass that would make a bank teller envious.

10 hours ago
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35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

taustin Re:I'm probably one of them (499 comments)

How certain are you that it actually from the state collection agency? It fits the pattern of a common form of fraud.

yesterday
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OKCupid Experiments on Users Too

taustin Re:Flash panic (160 comments)

It's hard to imagine how anyone could find this to be scientific experimentation, rather than some random crap done in hopes of finding a way to sell more advertising.

2 days ago
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Man Booted From Southwest Flight and Threatened With Arrest After Critical Tweet

taustin Re:name and location tweeted... (885 comments)

Using publically visible information (nametag & gate sign) to state an opinion constitutes harassment?

Depends on what he tweets with it. Or threatens to. Anybody who reads Slashdot should know how easy it is to get a lynch mob stalking some random stranger with death threats with lies.

5 days ago
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Man Booted From Southwest Flight and Threatened With Arrest After Critical Tweet

taustin Re:SW Should Pay! (885 comments)

Asking customers or others to leave a business has put way too much power in the hands of people unable to handle it.

You've clearly never, ever worked in customer service.

Situations like this deserve a court hearing.

He had that option when she threatened to call the police. He declined. Strictly speaking, he still has that option in a civil court, but will decline that, too, I expect.

At times it may even be in opposition to the Americans With Disabilities Act.

This guy's only disability is that he's an asshole, and that's not a protected class.

5 days ago
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Man Booted From Southwest Flight and Threatened With Arrest After Critical Tweet

taustin Re:Is there an SWA Twitter police? (885 comments)

That's one interpretation. The other is that - as the articles say - he named her in the very public tweet, and might have threatened to escalate further and encourage people to harass, threaten, or do worse to her. It's not implausible that she did feel threatened by his behavior, and threatened behavior.

You, of course, will assume that the article is a true and complete account, because that's the popular thing to do on the internet, but there's always two sides.

5 days ago
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Man Booted From Southwest Flight and Threatened With Arrest After Critical Tweet

taustin Re:So SW Agent was following the passenger's tweet (885 comments)

One thing that was included in the article was that he named the gate agent in the tweet. That pretty much proves your theory that his intent was intimidation. Given how easy it is to convince stupid assholes on the internet to stalk some random stranger with death threats, I'm not all that sure it was an overreaction.

If it was as he described, his best reaction would be to tell them to go ahead and call the cops, which would have proved that the gate agent doesn't have the authority to do so, and determine whether or not their supervisor was an idiot.

5 days ago
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Man Booted From Southwest Flight and Threatened With Arrest After Critical Tweet

taustin Re:Customer service? (885 comments)

I dunno about you, but I - who have no children - would rather be sitting in the uncomfortable chair at the gate waiting for the idiot parents with unruly children get their shit together than be sitting in the even more uncomfortable, far more cramped seats on the plane. Let the parents board first, by all means.

5 days ago
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Sexual Harassment Is Common In Scientific Fieldwork

taustin Re:Such harassment (362 comments)

The example was not "You're ugly" or "you're stupid," it was "you're ugly as a woman" and "you're stupid because you're a woman."

Try to pay attention, troll-boy.

about two weeks ago
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Sexual Harassment Is Common In Scientific Fieldwork

taustin Re:Such harassment (362 comments)

"Sexual harassment" has a specific legal definition - and the example given fits in it quite firmly. You are factually incorrect about it not being sexual. The "sexual" part of "sexual harassment" refers to gender, not the sex act. (My employer's mandatory - by state law - sexual harassment training used to be done by a trial lawyer who loved defendants - so long as he was on the other side - like you.)

And you implicated that I cannot possibly disagree with you unless I am mentally ill is proof that you have quite a bit of experience at one side of bullying. Unfortunately for you, son, you haven't got what it takes to troll the master, so go ask mummy for some milk and cookies, and head off to bed so you won't fall asleep in school tomorrow.

about two weeks ago
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Sexual Harassment Is Common In Scientific Fieldwork

taustin Re:Such harassment (362 comments)

Sexual or not, it's certainly harassment, and therefore, illegal in the US. More so in some states than others, but illegal everywhere.

I'd guess you've only been on one side of bullying, to take such a position.

about two weeks ago
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Sexual Harassment Is Common In Scientific Fieldwork

taustin Re:Some people are jerks (362 comments)

Having a formal policy reduces legal liability (somewhat) for the employer.

Of course, enforcing the policy reduces it even more.

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

taustin Re:So... (401 comments)

Contract provision or no, they're a corporation, and that means they are required by law, in every state, to have a business address published (usually with the secretary of state for the state they're incorporated in).

They'll claim the contact prohibits notice by mail, but that's unenforceable to begin with, and when you describe the phone call - their flat refusal to accept the cancellation - or play the recording of it, even if it were technically enforceable the contract would be ruled unconscionable.

You can believe in the ultimate, unchallengeable power of the Mighty Corporation(tm) all you want, but their only real power comes from your belief. If you stand your ground, and bother to know what the law is, it's on your side.

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

taustin Re:So... (401 comments)

That's why you don't tell them until after you've told them to cancel the account. If they reserve the right to record it - which they did before the human came on the line - there is no expectation of privacy, and you don't need to tell them. You only tell them at the end to reinforce that you can prove you did.

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

taustin Re:So... (401 comments)

"This call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes" means that you have their permission to record it, too, even in California.

"Cancel my account."

"I can't do that unless you give me a reason."

"I'm recording this conversation, so I have proof that the account has been canceled. If I receive any more invoices, the next phone call will be from my lawyer, or the police."

Click.

The better method, though, is to do it in writing, by registered mail. End of equation.

about two weeks ago

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