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Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 467

by Registered Coward v2 (#49742917) Attached to: The Brainteaser Elon Musk Asks New SpaceX Engineers

I came up with the answer by reading books and online content about common questions asked at interviews.

Wrong answer. You see, when I ask that question I am wondering how well you think on your feet, not that you actually have an answer; since I really don't care about the answer you give. I need to know how you might handle an off the wall question from a client in a meeting and if I can trust you not to say something stupid. I really just want to see how you react; because you never know what a client might ask, or say.

Do you want to know my Strengths and Weaknesses next, or just how many basketballs fit in this room?

Nah, I'm more of a "How many golf balls were sold in NYC last year" kinda person.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 467

by Registered Coward v2 (#49742335) Attached to: The Brainteaser Elon Musk Asks New SpaceX Engineers

On a related note, there is also an infinite number of shapes a manhole cover can have so that it cannot fall into the hole. But don't tell that to the interviewers.

Having asked that question in interviews, I didn't care what you answer d but was interested in how you came up with answers. Answering "so they don't fall in the hole right away is the least best answer.

Comment: Re:Registered to vote != Voted (Score 1) 598

by Registered Coward v2 (#49734591) Attached to: The Demographic Future of America's Political Parties

There are always rare cases where someone is declared legally dead before word reaches their body, sometimes by many years. There will also always be people who voted by mail then die before the election. It's possible the law they were debating was for these sorts of things.

I doubt it. Carter's first election included ballot boxes with votes bundled together by rubber bands. If the county boss wanted you elected you got elected. Voters got their government check abd a filled out ballot at the same time. He went to court to secure his victory. He said it best when asked why he was qualified to oversee elections to identify fraud: 'I ran for election in Georgia.' His book on growing up in rural Georgia is a great read.

Comment: Re:Compelling? (Score 1) 241

by Registered Coward v2 (#49728717) Attached to: Why Apple Ditched Its Plan To Build a Television

Whether cable tv, netflix, or amazon prime, people like to rent their television content by the month, and that isn't really Apple's thing.

They seem to be moving in that direction with the addition of HBO subscriptions to Apple TV. They could renegotiate deals with studios to rent bundles of shows and it Netflix to let people buy Netflix via the App store, for example. If they get enough AppleTV's into the hands of consumers so that they can significantly raise Netflix's subscriber base Netflix may just be willing to cut Apple in on the monthly fee. Alternatively, Apple could negotiate with content owners to create their own AppleFlix and offer a monthly service.

Comment: Re:Compelling? (Score 3, Informative) 241

by Registered Coward v2 (#49728663) Attached to: Why Apple Ditched Its Plan To Build a Television

But they couldn't have differentiated themselves. The television market is highly competitive, with intense pressure driving manufacturers to minimum margins. For Apple to justify a price premium, they would have needed some sort of compelling features to differentiate it from every other television, and it seems that they weren't confident that they could do that.

Many of the things that differentiate them with other products (excellent build quality/fit and finish and the benefits of their vertical integration) don't really apply to a TV. You don't tend to notice build quality on something like a TV that you never really handle directly, and there isn't a huge amount to be gained in terms of vertical integration with a television versus connecting an external device by HDMI.

Exactly. TV's tend to be a low margins price sensitive business an that just isn't Apple's game. More importantly, virtually all of the advanced features they could build into a TV they could put into AppleTV and carve out the higher margin part of the TV business and leave the display manufacturers to fight it out. In auditor, building features into AppleTV means they can adapt to whatever display technology is popular without having to pick a winner as they would have to if they built a TV and the Apple TV can simply connect to a new display whenever an old one is replaced an thus Apple's connection with the end user is not lost when the TV is upgraded.

Why go into a low margin business where the technology isn't settled and you have no real advantage to be able to charge a premium that you can't already charge with an existing device?

Comment: Re:Mixed reaction (Score 5, Insightful) 316

by Registered Coward v2 (#49725573) Attached to: Battle To Regulate Ridesharing Moves Through States

I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, some of these regulations are clear attempts to just protect the taxi industry from new models. On the other hand, some of the regulations (like having some basic insurance to cover if things go wrong) are pretty reasonable. On the gripping hand, both Uber and Lyft are both just blatantly ignoring regulations in many jurisdictions, and whether or not one thinks the laws should be there, it is hard to think that having cheaper car services is such a compellingly necessary service that it can morally or ethically justify ignoring laws.

If you wish to speak of morals and ethics, perhaps you should review the existing structure and their pricing model first.

There's a reason we have a compelling argument for competition here, and it's not because they have cooler looking cars.

There certainly is a compelling argument for competition, as there is for proper regulation. So when one looks at the existing structure the question becomes what parts of it need to be applicable to new entrants providing the same service, i.e a ride for hire? Uber et. al. are merely a modification of the existing call a taxi on a phone model and thus should be subject to similar regulatory oversight. You contact a dispatcher, they send an independent contractor to pick you up and take you to a location for a fee. They may not have a medallion on their car and may or may not own the car but the end result is the same - a ride to a location in exchange for money.

Of course the existing companies are fighting tooth and nail becasue there is a lot of money at stake. In locations where medallions are scarce people can have hundred of thousands of dollars tied up in medallions, the medallion may be the most valuable thing the company or individual owns. Uber threatens that by putting cars on the road, thus threatening to overcome the artificially constrained supply of cabs and make owning a medallion necessary and thus lowering the value of existing medallions. So one can expect the medallion owners, as well as those who lend money to people to buy them, to fight back. Interestingly enough a medallion is one expensive item that is tailored to people with poor or no credit, since as one lender put it "If they don't pay all I have to do is pry the medallion off of the hood. I can then resell it but they can no longer drive so they'll do anything needed to make their payments."

Comment: Re:I think the key message in the article (Score 1) 598

by Registered Coward v2 (#49725479) Attached to: The Demographic Future of America's Political Parties

You can only "move to the center" if you're a third party. If the Democrats move to what was the center (as they keep doing and have kept doing over the last three or four decades), the center moves as a result and they're no longer at it. Worse, their attempt to look less extreme helps their opposition, which now also looks like it's closer to the center.

The Republicans understand this somewhat better, and have drifted to the right, knowing that this, too, moves the center, but moves it rightwards, leaving both parties looking slightly more extreme rather than just the party that's made the move.

What you are describing is the midpoint between party positions which doesn't necessarily represent the center of the voting population. So it's not so much establishing position close to theater sides but going for the sweet spot of the voting public. The other side may attempt to move their as well or move further to their extreme but that should not result in a move in reaction.

Comment: Re:Probably better off (Score 1) 384

And you've never seen the requirement for a #2 pencil? Did you know that the manufacturers who created the #1 pencil were put out of business by the systematic collusion to allow only #2 pencils? #3 pencils, when they were invented, couldn't get a foothold the monopoly was so strong. It's a goddamned racket. ;-)

While I appreciate the sarcasm and humor in your post, there is a grain of truth to it. The British used to flood their graphite mines to prevent mining after the quota was met and strictly monitor miners going in and out. It's hard to believe but graphite was considered strategic and the UK had the world's best. There is a good book, called The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance, by Petroski, that details its history.

Comment: I think the key message in the article (Score 1) 598

by Registered Coward v2 (#49724993) Attached to: The Demographic Future of America's Political Parties
is that the party that moves to the center and focuses on issues that face most voters, such as the economy, financial security, etc. and doesn't let their lunatic fringe who focus on one issue, that the majority of voters either don't care about or don't agree with, decide what the party stands for will gain support. However, as long as candidates are decided by primaries and millennials don't vote in them the parties will not change. The one thing politicians fear more than lack of money is lack of voter support, and the first time a politician loses a primary because he or she pandered to the fringe of their party in order to win but winds up losing to a more mainstream candidate they will take notice. There is no wake up call like getting your butt whipped in a fight.

Comment: Re:Registered to vote != Voted (Score 3, Funny) 598

by Registered Coward v2 (#49724961) Attached to: The Demographic Future of America's Political Parties

Just because dead people are registered to vote doesn't make it voter fraud (it makes it registration fraud, but that's completely different). Now, if you had dead people actually voting (setting IL aside), then you might have a problem. However, the linked article says:

The US State of Georgia debated a bill on how long a dead person should be allowed to vote. It was the first debate for a guy named Carter who was newly elected to the GA Senate. They settled on three years but I don't think they passed the bill.

Comment: Re:Economics is a science! (Score 1) 334

In the days since Adam Smith penned his first thoughts on economics, engineers have taken us to the moon, physicists have split the atom, doctors invented antibiotics, philosophers invented human rights, chemists invented plastics, farmers quadrupled the per-acre food yield, programmers invented the internet, and much *much* more.

And economists, always backwards looking, now think that the Q-value might explain past crashes.

What a world we live in!


Well, an economist did invent Marxism...

Comment: The writer sees things through tech glasses (Score 1) 284

by Registered Coward v2 (#49718735) Attached to: The Auto Industry May Mimic the 1980s PC Industry

and fails to realize there are many differences between the '80's computer industry and the automotive industry. The computer industry suffered a massive shift because the computer was redefined from big iron to box on a desk. Standardization on one dominant OS changed the structure of the industry and what was important to a consumer. As long as your box ran Windows you didn't care who made it, beyond basic things such as cost, reliability, and perhaps upgradability. The hardware became a commodity and the manufacturers became less important. Cars, OTOH, are more than an OS in the dashboard and the manufacturers control the dashboard. Unlike computer manufactures they can still dictate what goes in their and sell the car on things beside "it runs CarPlay!!! OMG!!!" No one buys a Mustang, Camaro or Corvette for what is in the dash; nor do they buy a minivan for the dash either (beyond perhaps the ability to play videos to keep the rugrats quit on trips). manufacturers can and will differentiate their products, unlike computer manufacturers. They can even offer a choice of dashOS or put in what ever becomes the standard. Even industry attempts to standardize components , such as the DIN for radio size, have largely failed to drive standardization as a number manufacturers have gone to proprietary busses and dash cutouts in their cars. Computer manufacturers had to run Windows (says he who has used Apple products since the old Apple ][) and once they did that their box was very little different form anyone else's in the same price / spec range.

A better comparison would be to look at what is standardized on cars and vital to the car being useful, much as an OS is to a computer; i.e the fuel. Right now, hydrocarbon based rules is the one common denominator between most cars on the road. If Tesla could spark a movement to electrics and offer the same or better convince as current rules then the comparison to the 80's computer industry would make some sense; in that manufacturers who fail to find a way to differentiate their product will face significant challenges remaining relevant. Given that car manufacturers have a large number of years of experience doing just that I doubt even a shift to electric power will cause major upheavals in who actually builds cars, and something as trivial as an in dash OS will not even cause much of a hiccup. All the dashOS will do is decide who gets some royalty payments.

Comment: Re:Affirmative Action (Score 1) 527

by Registered Coward v2 (#49712487) Attached to: Harvard Hit With Racial Bias Complaint

That would suck as a parent, particularly if your life experience back in India is that the best guy from a the equivalent second-tier-public-school has a worse career then their equivalent of Harvard.

Exactly. They are operating under beliefs that are not correct in a different context, not getting into Harvard means you are stuck in a second tier future. Personally, I'd hire someone who graduated in top 20% of a state school over someone in the bottom half of Harvard.

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.