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Comment Ads are dead (Score 1) 269

I hope everyone uses ad blockers and squeezes ads out of existence entirely. Businesses will have to find new ways to promote themselves. For example, I like reading product reviews or getting referrals from friends. Referrals alone can scale huge for a business given the way we are all connected through facebook, google+, twitter, whatever.

As annoying as APK's post are, he is still right, a hosts file really does work. It even blocked a some of the video ads that were inserted into a stream. For almost zero effort on my part.


Submission + - Question for Anant Agarwal About edX and the Future of Online Education (

An anonymous reader writes: Anant,

General question: how can we get Foundations and other funders to look beyond the current landscape, and fund real online educational platform innovation?

I have been a long time proponent of online education, heavily involved in the early years — and continuing through today of Open Educational Resources,including online education.

Given that edX, Khan Academy, various other MOOCs, etc are all streaming linear video, and many foundations are funding same, how is it that new platforms/technology that vastly improves the interactivity of online video, as well as its accessibility, have such a hard time getting funded by the Foundations most heavily involved in online education (e.g. Gates, Hewlett, etc).

Example: I have consulted for an entrepreneur (who has already built and sold one company to Motorola, and was funded by Draper, Fisher, Jervetson) who has created online platform technology that turns streaming video into linkable objects — imagine every object on the screen in a Khan Academy video as a *linkable objects*, enabling immediate access to online tutors; peer interaction; micro-assessments; **at any point in a lesson, in real time**. Also, imagine a platform (because the content is presented as objects, instead of frames) that can reach *any* student on earth regardless of bandwidth — i.e. bandwidth access is no longer a problem. This platform could increase student interactivity by an order of magnitude and it eliminates the serious problem of bandwidth constraint — and many other advantages.

Is there a way to get through to Foundations via edX. We have spoken to principles at Hewlett and Gates, but they have put their chips on Khan and the MOOCs. btw, we can convert standard video fare to this platform, giving all online content the advantages I just mentioned.

Comment Re:Cheaply (Score 1) 125

most people don't do 15-year fixed for their first home loan. 30-year is the standard.

A loan can be a real estate investment, but it's not a very good one if you add the complication of living in the home. Once you're living in it, you give up enough flexibly in terms of selling it to write it down as an asset. If you sold your home when the market is high, what would you do with the money? Probably buy another home immediately, while the market is high. Not much opportunity to translate that "investment" into profit. We can argue about the definition of investment, I'm only arguing that you should be careful in calling a primary residence an investment.

Comment Re:Cheaply (Score 1) 125

When you buy a small house for $800k in the bay area versus a $200k home in a rural part of another state, it doesn't mean you need 4x the salary. It means you need 2x the income (spouse would have to work) and take out a bigger loan. Bigger loan means you build equity up slower because most of your mortgage payments go towards the interest (really, it gets ugly for any loan over $400k). But you aren't expected to pay off the house, that's not really the goal. You're expected to sell the house and apply your equity to a new house. (perhaps retire somewhere cheap and pocket the difference)

The advantage for me is a nice metropolitan area with a low population density (it covers a large area).

There are places to live in the bay area for sub-$400k that are regular middle class neighborhoods. They aren't up near all the trendy shops and have only an average school system. Using the 28% of your income rule and $135k/yr salary after income tax it looks like you one could afford around $2200/mo which is about what you'd need for a $350k 30-year loan plus property tax that you'd have on a $400k house. (sorry if my math is not exact to the latest rates, these are ballpark numbers here). $135k/year is not unusual in the bay area for a single engineer or for a couple with a two income household (ex: teacher + building contractor).

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