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Comment Re:It doesn't work. (Score 1) 396

All Amazon is going to have in a few years is Type A assholes who are willing to kill themselves and they'll have no creatives, no inventors and nobody who actually is innovating. They'll have people who happily work 100 hour weeks to reduce the delay after clicking "Buy Now" and nobody coming up with the next Kindle.

Just noticing my own consumption patterns. I find myself buying far less from Amazon than I used to. I go the public library for most books now, keeping just a few in my Kindle app for reading while traveling or reference. I stream music now instead of buying it. I reverse showroom - Go to Best Buy, look at a few products, then read the reviews on Amazon to determine which one to buy since BB will match.

Amazon's big advantage in the early days was their ability to sell new products to consumers without sales tax. Bezos leveraged this to build mindshare and brand, but now he doesn't really have that huge advantage over other retailers. Sooner or later Amazon will be average internet retailer - Lots of products for sale with low margins. That may be one reason they push their people so hard, the profit margins they have now are not sustainable. Could even turn into another Sears.

Comment Re:Cortana? (Score 4, Interesting) 44

It's possible that phone apps are the punch cards of the future. Most apps require a network connection. What if there is a better way to launch and manage them via Cortana and they run on a cloud system, turning your phone into smart terminal? Then you won't care what OS a phone running as long as it can render the information you want. Maybe Microsoft is now thinking "The Network Is The Computer" as Sun did years ago. The approach might work, it might not, but that would be a reason to get Cortana on as many platforms as possible.

Comment Re:You could see Obama's character in '08 (Score 2) 211

, if Obama had done even half of what he promised to clean up the government, he could have asked for a Cuban-style health care system

Cuban-style health care system? I know an American who lives in Cuba. His wife (Cuban) had a spot on her tongue and was worried it might be cancer. The Cuban health care system could not schedule an exam for her for two months, so her husband flew her to the US to be looked at the next day. Turned out a dental fixture was irritating her tongue. Whenever the people I know have a problem they think requires immediate attention, they fly to the US. This doesn't happen very often, but at least they have a choice. In the meantime Cuba rents^H^H^H^Hsends its doctors to other countries to bring in money for the regime. No thanks.

Comment Re:The most underrated misconception of economics (Score 1) 940

Is this really a surprise? During the housing bubble years, unqualified in reality buyers got financing anyway and bought more then they could afford. Rents were dropping or flat because no one wanted to rent. Single family residences were favored over multi-family construction, apartments were being converted to condos or being torn down to be replaced by town homes. 2008, the SFR bubble bursts, leaving an unbalanced rental market in its wake: A huge contingent of former owners who had to rent, and a constrained supply of rental units. Today's rental pricing is the result, but it won't last. Of course developers are going to build more rental supply since that is where the money is today, so supply will increase. Owning a home will become more cost competitive compared to renting.

What I would like to know is what the average debt load of apartment owners is today. No doubt many are becoming as over-leveraged as home buyers were pre-2008 as they buy more rental properties. I'm guessing the rental market is in bubble territory today, but the best way to tell is to look at the debt of landlords. I would also like to know what sort of finance terms rental buyers are getting. I doubt they can get fixed rates, so a hike in rates by the Fed could really put the pressure on landlords. I'm not sure where to get this information, but I bet it is interesting. Buying rental property in 2009 was a great idea. Today probably not so much.

Submission + - Meet a tomato feeding robot overlord, the ultimate wearable.-> 1

Strudelkugel writes: As the world’s electronic companies scramble to set the agenda for wearable devices, the vegetable juice company Kagome has gone one step farther — unveiling a wearable tomato machine.

The Tomatan is a backpack that can be loaded with six midsize tomatoes — enough, say the makers, to power runners through this weekend’s Tokyo Marathon.

“Tomatoes have lots of nutrition that combats fatigue,” Shigenori Suzuki of Kagome said Thursday.

Link to Original Source

Comment Re:Fight within a platform, not between platforms (Score 1) 179

Now that Gates is advising Nadella, I can imagine the conversations revolve around that fact that Microsoft never made the actual platform that ran Windows. Phones are a bit different, but logically is Android really so different from IBM, Phoenix, AMI, Award, etc., BIOS? Gates and Nadella probably think of Azure as Windows, sitting on top of Android or iOS instead of whatever BIOS, with Office 365 and every other cloud app being the equivalent of desktop apps in the PC era. I doubt they really care if Microsoft services are running on a Windows Phone in the long term.

Another observation: I have a Nexus, iPhone and Windows phone. My observation is that the iPhone has the best app implementation, the Nexus / Lollipop is close and "good enough", and that the Windows Phone is obviously second fiddle in the app world. Windows Phone has most of the apps I need, but not all, and the other problem is that even if Windows Phone has the apps I want, they are not maintained as well as the iOS and Android versions. That said, I am somewhat surprised to say how much better I find the Windows Phone UI to be over Android and iOS. I am guessing individually downloaded apps will matter less and less and integrated services more and more in the future, so Microsoft may very well achieve the same thing in the mobile world as they did in the PC world.

Comment Re:Just don't .... (Score 1) 698

My condolences to you and your family.

I lost my dad when I was about the same age as your daughter. That was a long time ago, but I still wonder occasionally what it would have been like to have a father during those formative years. Rest assured your daughter will retain all of her good memories with you. I think writing down your thoughts for her, especially about turning points in life is a good idea, and making videos is, too. But the important thing to resolve from my experience is something work out with your wife. Kids need role models. After your daughter works her way through the trauma of your loss, I think she will seek someone to give her perspective since you will not be there for her, even if she is not consciously doing so. By no means am I suggesting your wife go out and "get a male role model" for her, but rather actively seek the opportunity to find one for your daughter. Maybe the "Big Brothers Big Sisters" program would be a good place to start when the time is right, or maybe another approach. I am sure you have discussed this sort of thing with your wife by now, but I looking back, having someone to go to in the absence of a parent makes a big difference after the loss. I would also archive this /. post for her so that she can see it someday. It will tell her something about the community that you are part of, and that will tell her more about you, too.

Comment Stick cards in your spokes (Score 2) 823

Guess it's the geek in me, but when I think of all the noise being generated I think "Why is this energy going into sound instead of the wheels?" Sure, when I was a kid we all thought it was cool to flip the air filter covers and get glass packs, but now I think it is like sticking cards in your bicycle spokes. This is especially true now that I have had a chance to drive a Tesla: No vibration, or excess sound, just smooth power going right where you want it. Put your foot in it, and you are pushed back in your seat with very little noise. Driving a Tesla, or any decent electric is almost a transcendental experience after driving ICE cars. I read a review by someone who said Rolls Royce has to come out with an electric car because the experience is so much better. Of course electric cars are dangerously quiet for pedestrians, so a noise maker at low speeds is legit. Audi has been busy making interesting concept sounds for their electric vehicles.

Comment Re:Train the trainer. (Score 1) 200

..."Let's teach more Americans to code. (Even the President is learning!)."



Is it just me or does this mean the market for coders has topped out? It's like the "Time magazine cover indicator" for the stock market: When you see a cover that says "Stocks, how high can they go!", sell! When the cover says, "Stocks, no hope in sight...", buy!

With all of the political people talking about coding, it must be sign of some sort of market top in the industry. I also think it's true that coding is for people who like it for it's own sake, not just because someone says "that's where the jobs are." The people who have coding jobs are able to provide value because they are self-motivated and often self-taught as they progress in their careers. The political types don't get this, which is strange since they would probably be the first to say that no one in politics gets ahead without a lot of individual initiative.

Comment Re:Awful. Insulted my intelligence. (Score 1) 98

Saw the interview, too. I think there is a quid-pro-quo with Charlie Rose and Hollywood: He does a certain number of interviews with people who make less than stellar movies, shall we say, but that allows him to arrange interviews with people from Hollywood who might otherwise say no. I have don't problem with the trade and on occasion even the people involved with the movies no one is going to watch are interesting. Alec Baldwin actually talked about this during one interview. He said "Of course we (he and the other actors on the show) are making the rounds to promote the movie, but at least we like talking to you." Pretty open about what was going on, but this it was Alec Baldwin after all...

There are two reasons I would like to see "Blackhat": The cinematography and Tang Wei. I'm curious to see how Tang Wei is in an American movie after she was blacklisted in China. She seems likes a capable actor so I would like to see her get new opportunities.

As for Chris Hemsworth, I thought he was good in "Rush". The movie was quite enjoyable and had plenty of interesting technical details for the geek audience. Maybe Ron Howard will make a movie about hacking. I think he would do a good job of it.

Comment Re:Routers? (Score 1) 360

... They have only one neighbor who they share a land border with who will talk with them, so they likely don't really have a way to set up a redundant second route.

Two countries, they share a short border area with Russia

Makes for interesting questions: Do they have fiber running through Russia, too? Did China decide to shut down the NK internet? If NK has a connection through Russia, did they go along with the idea? Or did the US or someone else do something to the internal NK infrastructure? All of the above assumes the NK blackout is not the decision of the NK government.

Comment Re:I see nothing exciting here (Score 1) 390

But none of that really tells us much about the movie itself; it could just as well be a teaser for Disney's toy catalog for next Christmas.

In other words, ff you get an advance copy of the catalog, you will know what is in the movie.

To this day I don't understand how Lucas could make something as good as "American Graffiti" and an entire collection as mediocre as "Star Wars", other than using them to sell toys. If it wasn't for Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and James Earl Jones in the original movie, my guess is that it would have flopped. It's sort of surprising to me that so many people with technical backgrounds like the SW series, given all of the science the movies completely disregard:

  • Sound in space
  • Spacecraft that make banked turns in a vacuum
  • Breathable atmosphere almost everywhere
  • No variation in gravity on different planets
  • Humans flying spacecraft while AI sits in the back seat
  • Humans aiming and shooting weapons while AI sits in the back seat
  • Large formations of spacecraft in close proximity even though they can move at hyper-light speed
  • etc, etc

The SW franchise strikes me as a series of repackaged westerns with WWII themes and an abundance of special effects. I like sci-fi that leaves you wondering about possibilities you never thought of before. I don't know why Hollywood has such a hard time with sci-fi given the example of "2001, A Space Odyssey". Not that 2001 was such a great movie given how disjointed it was, but the weightlessness, lack of sound in space, and of course the impossibility of understanding HALs AI made those sequences very alien and intriguing. (Martin Scorsese's comment that Dave Bowman shutting down HAL was actually a murder scene made the question of AI even more interesting.) "Terminator", "Predator", and "Alien" were all better, IMHO. I think all of the Philip K. Dick derived movies were better than SW, too. When it comes to SW, the stories leave little or nothing to the imagination, the antithesis of what good sci-fi should do. But then again, the movies are really just ads for toys and promotions at Burger King. In that regard, they make a lot of money so I will not argue with them as a business proposition. Now "Get off my lawn!"

All great discoveries are made by mistake. -- Young