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Comment: "Boston-Based" Megabots? Not anymore AFAIK (Score 1) 107 107

I know Gui Cavalcanti and the merry band at MegaBots, and while I never asked directly about the specifics of their their business plan, it seemed like their relocation from Somerville, MA [Artisan's Asylum makerspace] to the SF area earlier this year was permanent "for the foreseeable future"

Comment: Re:They are not alone (Score 1) 231 231

Hell, I'm not even 40 yet and I would like to see some of the websites I regularly use to stop changing UIs for the sake of change.

The sad thing is, when Tim Berners-Lee came up with http, the idea was for the server to send the core info to the client, and for the client to display it in the format best for the client. So if you had a fancy computer and a big monitor, you could display the webpage with full graphics and high resolution fonts. If you had a low-end computer and a small monitor, you could display the webpage as text-only.

At some point, website designers got it into their heads that they knew the best format to view the information, not the person who was actually viewing the site on their own the computer and monitor. The first such sites were flash-based. Couldn't be scaled, reflowed, reformatted. Most everything has gone downhill since then, with many sites today even refusing to let you resize text and photos (the formatting gets messed up if you try).

Extensions like Stylebot for Chrome can help, but they're still pretty primitive.

Comment: Re:Spending cuts one way or another (Score 1) 388 388

Austerity is a strange word, it sounds sterile, it has strange connotations. The correct term is spending cuts.

You cut spending if you cannot afford what you are spending on and when you cannot borrow to spend either and in case of chronic offenders the sooner the creditors realize what they are dealing with the healthier for everybody. It's healthier for the spender, who has to come to terms of the impossible situation he is in and it is healthier for the creditor, who will avoid losing even more money. It is healthier for the overall economy not to have welfare State system in the first place, to have people consume based on what they produce and not based on what can be taken from somebody else without any form of repayment.

Another way to view it is that a loan time-shifts your earnings. Money that you would've made in the future is shifted in time to the present. The catch being that that money (plus some interest - payment for the time-shift) will be unavailable in the future. Basically how a cash advance works - you get your paycheck now 3 weeks after your previous pacheck, but you won't get your next one for 5 weeks instead of 4 weeks. You've time-shifted your paycheck one week earlier.

In other words, "austerity" is self-imposed the moment you take a loan. It is not the people demanding you repay the loan who are imposing austerity on you. You imposed it on yourself the moment you decided to get the loan.

I've tried to explain this to dozens of people, and only about a quarter seem to get it. The snapshot value of your bank account or your credit card balance at any point in time is not what matters. Heck, the time-average value of those two is not what matters either. What matters is their first derivative - the rate of change of those values. How much money you earn per month, how much you spend per month. Once you realize this, you understand that there's nothing to be gained by paying your bills one day before the due date (except for a negligible amount of interest). Whether you pay it the first day of the month or the last day of the month, the amount you pay per month is identical. And taking out a cash advance because you're "short of money" is actually more harmful to you in the long term (increases your expenses per month) than belt-tightening to get by until your regular paycheck arrives.

Comment: Re:Meanwhile, the US debt keeps piling up, up, up (Score 3, Interesting) 1251 1251

We are just as bad as the Greeks.

Greece was borrowing money to pay back formerly borrowed money. The U.S. is still borrowing money to do things with it (hopefully productive things). I'm a fiscal conservative, but in the current extremely low interest rate environment, it actually makes sense to borrow a lot of money to get more (productive) things done than you could do without borrowing.

The only thing you have to watch out for is that you don't borrow so much that you find yourself unable to pay it back when interest rates climb. That's the situation Greece found themselves in - as they got deeper into debt, their credit rating declined and it became more expensive for them to borrow money, which resulted in them being unable to pay back what they owed.

Comment: Re:Good for greece (Score 5, Interesting) 1251 1251

Notably, austerity tends to shut down the economy, which will only lead to further financial insolvency.

The fundamental problem here is that Greek pay (in Euros) is disproportionately high compared to their productivity vs other Eurozone nations'. "Austerity" is simply reducing wages to bring that wages-to-productivity ratio back in line with the EU norm. The reforms the EU was asking for addressed the other half of this ratio - increasing average Greek productivity. The growing Greek debt is created by this imbalance - people were being paid more Euros than they were producing via their labor. Greece was covering up this imbalance by borrowing, which is totally the wrong reason to borrow money. You borrow it to purchase things which will help increase your productivity so that you will no longer be running a deficit. You don't borrow it to continue to operate in arrears.

By rejecting austerity and failing to implement reforms, you don't leave many choices. The simplest is to boot Greece off the Euro. Then they can do whatever the hell they want with their economy, pensions, and pay, and it will automatically balance itself out via the Drachma falling in value vs. the Euro. You can either take a 30% pay cut in Euros, or you can switch to the Drachma and the Drachma declines in value 30% vs. the Euro. The end result is the same - "austerity". (Ideally Greece would increase their average productivity by 30% - then wages wouldn't have to drop. But they seem hell bent on refusing to do anything the EU suggests that could improve productivity.)

Comment: Re:You don't understand the universe (Score 1) 233 233

And why do you think they'll out compete people taught to be flexible and open minded?

Because in practice, that default position morphs into "incapable of critical thinking about objective reality and causality, and spending your life trying to make sense of the world while being poisoned with a crippling case of mixed premises and moral relativism" - that's why. Being open to new facts is important and wonderful. But being an intellectual invertebrate is unfortunately what's generally being indoctrinated.

Comment: Re:Religion is a choice! (Score 1) 266 266

Ultimately, any moral structure you choose to enforce is a choice. Including the one you've apparently chosen where inherent properties are given higher standing than chosen properties. Strictly from a physical (inherent) standpoint, there was nothing wrong with Hitler's belief that certain members of the human race needed to be exterminated. Evolution is after all about survival of the fittest, and if those peoples could not survive his extermination attempt, then obviously they were not fit enough for their environment. Others chose to believe differently - that those people had an inherent right to exist regardless of the circumstances they were born into. And they believed in that choice strongly enough to go to war over it even though it resulted in over 50 million deaths

So it's self-contradictory to argue that things based on a choice deserve less protection than things that are inherent. Such a moral position is in itself a choice, and by your definition cannot be defended if e.g. someone inherently physically stronger than everyone else decides to go around smashing in the heads of people who believe as you do (regardless of your race or gender).

Religious intolerance is included because historically it has been one of the main reasons people have been persecuted and discriminated against. Heck, people are being executed for it right now in Syria and Iraq. Probably a lot more than because of their race or gender. Even atheism is a choice (essentially, a religion). The scientific method cannot prove a negative, so it cannot prove that a god does not exist. So to go from agnosticism (uncertainty about whether a diety exists) to atheism (certainty that no deity exists) requires a leap of faith - a choice.

If you boil it down, I think you'll agree that the key principle worth defending is the right to self determination - the freedom to make the choices you want to make. Such choices are worth protecting up to the point where they begin to interfere with other people's freedom to make their own choices. It's all about choices.

Comment: Re:14 years (Score 5, Informative) 108 108

3) There is nothing wrong with hinting you are willing to sell. I'm willing to sell my home for enough money and I still live here. If someone wants to pay me 130% or market (not even an insane amount) I'm out tomorrow. The fact that I would sell for over market doesn't indicate bad faith which is the other thing that needs to be proven.

Hold your horses. Hinting that you're willing to sell is probably the worst possible thing you can do if a trademark owner is trying to take your domain away from you. From ICANN's Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, the first example of a bad faith registration is: " circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name."

Never signal that you're willing to sell, even as a joke. The domain is your baby, and you want it forever. If they offer an amount you're willing to sell for, then take it. But never admit before then that a certain amount would get you to change your mind. When Nissan (the car company) tried to take nissan.com from Uzi Nissan (the computer store owner) who had registered the domain long before Datsun ever began using their Nissan trademark in the U.S., they asked him how much it would take for him to sell. He replied, "A million dollars. Why can't you understand I'm not going to sell." Basically he pulled a Dr. Evil. Back when the phrase "a million dollars" was first coined and the average person made a few dollars a week, it meant a ridiculously huge sum of money. But today it's not that much money.

Nissan's lawyers immediately took the first half of his statement, snipped out the context in the second half, and presented it to ICANN as evidence he was squatting the domain to extort money from the trademark owner. ICANN then decided to take the domain away from him and put it in escrow until the dispute was resolved (eventually in Uzi Nissan's favor years later, though he lost millions because he wasn't awarded legal fees). If he hadn't used that particular phrase, he might have been able to continue using the domain throughout the legal proceedings.

Read up on the UNDRP if this is something you're really worried about.

Comment: Re:So this is going to fail like face unlock... (Score 2) 77 77

I can't even start to wonder why a critical, money-bound company would even think of facial recognition for secure payments...

Pass a law making banks and credit card companies financially responsible for fraud in the use of their products, rather than being able to pass the cost off entirely onto merchants like they currently do. Then you'll see money-bound companies take security seriously. (Those absurdly high credit card interest rates pay for people who default on their credit card bills, not for fraud.)

Why did the Roman Empire collapse? What is the Latin for office automation?

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