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Comment: Re: barrier to entry (Score 1) 168

by aap (#47531831) Attached to: Amazon's Ambitious Bets Pile Up, and Its Losses Swell

When you say the "barrier to entry is so absurdly low" you seem to mean that you could start a competing web site yourself for almost no money. And you could... but how will anyone find out you exist, and once they do, how will you convince them to buy from your site? Amazon has buying power, reputation, selection, and cheap fast delivery. They didn't get there overnight, and neither can you.

It's true that the other big names are not taking it lying down. More and more are offering shipping subscriptions, for example. But it's not so easy to convince someone to pay for multiple reduced shipping services from other sites once they have paid for Prime. You're right that there's little risk of actual monopoly though.

Comment: how profiling tools fit in (Score 1) 249

by aap (#30827362) Attached to: Cliff Click's Crash Course In Modern Hardware

or you needlessly wrote some hideous O(n!) search which is NP complete, then no amount of profiling and instruction tuning is ever going to help you.

In this situation the value of the profiling tools is not for instruction tuning, but to help you notice the existence of the bad search function so you can replace it with something else.

In a large program there can be lurking n-squaredness which may not be obvious from looking at any one section of the code. For example there could be an innocent function which loops over n objects, and you may not realize that it is being called from a function twelve levels up the stack which is also looping over the same n objects.

Sometimes it's enough to just stop in the debugger a few times to realize what is slower than it should be and why. In other cases, browsing the output of a good call graph profiler can help inspire the fix faster.

Comment: Re:Get a Cheap Used Palm Tungsten C (Score 1) 426

by aap (#27144823) Attached to: Best Wi-Fi Portable Browsing Device?

Hard to beat the price as you've laid it out, but the web browsing experience on the T|C is not very satisfying by today's standards. The combination of 320x320, 802.11b (not g) and PalmOS makes me normally prefer to cross the house to use a desktop PC. Though it is convenient for ssh access to try to restart gdm or cleanly reboot a machine whose screen and keyboard has locked up for some reason.

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