Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Comparable? Not really. (Score 1) 89

by tlambert (#47958755) Attached to: Is Alibaba Comparable To a US Company?

When someone buys a share in Apple, they actually get an ownership share in Apple.

Apple, yes. Google or Facebook, no. Google and Facebook have two classes of stock. The class with all the voting rights is in both cases controlled by the founders. The publicly traded shares cannot outvote them, even if someone bought all of them.

Until recently, multiple classes of stock were prohibited for NYSE-listed companies, which tended to discourage doing this. (The classic exception was Ford, which has two classes of stock, the voting shares controlled by the Ford family. This predates that NYSE rule.)

This matters when the insiders make a big mistake and the stock starts going down. There's no way to kick them out.

It also matters when someone has built something of value, and then becomes publicly traded, since it keeps the financial vampires from descending on the company and sucking the blood out of it, leaving a husk which dies in 6 months. That's what's currently going on with the OliveGarden proxy fight, where a funds group has acquired a large position in the company, and now wants to spin off the real estate holdings to a separate company (taking about $1B in the $2.5B value portfolio as a one time dividend, and putting in their own sock puppets on the board to short-term pump the stock by changing employee mix, etc.).

The problem with Google and Facebook maintaining one class of stock is ISOs/RSUs. Stock given as incentives to employees, after the vesting period, can be sold on the open market, and if that stock position becomes larger than the founders, then the people who made the decisions that created the large value in the first place are no longer in control, and Gordon Gecko (or Carl Icahn) can come in and do what's best short term for the shareholders, rather than what's best long term for the shareholders, company, employees, and customers.

Who do I trust more to make the best decisions not totally motivated by short term profit, Carl Icahn, or Larry, Sergey, and Eric?

Yeah, there's long term downside risk to the stock as a straight financial instrument (along with significant historical upside), but you know what? I don't really feel the need to destroy things just because that's they path to my highest ROI over time.

For better or worse, I'd rather have the founders, not Wall Street, making the decisions that guide the future of the thing they built.

Comment: Re:Place of Business. (Score 3, Insightful) 89

by tlambert (#47957359) Attached to: Is Alibaba Comparable To a US Company?

If a US company listed in the US decided to screw its shareholders, it and the board can be held accountable in US courts.

LOL, when has that ever happened

It's happened many times; it's called "malfeasance" or "misconduct", and it's punishable as criminal fraud.

This is why corporate board members these days are all about "fiduciary responsibility", even if they have to club baby seals to death in the shallow waters where they are coated in oil from the Exxon Valdez.

Comment: Re:Why I wired Ethernet in most rooms (and no WiFi (Score 1) 276

by fyngyrz (#47955245) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: What's In Your Home Datacenter?

2- Safety concerns: with baby and/or young children I felt I would rather not add RF generator inside my home. I know we are immersed in RF from everywhere, making some a few meters away is another level. I didn't want to add that. Just in case.

Ham radio operators -- of which I am one -- spend their lives immersed in more RF at various frequencies from kHz to GHz than you can possibly compare to unless you work at a broadcast radio or television station. And hams are one of the oldest demographics in the USA. So many 80 and 90 year olds, it's really kind of amusing. RF is not your enemy at wifi router and cellphone levels. Not even close.

I've been pretty much bathed in RF for the last forty years. I'm very healthy other than a few allergies I've had since I was a kid. Of course, I'm active, too -- but if RF at these levels was a problem, I'd *have* a problem by now.

Comment: This is why you outsource manufacturing. (Score 1) 328

by tlambert (#47955059) Attached to: Why You Can't Manufacture Like Apple

This is why you outsource manufacturing.

Outsource to a big company like Foxconn or Solectron that has already invested in all the expensive equipment and processes (in both cases, some of it actually paid for by Apple), and have them do your manufacturing for you.

The incremental cost ends up pretty tiny, relative to COGS, and you get a better finished product at only a fractionally higher cost than if you were stupid enough to do your own manufacturing. The argument in the article only holds up if you are stupidly building the widgets yourself.

Comment: "How do you explain..." (Score 1) 328

by tlambert (#47955035) Attached to: Why You Can't Manufacture Like Apple

"How do you explain..."

I don't really follow Microsoft acquisitions enough to speculate on their reasoning, but the Facebook reasoning was pretty obviously that the WhatsApp company cost (predominantly non-US) telephone companies $19B in per-SMS charged revenue over a period of 2 years, and it therefore gave Facebook some incredible leverage with those phone companies to make the purchase in such a way that a small group of phone companies couldn't drive WhatsApp out of business by increasing data costs to compensate (which would hurt Facebook.

Comment: Re:The little guy. (Score 1) 187

by aliquis (#47953885) Attached to: Why a Chinese Company Is the Biggest IPO Ever In the US

I guess it would benefit all the buyers if they don't push up the price too much then again if the price is seen as low / in a way there one would had wanted more I guess one may want to pay more (then again it's ok getting less stock which you think you can do say 20% return on than twice as many but which you can only do 10% on ..)

Then again at least when it comes to purchasing lots of stocks many institutions are ok with paying a premium over the regular price to get what they want and hence paying "too much" relative the regular market price.

I don't know whatever the price normally end up being lower or higher than what the stocks will trade for later on.

I also think it differ how it's done. I don't know for sure but it may be the case that here (Sweden) it may be more common to give rights to purchase the new stocks for the old stock holders whereas say in the US it may be more common to look for institutional purchasers of them.

Both methods exist at least. There's also the possibility of just offering shares for a fixed price and then people can sign themselves up for interest and then have a lottery or give them the stocks they could get out from the ones one wanted to create.

Comment: Given the relative percentages... (Score 1) 440

by tlambert (#47947675) Attached to: Science Has a Sexual Assault Problem

Given the relative percentages... it's likely that the "harassment escalating to assault" numbers for the men is underreported by a factor of 2.5, which would be about on a par with the underreporting of men being raped in the general population. There's a real cultural stigma to reporting by men, who are, by stereotype and therefore societal norms, "supposed to be" on the other end of the power equation.

Comment: They've already screwed the pooch. (Score 2, Informative) 242

by tlambert (#47947609) Attached to: TrueCrypt Gets a New Life, New Name

They've already screwed the pooch.

They've published the source archive under the original TrueCrypt license. As a result, unless there's a legal entity (person or company) to which all contributors make an assignment of rights, or they keep the commit rights down to a "select group" that has agreed already to relicense the code, they will not be able to later release the code under an alternate license, since all contributions will be derivative works and subject to the TrueCrypt license (as the TrueCrypt license still in the source tree makes clear).

The way you do these things is: sanitize, relicense, THEN announce. Anyone who wants to contribute as a result of the announcement can't, without addressing the relicensing issue without having already picked a new license.

Comment: Re:Not answered in review (Score 1) 212

by fyngyrz (#47947485) Attached to: iOS 8 Review

Under IOS, apps aren't kept in an ordered system collection the way they are in Android. If they're on the device at all, they're somewhere on a page or within a folder, either where you put them, or where the system put them (always on a page) if you have not interfered. And finding them, if you don't know where they are, is a matter of typing the name into the search.

But -- just like Android -- you can have a lot of pages, a lot of folders, and you may or may not remember where a particular app or shortcut is located in your own personal folder/page setup. But then there is IOS search, which can find anything.

Under either OS, if you can't remember where they are, and you can't remember the name, it's down to looking around until you find them.

One of the arguments for folder organization is that if you even know the type of app it is -- for instance, if it is a photography app -- then if you're consistent at install time, you can look just in there, and it will be there, leaving you a lot fewer apps to check through until you find it.

But IOS has low limits on how many apps can be in a folder, and it doesn't allow subfolders, which seriously impacts how well you can really use them for that kind of organization. In my case, IOS's folder paradigm is insufficient to my needs. Android isn't significantly better, either.

Comment: Re:This. (Score 1) 229

by tlambert (#47942943) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?

Now add to this that most major contributions in any scientific field occur before someone hits their mid 20's...

Tell me, does this account for the fact that the majority of people working in a scientific field graduate with a PhD in their mid 20s, or is it simply a reflection of that?

I expect that it's a little bit of both. Look however at Kepler and Tycho Brahe. Brahe's observational contributions aided Kepler, but he started well before he was 30. Kepler had his theories before 30, and was aided by Brahe into his 30's proving them out. Counter examples include Newton, and so on. Most Large contributions that aren't ideas themselves are contributions based on the wealth of the contributor, e.g. The Allen Telescope Array.

Like the GP, I'm in my late 30s and have found that my current field is less than optimal. It is a) unfulfilling, b) extremely underpaid (if I do more than 13 hours a week, the CEO running the studio is just as likely to steal my hours from me as not), and c) unlikely to go anywhere.

Reason (a) is motivation to do something that could be big, if the new reason is passion.
Reason (b) is a piss poor reason to do something big; there's no passion involved.
Reason (c) is ennui.

If you get into something solely to satisfy (a), you have a chance at greatness; if you do it for the other two reasons, even in part, you are unlikely to have the fire to spark the necessary effort. For example, the OP's willingness to dedicate 10 hours a week from a 24x7 = 168 total hours in a week really speaks to the idea of someone acting out a dilettante reason, rather than a reason of passion. Excluding sleeping, you could probably argue for 86 hours a week for a passion, and that's less than 11% of the "every moment of every day" you'd expect with a passion.

Comment: This. (Score 1) 229

by tlambert (#47940771) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?

I can only spend maybe 10 hours a week on this

Since you already have a full life, something would have to give. The amount of time you estimate to be available would get to hobby level: the same as the other thousands of amateur astronomers in the country. But it's not enough to do any serious studying, get qualified or do research to a publishable quality.


I read through the comments to find this comment so that I didn't just post a duplicate if someone else had covered the ground.

Let me be really blunt about the amount of time you are intending to invest in this project. If you were taking a college course, you should expect to spend 2 hours out of class for each hour you spend in class, and given that you only have 10 hours to dedicate to the idea, that's effectively 3 credit hours for every interval. So if you picked a community college, and they offered all the classes you needed, you should expect to have your Bachelor's of Science in any given degree field in about 23 years. That gets you to the necessary 210 credit hours for an Astronomy degree.

Let's say, though that you are a super genius, and can do 1:1 instead of 1:2 for in/out of class. That only cuts your time by 1/3, which means that you get that degree in 15 years instead.

Now add to this that most major contributions in any scientific field occur before someone hits their mid 20's; there are exceptions, but let's say again that you are exceptional. What contributions do you expect to be able to make after age 61 / 53, with your shiny new Bachelor's, since you're unlikely to find someone to hire you at that age, and you're unlikely to be able to afford instrument time on the necessary equipment on your own?

Comment: Not just cars ... (Score 5, Insightful) 130

This is true of your thermostat, your fridge, and pretty much anything else which is a part of this "internet of things".

Every aspect about what these devices does will be analyzed, used for marketing information, handed over to law enforcement, or your insurance company, or anybody who hacks into it.

For some of us, this whole IoT is a privacy nightmare waiting to happen, and we have no interest whatsoever in it.

Unfortunately, a lot of people like to see that as a sign that you're paranoid and getting alarmist about things which will never happen.

And then, like the widespread surveillance being misused (which they swore would never happen), parallel construction (which is perjury in my books), or the scope creep we see all around us ... almost inevitably this comes true and people act surprised.

Sorry, but I for one will not be enabling this crap. It just seems like technology for the sake of it, and by the time people realize that those among us who have been saying this will be a problem were right, it's too damned late.

Unless there are laws governing how a company can use the information, and some controls over law enforcement to prevent them from getting this and misusing it ... the internet of things is a terrible idea, and will not make your life better. The sheer amount of information about every aspect of your life which will be in someone else's hands is staggering.

In the end, I predict it will make our lives far worse, and usher in even more of this surveillance society we've been seeing.

We can't trust them with the information they have now, let alone from another bunch of sources in your life.

You really think the government won't insist on getting all this data without a warrant? And they won't claim you have no reasonable expectation of privacy and that they should be entitled to know where everybody is at all times? Or that corporations won't sell this for marketing purposes? Or to deny you service?

Hell no. Now, pass the tin foil please.

New crypt. See /usr/news/crypt.