I've had some considerable success with online content selling, and I think that one really stupid thing the movie owners are doing with online rentals is limiting the time you have to watch the movie to thirty days. I don't see anything they gain from this, but I do see one important thing they lose: it makes the buyer be more reluctant to rent more movies at a time, because of fear of not getting around to them before they expire.
If instead they would set the limit to five years, or why not just forever, then, like I do with my Kindle book library, I would rent many more movies (especially at a three-dollar price), in the comfortable knowledge that they will sit there waiting for me until the day I have the time to watch them. I have at least a hundred books in my Kindle library I have not read yet, and I would not have bought them if there had been a time limit.
(I think with digital content the difference between owning and renting is largely academic, there are few books I read more than once. (And by the way, why don't they rent out ebooks, at half the selling price? They'd go like fresh cakes.))
"To those of us who fondly recall a more analog adolescence, this may seem foreign and troubling. The aim of generational study, however, is not to succumb to nostalgia for the way things used to be; it’s to understand how they are now. Some generational changes are positive, some are negative, and many are both. More comfortable in their bedrooms than in a car or at a party, today’s teens are physically safer than teens have ever been. They’re markedly less likely to get into a car accident and, having less of a taste for alcohol than their predecessors, are less susceptible to drinking’s attendant ills.
Psychologically, however, they are more vulnerable than Millennials were: Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones."
Can you live with people who speak harshly to you?
I have virtually never spoken (much less shouted) harshly or angrily to anybody. I consider it uncivilized, uncool, ungentlemanlike, primitive, and counter-productive.
And I don't tolerate if people do it to me. (That is very rare, fortunately.) Correction: if they change their mind and apologizes, I can forgive them. But I neither will or can live with anybody who treats me like a dog. (Actually even dogs shouldn't be treated like that.)
It's the thing I find very disappointing about a person like the late Steve Jobs (and he was far from unique). He clearly found it to be an acceptable way of dealing with people. I simply don't understand that. How can you be an educated person of sophisticated taste and a high post, and yet regularly treat other people in ways that are on the level of mindless animals, generating fear and intimidated or offended people around you? How can an educated person live with himself not being a gentleman?
My friend Bert of Canada is dead, alas. Heart attack. He was 56.
Some of you may remember him from this blog, where he could often give amazing explanations to anything technical.
He was a great friend, and a support for me when I was the most sick last year. (And I helped him a couple times.)
But he was not well, it got worse, and in his last mail he sounded resigned. And recently I was contacted by his landlord, somebody who had been a help to him in hard times also. I called him today and got confirmation.
Bert was one of the most brilliant men I knew, he read everything and remembered it all.
I wonder if pretty women generally consider that it's an advantage in life to be one?
On the one hand, we poor schmucks that men are, are always falling over our own feet to be nice to them, in the hope of even a nice smile.
On the other hand there are issues such as envy, and unwanted attention...
(Though it's also said that the prettiest women *don't* get asked out a lot because everybody figures he has no chance.?)
I hope you'll chime in. And don't hesitate to consider yourself a Pretty Woman, a healthy ego is no sin on my page.
My opinion on crowdfunding (Kickstarter, Indiegogo):
It's better for the makers than for the buyers.
I've bought like two dozen products by crowdfunding. My results:
- a couple of products I like (but could have bought later.)
- A few products which turned out to be no good for me.
- Several products which I've just never used.
- many products which took over a year to arrive.
- A couple of products which did not work.
- And the most expensive product of all of them, a serious investment (a mid-market 3D printer), turned out to be an elaborate hoax, and I lost a hunk of money. (And I was not being stupid, the smartest tech guy I know bought into it too.)
I guess the point is that the savings is not worth the great risk, usually. If a product turns out to be good, you can get this fact confirmed by reviews after it's on the market, and the price difference usually is not big.
And by the way, I don't think I've been unusually unlucky. I don't tend to be. For example I've bought *many* things on eBay, and almost never have I felt cheated. Just one real example comes to mind, and Paypal got me my money back pronto, something which does not happen with crowdfunding.
Anon, good point. There is often a social aspect of crowdfunding and so on, it's complex. I think crowdfunding basically is a great thing, it has enabled many good things to become real.
But there are also tons of projects which are simply commercial products. There's often no particularly socially interesting aspect, it may just be a new drone or whatever. And just like a normal investor needs a reasonable chance that he will get more back than he puts in, a crowdfunder needs a reason to buy now and to take the risk, and usually that reason is "get it cheaper now" or similar.
And I was aware of that risk, but I had no concept of how real and how high that risk was, and I think many others are in that boat too.
It is said that you can pay too much even for gold; but you can also pay too little, even for plastic.
The people I bought my apartment from had clearly bought the very cheapest rods and rings for hanging their curtains. Flimsy crap which was tricky to make slide, and which simple started falling down in recent times.
So now we are re-hanging the curtains with new stuff which is much better in every way, slides easily, metal rods, won't fall down.
Somebody once said something like: "you can always make something a little cheaper and worse. And the person for whom price is all he sees, he is this maker's legal victim."
And the thing is, these much better materials weren't even expensive at all. So to save five or ten bucks and then to suffer cheap crap for years on end is just silly.
I have found a brilliant product in (of all places) my fave book store: the EMERGENCY RAIN PONCHO.
I like to walk about town carrying nothing outside my pockets, and it has often been ruined by the simple prospect of rain, prompting me to bring at least a bag-umbrella, and thus a bag.
But this little package weighs nothing and fits in a small pocket, so my carefree and footloose walk style is undisturbed. I love it.
You can get an idea of how your girlfriend will treat you later by watching how she behaves towards her little brother.
I'm reminded of that sometimes with children. I think we need to generally treat children with more respect and politeness.
For example I was at a place today, and two little children came in. They were smiling, happy, well-behaved. But if you listened to the way the adults spoke to them... "Do this!", "don't do that!", "go there!", "don't go there!"
Any adult who were spoken to that way would be quite insulted, certainly I would.
We speak to children that way for a very simple reason: because we can. Children are small and dependent on adults, they have no power.
I once saw a mother and her girl, perhaps 8 years old. The girl was crying and did not want to go where ever they were going. She was earnestly crying, she *really*, strongly, did not want to go. The mother didn't care, she said "well, we go this week, maybe we won't go next week". The girl said "you also said that last week. And next week we'll just be going anyway too..."
It just broke my heart. It was clearly an optional thing they were going to. And it would have taken a *very* important reason for myself to force somebody to go somewhere they clearly felt so deeply about not going to. That girl was in pain about it.
[Granted, there could be data which might make me see it differently, but I find it hard to imagine.]
A talk by Neil Gaiman, writer.
(I recommend his book American Gods.)
Interesting point: the Chinese are opening the doors to science fiction because they found out that the the Westeners who were inventive and creative read SF and fantasy when they were young! (And probably later too.) And the Chinese recognise that though they are very good at copying things, they really need more inventive minds.
Does anybody know at least one neighborhood in the world where there is at least one cafe which is open very late (and possibly early), where you can get good coffee and sandwiches, and in a neighborhood which is not alcohol-infested?
For those who had not seen my Datamancer keyboard, here it is. All original parts (keys from an old Remington), and created or designed and hand-made by one person.
All fully functional!
It was created by Richard Nagy.
This is taken with the new Panasonic/Leica 100-400mm zoom for Micro-Four-Thirds.
This is the equivalent of a 200-800mm zoom in the "old" 35mm Full Frame format (meaning a *very* long lens.)
A lens which would be very hard to carry, and nearly impossible to shoot with. Not to mention shooting *hand-held". Which is just what I did here! (Above 300mm was considered impossible by most.)
And I did it in dark weather, pretty close to sunset. And basically ALL the pictures were sharp.
One image of these two is a crop of "100%" of the other one, meaning all you can get out of a picture.
The is the longest lens I've had, in performance speaking (tele-reach).
...In physical size, somewhere I have an old manual-focus bird-photographer's 500mm lens. This lens was not sharp, it did not zoom, focusing with it was hit-and-miss at best, and it was so big you were likely to be taken down be the police by your third photo. (No joke, I'd hate to walk around in people'd areas with that thing. (In contrast this lens is half the size/weight.))
Auto-focus and auto-stabilisation has a *lot* of the honor of the performance of these lenses. High-sensitivity digitial sensors a lot of the rest. My raw talent has... well, not a lot. :-)
[For those who wonder about the un-sharpness of parts of the picture (forground/background), this depends on the settting of the lens' "aperture" and can be used creatively. It's a natural optical phenomenon.]
This is from an email re an eBay item I just ordered:
"Delivery [from China] usually need about 20-30 days. ...
Please do not leave 1,2,3,4 stars on Shipping
Time, they are equal to negative, thank you so much in advance."
So anything less than five stars these days is "equal to negative"... Can you say "review inflation" kids? I knew you could.
Is it just me, or has the writing on American Dad gotten much less... sharp this season?
I'm sure at least they've gotten new writers.
"I said this home needed more culture." "You did?! I thought you said it needed more vulture."