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Comment: Large corporations beware (Score 1) 196

by EmperorOfCanada (#46802505) Attached to: $42,000 Prosthetic Hand Outperformed By $50 3D Printed Hand
One of the big advantages that big corporations bring to bare is the ability to finance big long term product development all the way through to manufacturing and distribution. One of the ways they do this is through shear scale of infrastructure. So if a washing machine company comes up with a new washing machine it is easy for them to put it in front of the consumer; easy that is compared to your average schmoe. But what happens in a world where either some guy tinkering in his basement in Northern Manitoba can come up with something cool, and either you can print it at home or have some local printing company print the device? While that guy might not have the marketing might to blast out his new invention; marketing is usually what is needed when one product is largely the same as the others. But if that guy comes up with something genuinely cool, viral marketing ought to go pretty far.

Now in some cases the big old corporation will just make the guy an offer or try to beat him up with their legal department, but in many cases people will just put out their designs as CC0 or some other open license and that is that. It will be Pandora's box ever day of the year.

I look around my house at all the badly designed crap and marvel at why it isn't better. I even think about things that are well designed like my swiss army knife and wish to make changes.

I'll give an example of where the large corporations are simply not giving a crap and just sell us the same old same old as long as they can. My example is cordless telephones. My cordless telephones are absolute crap. Compare the typical cordless phone to my 10 year old Motorola Razr. That old phone runs circles around my 1 year old cordless phone. So when I go to Best Buy and look at their selection of cordless phones they are all basically the same crap. I am willing to bet that the unit cost is under $10. I am also willing to bet that the marketing, shipping, and other administrative costs are potentially greater than the materials and manufacturing cost. The only real function of my cordless phone is to make some shareholders richer.

So now picture a future where I can 3D print my new cordless phone(yes I know that circuitry printing is a ways off and that by the time it comes around cordless phones will be a dead technology) what the heck kind of cordless phones will people be printing. I am seeing tiny little things with massive ranges and ungodly battery lives. I am also seeing something that interacts with my computer.

So now run around your house and think what could I 3D print where the materials cost was a tiny faction of what I paid. I am thinking all the hardware around my house like doorknobs, locks, hinges, drawer sliders, etc. Those things are all way overpriced. Then think about your bikes, lawnmowers, rakes, shovels, etc. Things that are built like crap and break all the time. When I lived somewhere really snowy I would guess that we went through around 2-3 Canadian Tire shovels a winter. They all broke in the same place. And so on.

So basically I don't believe anything that comes out of old media and thus don't read/watch it; so I am very hard to market at. So I can see a future where more and more of what I own will be designed by "some guy" and then printed either by me or by some local specialist in 3D printing. I also see a future where that 3D printer was 3D printed from an open design as well. Ideally it even gets to a point where the materials that I print are largely recycled locally or completely a commodity product. Thus there is no room for rent seeking in my 3D printing.

I'll even give you my uber dream. My house is 3D printed, all the hardware inside is 3D printed, the furniture assembled from locally produced wood and 3D crafted I will unlock(3D Printed) the door and step over the threshold in 3D printed shoes.

Comment: Univeral Basic Income (Score 0) 370

by EmperorOfCanada (#46798185) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?
This might be reason #232 for implementing Universal Basic Income. How may people are not able to show what they are capable of at critical times in their lives effectively wasting the person as an asset to society?

How many great students not only don't have enough food but then leave school in pursuit of sufficient nutrition?

Comment: Lesser Universities (Score 1) 100

by EmperorOfCanada (#46793143) Attached to: Minerva CEO Details His High-Tech Plan To Disrupt Universities
It strikes me that at some point these coursera type systems will become solid enough that the major universities will begin issuing some sort of real credits for their completion.

The below ignores the other aspects of university such as meeting people, and that many courses do require very hands on interaction such as a chemistry lab. While this is true it there is potentially still many courses that do avail themselves to a pure online experience.

This then presents a few interesting things to ponder:
One is that some kids will start knocking off university credits from prestigious universities. If you have completed some fairly serious stuff from well respected universities then why continue with High School?
How does one assemble a degree if you you complete courses from 12 different universities? Where did you attend? Where do you graduate from?
If you have proven that you can do Stanford level coursework at an A level, does this help you get into Stanford?
If the elite universities start graduating 100,000+ students online what is the value of such an elite degree?
Assuming that you can do all of the above, why would people attend 3rd rate universities?
What will be the cost structure? For some whole degrees physical attendance won't be a requirement (maybe a bonus, but not a requirement) so how do you price those students? Plus if you have 30,000 people attending the course of a single professor and a handfull of his TAs plus no facilities costs then the cost to provide the course should be fairly low.

Even if people are attending a 3rd rate university it will become ever harder to justify having 300 kids attend a lecture on a basic subject when there is a vastly superior lecture series online.

My prognostication is that after all the dust settles that local universities will become adjuncts to larger more respected universities where a portion of the courses are fully remote, group work is done locally, and the stuff that requires full hands on is definitely local. So you will get a degree from 3rd Rate U but now 3rd Rate U will have some of the gravitas from the larger institution that they have chosen to associate themselves with. So the reality is that the local University will reduce the number of lesser professors and increase the number of TAs. But the university will largely remain unchanged with just less crappy lecture time.

But where I see the devastation is in the high schools. Quite simply kids (starting around middle school) will start to do online courses because their local teachers suck. Some of these kids will do Algebra 101 from a fair university, but many will end up with Calculus II or more (plus other university level basics) from a better university well before they finish Highschool. Thus the highschools will very quickly find themselves devoid of any halfway smart students with any ambition or drive. Thus the high schools will begin to become populated with the left-overs which will drive the even vaguely motivated and halfway smart kids out. With the bar lowered so much the remaining kids will become even less motivated and drive away most of the teachers who just can't take whole classes of kid who don't give a single crap.

I can see a very simple argument that any kids who are capable of properly completing first year or better university are going to have to be eligible to attend in some fashion. If one university won't take them then there will be many others that will.

The way I see this evolving is fairly slow. Universities don't really change that quickly. But I suspect that if any of the big universities make a big leap that this will be what drives this hard and fast. I laugh when I see these small universities make these big pronouncements about how they are making big changes. Quite simply they can only make small ripples in a big pond. But if Harvard offered almost any degree tomorrow in an online only format with a nearly 100% acceptance rate (the idea being that you will fail out instead) that the number of people who would sign up (even if the price was massive) would be shocking. Quite simply at this point most people would still love to say that they have a degree from Harvard, even if it were 100 online. Yes there are all kinds of networking benefits that people would miss out on but again I am 100% sure that the buy in would be astronomical.

But if my local 3rd Rate U tried this it wouldn't even make slashdot.

Comment: Re:Drivers, its all about the drivers (Score 1) 110

by EmperorOfCanada (#46776741) Attached to: Intel Pushes Into Tablet Market, Pushes Away From Microsoft
Basically what I was saying was that they were leaning on being the primary CPU within the Windows environment which effectively depended upon its massive driver library. So where Intel screwed up was not realizing that drivers were becoming more available and less necessary; which meant that they were leaning on a soon to be looser.

I think this belief in Microsoft also clouded their judgement as to where smartphones were going. Microsoft never really took Smartphones seriously so I don't think Intel did either.

Comment: The economist, New scientist (Score 1) 285

by EmperorOfCanada (#46775969) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Good Print Media Is Left?
The Economist has many short articles that make for awesome bathroom reading, plus longer in depth articles. The same with the New Scientist. Both are also weekly magazines so it is a non stop firehose of up to date information that doesn't involve, cyrus, the kardashians, or whats his bieber.

I once loved Scientific American but then they became as crappy and unrealistic as Popular Mechanics for a number of years, then they became more serious but way too much psychology 101 crap about the brain. It is Scientific American mind this Scientific american mind that. But that is just PopMechanics again about the brain. Brain Implants in 10 YEARS!!!! Brain mapped for 800th time in PET scanner! Brain simulated in even bigger computer! Basically these are cover story articles that might get 100 words in New Scientist.

Comment: Drivers, its all about the drivers (Score 1) 110

by EmperorOfCanada (#46771029) Attached to: Intel Pushes Into Tablet Market, Pushes Away From Microsoft
For years MS had a near monopoly on drivers. Basically every device manufacturer made a driver for MS and maybe, kind of, sort of, possibly got around to a Mac driver, and then occasionally made a Linux driver. Thus anyone wanting to take on Windows would have had to reverse engineer and make a whole slate of device drivers. As an example, by Mac OS X making the switch to Intel it allowed hardware companies to more easily port their drivers so a few more did.

But over time Linux did managed to do just that, but being open source those drivers are then much more portable to entire other architectures such as ARM. This is then combined with the fact that few people hook devices up to their tablets makes for a near perfect environment to completely overtake the Wintel monopoly on drivers.

So for the first time in decades a consumer does not worry or even know about any driver issues and can choose their device and OS based upon features that are genuinely meaningful to themselves; such as price, app availability, and quality of the hardware.

So with the playing field is now much more level it is not surprising that the former Wintel monopoly is losing market share.

But there is a second and very critical issue and that is of CPU power. Quite simply a Raspberry Pi is around the minimum power that a typical Browser surfing, youtube watching user needs to have. Thus most people don't need the latest and greatest CPU to power their needs. So a halfway good arm inside a device is well enough for the vast majority. Also most people don't need to do much on their computers. A few simple games, some surfing, some video, some messaging. Thus a mobile device is becoming most people's primary portal to the world. Again this does not need to be a powerhouse; it just needs to be reasonably price, work well, and have a good battery life.

But lastly there is the way that ARM is structured. From what I can tell, if you want to buy 10 million arm processors then you buy 10 million arm processors. But if you want to buy 10 million Intel processors then Intel wants to make it complicated and have you enter into a "relationship". The same with the android OS vs the Microsoft OS. Personally I would be very wary dealing with either Intel or MS in that if suddenly my product was somehow incompatible with some corporate vision they had then they would cut me off or otherwise strangle my company. But ARM and Android just want you to buy/use their products.

I suspect that neither of these companies are going to adjust well to actually having competition who aren't even playing the same game meaning that neither Intel or MS will be able to squirrel the rules. Does anyone remember the phase Dell went through where they were Intel only? Can you imagine the angry conversations when Dell, HP, or anyone like that started to ship Linux machines? Do you think that anyone shipping ARM devices even wonders what ARM thinks?

Comment: Re:Business class is a misnomer (Score 1) 146

by EmperorOfCanada (#46763259) Attached to: How Amazon Keeps Cutting AWS Prices: Cheapskate Culture
If you are in Canada around 80% of First/Business class will be populated by something government flavored. So actual government people (especially politicians), government funded companies such as the CBC, government granted monopolies (Emera/NSP), or companies that thrive doing government work such as politically connected advertising agencies.

When I was in the consulting world I often had to fly at the last moment so paid full fare economy, so by being polite while checking in I often was bumped to first. So I sat beside these self entitled douche bags and only twice did I sit beside someone who was employed by a private company that wasn't bankrupt within 5 years.

One notable exception was a guy who flew so much he had hit some uber-mega-ultra elite status and was now automatically bumped to first class after flying for years in economy.

But the government people all blah blahed about how important it was for them to show up in good shape and that first class allowed them to do that. The error of their thinking was that the two things that get you from flying are the bad air and the time zone induced jet lag. The lack of a warm towel doesn't hurt.

These were people who weren't paying for it and wanted to be treated like a princess so they get the tax-payers to pay for it.

My simple formula is that any organization that isn't governmental that has its employees flying first class (executives included) either doesn't pay enough taxes, or doesn't pay its employees well enough. Don't get me started about private jets.

Comment: Don't just cut, but clarify (Score 1) 146

by EmperorOfCanada (#46763143) Attached to: How Amazon Keeps Cutting AWS Prices: Cheapskate Culture
I would love to use AWS but I am on a tight budget. I use Linode because I know that this month I will pay $20, and next month (surprise surprise) I will pay $20.

But I look at two scenarios with AWS, one is that I will screw something up and end up with a $2,000 bill. I will turn on some database crap that is insultingly expensive the way I am using it. My other fear is that I will get hit with an overnight DDOS that wipes out my budget for the month some time well before the month is over. Thus I would now have two options, one to pay more money and hope that it doesn't happen again. Or to shut down my service and stop making money.

Basically the rate pages (hard to find) for AWS are harder to read than my local cell company rates. I signed up for their free trial (had to give a CC) and still wasn't sure that I wasn't going to see a $2,000 bill on my CC so I basically was too afraid to push it. If there had been no CC I would have pushed it hard to see if it would meet my needs. But with my CC it sat for a year and did nothing.

Comment: Re:Oh no! (Score 1) 103

by EmperorOfCanada (#46743819) Attached to: Why the IETF Isn't Working
Maggie was a ten pound hammer used on a five pound problem. Things needed to change and she changed them, then kept on changing them. If I understand my history correctly British Leyland was on strike more day than they were in production (during one of their incarnations). Mayor Giuliani was similar, he massively reduced NYC's crime problem and when that was dealt with he started focusing on things like jaywalkers.

Comment: Most organizations break down (Score 1) 103

by EmperorOfCanada (#46743803) Attached to: Why the IETF Isn't Working
Nearly every organization that I have come into contact with broke down in the exact same way. A few incompetents managed to redesign the system. So it goes off the rails of whatever purpose it originally had and begins to concentrate on navel gazing. More and more is spend on things like PR, conferences, communications, legal, and most important of all, who they let in. A simple way to detect if an organization has gone rancid would be the number of MBAs who are in "leadership" positions vs people who actually know how to solve the problems at hand.

It is not so much that an organization should not have MBAs but you never give them the keys, they should be limited to marketing and maybe a little bit of accounting. But once they are in the boardroom then the organization is a walking corpse.

Another simple test is whether the original founders would even be qualified at this point to pass muster as new hires.

"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers." -- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a particularly vivid fantasy)