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Comment: Amazon isn't out of expansion area (Score 1) 140

by Animats (#47533631) Attached to: Amazon's Ambitious Bets Pile Up, and Its Losses Swell

Amazon isn't out of expansion area. Their target is all of retail, and there's still a lot of non-Amazon retail. Most other big US companies with lots of cash have hit their natural limits.

Trying to go beyond those limits is tough. Google has not been successful in expanding beyond ads. (Android only makes money as an ad platform; Google's phone revenue is small.) Apple has a lot of cash, but can't find any way to use it that will yield the kind of margins Apple is used to. Facebook is still growing, but again, it's all ads.

There's only so much ad spending in the world, and the ad-based companies are all fighting over the same pot. There's more room to grow when your business model is "sell everything".

Comment: Re:11% fuel efficiency improvement (Score 1) 117

by Mashiki (#47533559) Attached to: Will Your Next Car Be Covered In Morphing Dimples?

You mean Germany has the autobahn. And seen a smart car going down the freeway, usually they're fighting to keep the car on the road about the time they get hit by draft buffeting. I even saw one manage to lose it, spin out, and disintegrate after getting hit by buffeting on a wet highway.

Comment: Re:Bullshit (Score 4, Informative) 151

I live in Florida. Yesterday I had to call the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. All I had to do was wait for the option to press '1' for spanish to expire and I was connected immediately to a real person who answered my slightly complicated question easily, clearly and quickly.

I also own a business (and have owned two) in Florida, and every time I've had to deal with the Florida Department of Revenue (sometimes I got busy and forgot to pay my sales taxes) they have been friendly and helpful.

I wish, wish Cox Cable had the kind of friendly and expedient service Florida's government entities do.

Comment: Re:Price of using scientists as political pawns (Score 0) 250

Scientists taking sides? They took the side of reality. It's unfortunate for Conservatives that this reality doesn't line up with their views, but you can hardly blame that on the scientists.

Really? Best let liberals know this, because in Canada in various liberal held provinces they've been cutting and cutting hard the budgets for various organizations. It might have something to do with the fact that in the various liberal held provinces, we're going broke as fast as Greece.

Comment: Re:Colorado has California over a barrel (Score 2) 321

by Mashiki (#47528873) Attached to: Western US States Using Up Ground Water At an Alarming Rate

That is patently false. 2013 was the lowest point in all of recorded history. It has gone up slightly for the season, as it always does.

Really? Best let environment canada know that their data is incorrect. After all, it appears that the water levels are above the lowest recorded, and in many cases at the highest point in a decade.

Comment: Re:RUDEST PASSENGER EVER (Score 1) 738

According to Southwest's policy, people travelling together but with different boarding positions have the option to board together, provided the person higher up in line waits with the people further back. How this applies to families, I'm fuzzy on, but I would assume if you have a business select or other pass that allows boarding in the A1 through A15 group, it would make sense to have young children (say, under 10 years old) board with you. It seems like this is what the guy had done on several flights previously.

I have tried to find this regulation, recently, but I am fairly certain that that TSA regulations require the airline to honor any preferences and boarding assignments for all minors with the ticketed adult they traveling with, or else treat the minors as unaccompanied minors. A few times I have flow and received an automatic upgrade to first class, but not my minor travel companion. It's actually turned out to be a hassle, because they filled my old seat, there by stranding my child next to a random stranger. Obviously not acceptable. In both cases that it's happened, they ended up trading the stand-by person into my first class seat and putting me back into coach (which was fine). However, in both cases they told me that TSA regulation required them to board us together, and to use the adult traveler's cabin class, boarding priority, and seating preference. I travel for business quite a bit and I wouldn't wish my kids into 1st class with others who are traveling for business so I was happy to move back to coach, but both times the gate agent was quite adamant that they would bump a 1st class passenger to follow the reg if I wanted.

I sort of think this can't true. Someone from the TSA told me it had to with a terrorist screening database, that the children were not entered anyways, so it worked around a problem in the database with moving passengers between cabins. Could just be a myth.

Comment: Re:Customer service? (Score 3, Informative) 738

I fly a lot, and pretty sure he was in the right. The version of the story I read was that he was a Southwest A+ member, which is their (crappy) version of a frequent flyer. You get free pre-boarding priority with that status. It is customary for it to extend to any minors traveling with you on the same itinerary.

Comment: Re:Customer service? (Score 1) 738

On most 3-across, left-right configuration regional jets - like the 737 variants the Airbus 300, there is only enough overhead space for 2/3 of the passengers to bring on a rollerbag. This creates a problem where every 5-6 rows, or so, you lose 1/2 or 1/3 of an overhead bin to the preceding sections theoretical over seat compartment. By the time you get to the last rows, there is no longer any overhead space. People traveling without a rollerbag will typically get their bag or laptop bag or purse handed back to them and asked to put under the seat in front of them. Even then, it's not unusual for a full-flight to require a dozen or more rollerbags to be gate checked.

Basically all of the rollerbags now are FAA-size approved for a carry-on. A few have puff-out zippers that will add an extra inch or two but compress back down when forced.

This is basically the airlines overselling capacity and then having to do their best to accomodate. Personally, I don't mind gate checking a carry-on, but most of the time, traveling for business, I do not enjoy waiting for my luggage. It would be fine if after the 5-10 minute deplane and walk the luggage was waiting for me, but it never seems to work that way. It seems to take 30-60 minutes even in smaller airports with minimal traffic.

Comment: Re:Colorado has California over a barrel (Score 3, Informative) 321

by Mashiki (#47526847) Attached to: Western US States Using Up Ground Water At an Alarming Rate

You mean where they've been at the highest point in a decade because we now seeing a return to normal winter snowfalls? I remember 8 years ago that they were screaming that the end was nigh because the water levels had dropped. This was because we had unseasonably short winters with no heavy snow packs.

The most important early product on the way to developing a good product is an imperfect version.