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Comment: Re:A stupid consideration (Score 4, Insightful) 511

by afgam28 (#47743987) Attached to: If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

As mentioned in the summary this has been discussed a few times on Slashdot, and the original discussion was kicked off by Paul Graham's assertion that the cool hacker kids were into Python and the only people using Java were boring corporate types who had no passion for their jobs and were often mediocre programmers. In this sense, "coolness" does matter a little bit - if you're starting a new project, you don't want to choose a language where the labor pool that you're recruiting from is full of crappy programmers.

And yes, I know good programmers can pick up new languages quickly. But it can take months or sometimes years to master all the libraries and frameworks around the language. Someone with relevant experience can hit the ground running and have a shorter ramp-up period than someone without. I'm not saying that this is more important than general coding ability - it's not - but this is valuable to a lot of smaller companies and startups who don't have lots of time to train up new hires.

What makes Java uncool isn't so much the language itself, but rather the community around it. I actually like Java as a language better than Python, but there's a real culture of overengineering in the Java community, and people there really value convoluted architectures that are (ostensibly) maintainable and extensible. In the Python community, people value simplicity and hackability, and you can see it when you do things like file I/O or compare popular frameworks from both languages.

Not directly related to Java, but a while ago the tech lead for OAuth 2.0 resigned citing cultural differences between the "web" and "enterprise" communities. The "cool" languages are definitely the ones that are favoured by the web community, and the uncool ones favoured by the enterprise community.

So as much as people might think that it's just language syntax, it's not - it's also about communities, culture and different ways of thinking.

Comment: Re:Not strong in Oakland (Score 1) 135

The magnitude of a quake is the total energy released at the epicenter, and it's true that you can't estimate the magnitude from feel since you have no idea of the distance. But the intensity is the amount of shaking at a particular location, and is probably what bazmonkey was talking about.

Comment: Re:San Francisco (Score 1) 135

Was strong enough to wake me up in San Francisco too, but not strong enough to bring anything down. There are some maps from the USGS that shows that it was a lot stronger in American Canyon than it was here.

Comment: Re: Correlation is not causation (Score 2) 175

That's true but the article (and even the summary) says that the correlation with internet speed is stronger than with income. So there may be more to it than just rich people can afford premium services.

Maybe families that value education more strongly are more likely to get broadband, or maybe there's is actually some causation.

Comment: Re:They made their bed (Score 4, Interesting) 426

Yeah, I remember around the early to mid 2000s there was an article on Slashdot along the lines of "who will be the next Microsoft?" and the general consensus was nobody - because Microsoft wouldn't be stupid enough to be the next IBM. IBM's mistake in the 80s was to hand over control of DOS, and Microsoft understood this and wouldn't repeat it.

Now in 2014 it's easy to see that IE6's stagnation and Ballmer's laughing dismissal of the iPhone has put the company in a very similar place to where IBM was in the mid 90s.

Comment: Re:Newsflash! Amazon to Provide Discount Buggy Whi (Score 1) 95

by afgam28 (#47668501) Attached to: Student Bookstores Beware, Amazon Comes To Purdue Campus

In my experience ebooks are great for things like novels, where it's mostly paragraph after paragraph of text. But for textbooks that have a lot of images, tables, diagrams, mathematical formulae, source code snippets, etc. the formatting doesn't always come out looking nice.

I think the epub format is basically zip'd html, and the kindle format is not that different. Text gets resized and reflowed according to the reader's screen size, and this means that things move around and don't look the way the author or publisher intended them to. I imagine this would be a problem for a lot of university textbooks, especially in fields like science.

Comment: Re:Compare with sports (Score 1) 442

by afgam28 (#47611589) Attached to: Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

I don't think the market values their skills that highly. Only the most successful actors make this kind of money, and if you wanted to compare this to (for example) engineers then the right comparison would be with startup founders who got lucky and sold out for millions (or didn't, and went on to make billions).

The difference with engineering is that a lot of regular engineers make a decent living. For every rich and successful actor or athlete, there are plenty of others who can't make ends meet. If you add all of this up, you'll see that the world values engineering much more highly than acting or sports.

Some rough numbers for perspective: the US film industry takes in $10 billion per year in box office revenues, whereas Google alone pulled in $15 billion last quarter. So at least in this example, I don't think the market valuation is that out of whack.

Comment: Re:This is how business should be done (Score 1) 168

by afgam28 (#47536997) Attached to: Amazon's Ambitious Bets Pile Up, and Its Losses Swell

Ever noticed how Amazon consistently breaks even every quarter? Sure there's like a hundred million loss, or sometimes profit in other quarters, but that's nothing when quarterly revenue is $20 billion. The company knows how much money is coming in, and they're using all of their profit to invest in their infrastructure, and grow out their businesses. They could decide at any moment to stop doing this, and the company would become hugely profitable overnight.

But their revenue last quarter is about 25% higher than it was this time last year, and it has consistently been seeing this kind of growth for years. The right thing for Amazon to do, from a shareholder's perspective, is to keep investing and ride out this wave of growth for as long as it lasts. To do otherwise would be to give up their long-term position just to maximize their short-term quarterly profits.

So to answer your question, "long term" happens when sales growth disappears, and the investments that Amazon makes into its infrastructure no longer provide any returns. With the sales growth that Amazon is seeing right now, this is clearly not the right time to stop building out the company.

Comment: Re:what's wrong with public transportation? (Score 3, Insightful) 190

by afgam28 (#47142107) Attached to: Is Google CEO's "Tiny Bubble Car" Yahoo CEO's "Little Bubble Car"?

All government services are based on "theft" of resources from people who don't use that government service. This includes the roads that private cars drive on, which are funded in part by gasoline taxes but mostly through non-user-pays revenue streams such as income taxes.

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