The OMT (bond buying program) of the ECB is the main thing that stands between the Eurozone economy and Greek-style fiscal collapse. There should be other policy instruments safeguarding and managing the Euro but Germany repeatedly said nein to their creation so that Mario Draghi's OMT is the last line of defense. Now it looks like the court, acting on the German state's momentously misguided policy not to have instruments of monetary policy, wants to block it. If the challenge is not resolved, or credibly ignored, it will create massive risk in the Eurozone.
Google bought Motorola for strategic IP protection and tactically to keep the handset vendor afloat. That much worked. I don't think Google ever wanted to be a hardware-software company like Apple, and they never integrated Motorola deeply.
It was expected that they would eventually refloat of sell the handset business when times got better. A roughly 2bn loss is probably OK in the big picture: Android will be much stronger with Lenovo in the market than with Motorola failing, which is ultimately going to pay back for Google.
This is a recording from 12 years ago. The program jingle is a massively cut down version of such soundscape. Anyhow, the in-line audio-processing was my favorite waste of time those days. Listen to the first track, Robert Cray with 'Right Next Door', and the slightly exaggerated real-time 20-bands processing applied to it, just to make our radio station stand out amidst the rest. We actually had to cool the processor down with two auxilary fans to keep the machine from working properly and without latency.
Meh. It looks like missed opportunity.
It has very modern systems and impressive technology, but it's a theme-park MMO. Go there, kill that, click on NPC, collect reward. I was hoping for ESO to define a position further out on the theme-park/sandbox axis, or something more innovative.
The environment and character modelling are impressive, and every NPC is voice acted. But realism outstrips fantasy and makes the art style look weak. Characters look realistic but not distinctive or likeable enough. Environments look like stage sets, neither outrageously designed nor grown organically through algorithms. Voice acting is best skipped. A disappointing realism vs. art miss.
The interface is extremely well designed, and the combat and class system is refreshingly free-form. But early combat isn't satisfying or interesting. I'm not sure if it'll be interesting late game. The spells just look unimpressive. By comparison the game Path of Exile does the free-form skill system much better early game.
I'm guessing this game is for 30+ people with a job. We don't want another Disneyland MMO. We don't want Zenimax to package experiences for us to consume. We want a world that feels like our own, and experiences that are ours. We don't have time for your content. Give us a world that's 90% a virtual pub for relaxing every evening, and 10% highly organized dragonslaying for weekends.
The current pricing model for air travel is nonsense stacked upon nonsense. Single fares, return fares, fees for changes, discounted and flexi fares, business fares, loyalty bonuses… all nonsense. It developed as an anti-competitive arms race between the airlines of the 70s and escalated from there. Nonsense. Here’s how to price air travel properly.
The cost of a seat has three components:
- A fare, valid for a segment class, season, and class of service. For example “Between UK and East Coast US, standard service (economy), spring-summer 2014” £345.
- An option to travel on a particular date, flight, and seat. For example “Option to travel on VS501, LHR-JFK, May 17, 2014, rows 12-18” £73.
- An efficiency bonus. For example “Returning within a week, returning on the same weekday, checked baggage, full flight” -£65 (discount). Or another example “Short connection, Roll-on luggage, meal” £35 (surcharge).
To travel, you need to purchase a fare and at least one option for the flight you want. When you check in you may get money back as an efficiency bonus, or if you do certain things you may be asked to pay surcharges.
The cost of the fare reflects the cost and value of the service. It should be broadly stable through a season, as airlines amortise their capital and hedge fuel costs. You can buy fares in bulk and in advance, and that makes the price marginally cheaper since the airline can bank the money. If you’re a frequent traveller on a route, you or your company can estimate and bulk-buy your fares a year ahead and save money.
Nothing is refundable. You could resell your fares on a market if one exists, but when a season expires so do the fares. For continuity, fares would be released in overlapping seasons such as spring-summer, summer-fall, etc. The fare is consumed when the flight closes and you’re on it.
The cost of the option reflects the competition amongst travellers to get on specific flights and seats. Daytime flight, busy flight, nice seat, etc. means it’s more expensive. Louy hours, lousy airport, and sitting at the back of the plane are cheaper. The price of the option is shaped by supply and demand.
The price of the option also varies depending on when you buy it. Generally it’s cheaper if you buy long before the exercise date, but not always. The option starts at a moderate price when the trip is months away, as the airline has no data on demand. The price falls when the flight is weeks away and demand is known, which is the optimal time to buy. Then it rises and peaks days before the flight as people who buy late bid up the price. The option price may then drop, to very low or negative, on the day of the flight if there are spare seats. For example the airline may contact you and offer you money (a negative price option) to take an earlier or later flight than one you’ve already bought an option for.
Options are non-refundable and once you bought them that’s it. They don’t change, but you could in theory transfer them to another person. In practice airlines would prohibit this in most cases to stop people manipulating the market (scalping).
The idea with options is that you buy as many as you need to accommodate flexibility in your plans. Suppose that every year your company holds meetings the second or third week of March and september. Rather than wait to find the actual dates, buy options for both weeks while they are cheap.
Say you’re going to a conference that’s Monday to Thursday, but you’re tempted to stay the weekend if your family will be away from home anyway. You don’t yet know your family’s plans, so you buy an option to return Thursday evening on the company, and another (probably cheaper) option to return Sunday night with your own money.
if you miss your flight you don’t consume the fare, but the option lapses. Buy another option on a later flight, and maybe this time settle for the red-eye. If you think you’re likely to miss the flight, say because a family member is sick or the weather is turning bad, maybe buy the second option defensively.
As for the efficiency bonus, it’s a way to share the efficiencies or inefficiencies of travel as it actually turns out. It’s more efficient for airlines if aircraft are full as they travel back and forth between two airports than if one leg flies empty. That can be partly addressed through the option price, but another way is to reward specific passengers for taking balanced trips. It’s more helpful for the airline if you return a few days or a week after you go out, and kind of irrelevant if you return two months later. The efficiency bonus reflects that.
Although supply and demand says that full flights should cost more (high option price) they’re actually quite efficient for the airline. Airlines want full flights. The passenger’s experience, on the other hand is much beter on a flight where every other seat is empty. The option price for this price is low, so the passenger is getting a great deal, but he airline is losing money. The efficiency bonus can mitigate that. Fares should be priced for average loading. If you arrive and the flight is packed, you get money back. If it’s half empty, enjoy the space.
Other efficiency bonuses can be whatever makes the airline’s job easier, such as checking in your luggage. Yes, its more efficient if everyon does that, so the airlne should reward you. Conversely if you’re causing delays and inconvenience with your roll on, or booking short connections that you’re likely to miss (and cause a late passenger inconvenience) you should pay a premium.
There should not be free meals on flights. They’re awful, they’re incredibly bad for you, and they represent an enormous waste as passengers eat and airlines carry the food that passengers don’t want and almost nobody would buy if it were fairly priced. Long-haul flights should offer restaurant-quality meals to passengers who want them for a surcharge, which is entirely doable and enjoyable.
The efficiency bonus is just that, a bonus (or surcharge) that gets worked out when you actually travel, typically at check-in since things like baggage and meals have to be settled then. Efficiencies about return flights and full flights similarly get worked out when you check in, taking into account your previous trips. The airline can’t charge you extra for things that are the airline’s problem, like an empty flight, but when you arrive for a full flight you’ll get a pleasant surprise.
That’s it. No return fares, no change fees, no mileage, no Saturday night stays, no complicated fare classes and rules. Just fares, options, and bonuses on the day. Airlines, do that, make money.
- Toshiba2009 - present
- Barco2004 - 2009
- Voxar1994 - 2004
- University of Edinburgh
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