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Comments

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Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

zippthorne Re:Price effects MY decisions! (190 comments)

Price is definitely a big factor in my own reading decisions as well. As a result of price, I typically go on reading "binges" where I will read something, remember how much I like to read things and go through another few things on my list until I notice I'm thinking about buying something for $14 and I just bought three or four other books in the past couple weeks, and do I really need to read this thing right now? Maybe I can wait until it's been out for a little bit and see if my library gets it or the price comes down.

Then my library doesn't have it, and I exhaust all the things on my list that they currently have (or I sign up for a few things and am in a queue that is likely months long...) and stop reading. After a few weeks, I will continue to not read until it occurs to me to check on a book, and maybe that $14 book is down to $9 (still not great, but I haven't read anything in a while (i.e. my budget has recovered), so what the hey)

The middlemen taking a big chunk of the money for distribution made sense when distribution was the difficult and expensive part of the proposition. It hardly makes sense for this to continue when the cost to produce a copy of an ebook is vanishingly small and half of it is the customer's responsibility.

2 days ago
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French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

zippthorne Re:I wanted to write about this place (423 comments)

Do they do tipping in France. I'm not sure tipping as a concept really makes sense anyway. Why do I pay the restaurant for the food and separately an essentially independent contractor (can I bring my own, then...) to deliver it, and the contractor's fee is completely at my discretion after the fact?

about a week ago
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Is the Software Renaissance Ending?

zippthorne Re:Isn't this a good thing? (170 comments)

Not sure about beta, but sometimes I set the user agent to iOS for a cleaner page. You get more control over column width, for instance....

about a week ago
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BlackBerry's Innovation: Square-Screened Smartphones

zippthorne Re:Two Ideas (139 comments)

Hmm. And suppose you power it using an ethanol fuel cell? Each fill would last pretty long, I think.

about two weeks ago
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BlackBerry's Innovation: Square-Screened Smartphones

zippthorne Re:Changing the shape is meaningless (139 comments)

Nearly all the smartphones people are using have either Linux or BSD on them. Linux on a phone turns out to have been a great idea, but it's not a new idea.

about two weeks ago
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Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

zippthorne Context is important (353 comments)

It's a cliche on slashdot, where every sixth article has 100 comments using it. There have to be more ways to compare society to a prison than just using the name of single prison design, no matter how effective that design happened to be.

about two weeks ago
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Netflix Is Looking To Pay Someone To Watch Netflix All Day

zippthorne Why all the focus on Recommendations? (86 comments)

Search is abysmal. Forget recommendations and work on improving search. Sometimes I don't need a recommendation because I know what I'm looking for - something in a particular category (or intersection of categories) that I haven't seen yet.

about two weeks ago
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Russia Moves From Summer Time To Standard Time

zippthorne Re:News? (158 comments)

What are they doing reading an article about DST then?

Obligatory Onion link and XKCD link

about three weeks ago
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Disappointed Woz Sells His "Worthless" Galaxy Gear Watch

zippthorne Re:Agreed. (242 comments)

If the boss is coming to fire you, then the server is no longer critical information. The boss coming to fire you isn't really critical information either, since having it doesn't give you any options anyway - the decision has already been made.

about three weeks ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

zippthorne Re:Can an "atheist company" refuse too? (1330 comments)

Surely an atheist can believe that abortion is a murder and desire to have no part in it.

Atheists aren't psychopaths who wouldn't care either way.

about three weeks ago
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Swedish Farmers Have Doubts About Climatologists and Climate Change

zippthorne Re:That proves it (567 comments)

You're not really doing anyone any favors by calling people "deniers." I get that you want to refer to people who hold on to skepticism by using a pejorative, but it's only going to have a polarizing effect, preventing those who were on or near the fence from coming over to your side.

Especially when the pejorative in question is a deliberate reference to anti-semetics who pretend that the freaking holocaust never happened, often with the side claim that they would like there to be one now.

Most people don't like to be associated, even in a small way, with a group like that.

about three weeks ago
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That Toy Is Now a Drone

zippthorne Re:They're infringing my Second-Amendment drone ri (268 comments)

Registration and Operation? Individual states. The federal government exerts its influence by bribing the states with their own money (i.e. "federal" highway funds)

about three weeks ago
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Cracking Atlanta Subway's Poorly-Encrypted RFID Smart Cards Is a Breeze, Part II

zippthorne Re:The REAL value of the transit system (170 comments)

I'm not 100% convinced it's the cars that are the problem. Sure, there is extra congestion from more cars and there is obviously a limit as to how many road of given width can support, but there are other users of the roads that I think may be the seeds of traffic: Bulk transport vehicles.

Without their slow acceleration and poor hill performance, the car traffic would be able to move at a fairly constant rate. Instead, whenever one of these vehicles attempts to merge in or climb a hill, its lane becomes obstructed. Drivers naturally attempt to route around the obstruction, spreading velocity differences into the neighboring lanes. Also, the flimsy rag they cover the spoil with is insufficient to prevent a comet tail of paint-scratching debris.

Bulk transport vehicles should not be in high-traffic areas during peak commute times.

about three weeks ago
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Cracking Atlanta Subway's Poorly-Encrypted RFID Smart Cards Is a Breeze, Part II

zippthorne Re:The REAL value of the transit system (170 comments)

I don't think the parent is arguing that taxes shouldn't pay for buses, but rather that the taxes that pay for it shouldn't be the targeted taxes like the gas tax, instead the money to subsidize the buses should come from the general fund, and the subsidy level should be something that people get to have a say in through the election process.

That's something I can get behind, for the simple reason that using the gas tax to subsidize buses is unsustainable: if it's working correctly it encourages drivers to switch to buses, carpool, and use more efficient vehicles (which is, in fact, one of the desired goals - get cars off the streets to reduce traffic and smog), but that means that the burden is now spread over fewer car-miles, so the tax needs to increase, driving more drivers to buses, until everyone is on the buses and where does the money come from again?

about three weeks ago
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That Toy Is Now a Drone

zippthorne Re:They're infringing my Second-Amendment drone ri (268 comments)

I'm not sure that the FAA has the authority to regulate the quadcopter in the first place, but the quadcopter-with-a-gun is certainly a weapon, so why wouldn't it be protected by the second amendment?

side note: To all those who say, "because that sounds super dangerous" the response is to draft a constitutional amendment to allow the government to regulate more things. Simply "interpreting" away the teeth of the second amendment merely encourages contempt of the constitution and all the other things protected by other clauses and amendments are sure to be abridged in the same manner.

Further side note: Perhaps it's me, but I've noticed over the past few years that while both congress and the people are interested in "regulating drones," both parties seem to have very different ideas about what will be regulated. Congress seems to want to regulate the use of drones by private individuals, but the clamor from the public seems to be about the use of drones by the state for surveillance or armed action. The whole thing is shaping up not unlike the calls for "immigration reform" where each party's ideas about what the reform should be are other parties' ideas about what needs to be fixed.

about three weeks ago
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What To Do If Police Try To Search Your Phone Without a Warrant

zippthorne Re:Let them (286 comments)

There are? I don't watch that show often, but I usually see them use fruit of the poison tree to get the guy they all know is guilty. I don't see them get slapped down for it that much. After all, the guy is a scumbag, so they were justified.

about three weeks ago
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Federal Judge Rules US No-fly List Violates Constitution

zippthorne Re:Awesome! (276 comments)

With? the constitution does not even address what is "necessary part of modern (or otherwise) life." It addresses a short list of things that the government is allowed to do in carrying out its duties, and a list of what those duties are, and list of inalienable rights that we want to be doubly sure the government doesn't even try to do. Many of the items on that list are far from necessary to survive, although violations are burdensome.

If the constitution is in force and respected, we don't need to prove that we need to fly. The government needs to prove that it has a need to restrict flying, and that it has the authority to do so. Please see, for instance, Amendments 9 and 10.

about a month ago
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Perl Is Undead

zippthorne Re:It should be dead (283 comments)

A language that is expressive enough to allow you to write code that is concise and understandable (but no more concise. Cutting out verbosity is only good when it improves legibility) is going to give you enough of a dialect to make some truly twisted and illegible statements that are, nevertheless, still valid code.

I don't think we should blame the language for being powerful enough that an evil programmer can be unfathomably evil, if it also enables a just programmer to be eminently understandable.

about a month ago

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Journals

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Putting your money where your keyboard is.

zippthorne zippthorne writes  |  more than 6 years ago

From my comment here:

Clearly, there are a number of people here and elsewhere that desire for easily duplicatable artistic works to be available for as large a number of people to enjoy as the ease of duplication makes feasable. At the moment, the regular market is not providing this, leading some to resort to black market solutions.

But the problem with the black market solution, and also the "get rid of copyright entirely" solution is that the pendulum swings too far the other way. Removing the ability for people to become professional artists would reduce the amount and quality of such works.

Creative Commons addresses part of this issue by providing a means for artists to donate all or part of their work to the public domain, but their scope and means are not adequate to the problem at hand.

What we really need is an organization (or many) charged with the task of buying works into the public domain. It should not be too difficult to estimate the total monetary value of the various works and thus the total remaining monetary value. If a rights-buying organization offered the remaining monetary value, a rights-holder would be irrational not to sell and realize the remaining value *now* rather than letting it trickle in.

Since there is little profit in this area, such organizations would probably have to be funded mostly by donation, and with limited budgets, would have to carefully choose the works purchased. I propose that one method would be to maximize the total lifetime monetary value of works purchased. Such an organization would eventually snap up the more popular works, but mostly quite a ways into the tail due to limited budgets. Another organization could buy "good" works, for whatever value of good that they choose, etc.

Such organizations could be established right now under the current copyright framework, and if people are as opposed to perpetual copyright as they claim to be, donations should be available in spades. So, where are they?

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