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Comment: Re: Did they make money on Surface? (Score 2) 94

No, that's not a correct statement. The indirect costs may not be specifically for a specific Surface unit, but the Surface division does have indirect costs that are specifically its own costs. This means that there are, indeed, indirect costs that are specifically Surface's. The Surface factory pays rent, taxes, electricity and utility. These are all indirect costs, and they are all specifically for Surface.

And parts of the general overhead should also reasonably be allocated to that line, if you run a Surface ad that should probably be specific indirect cost but if you have a stand at a conference promoting all your products then a fraction of that cost should probably be considered Surface marketing costs. All companies do some form of internal cost assignment that is more detailed than what the official accounting practices gives you but since they're easy to manipulate they won't show them to investors as you could easily be sued over giving a false impression of the profitability of one particular product or service.

What's worse when it comes to investment decisions is that even if the costs are properly allocated - a very big topic in itself, particular for example what costs employee time, equipment time, equipment wear, storage or use of consumables instead of direct expenses - is that cutting one product line won't necessarily cut the allocated costs. A textbook example is a chicken farm where you sell chickens breasts, legs and wings. Even if you find out the wings aren't profitable through the cost allocation, it's pretty hard to make chickens with no wings so dropping the product wouldn't actually cut the costs, just force a re-allocation.

Another fun part of this is the impact dropping some products or services can have on others, for example say you run a grocery store and find that selling milk is really making you no money all, in fact you're losing a bit. But if you tried to cut milk from the store, you'd find a lot of customers start shopping elsewhere. It's amazing how many companies have fallen into this trap by cutting auxiliary non-profitable products only to find they were necessary to make the profitable sales. Or in other areas like public transportation, if they cut the off-hour lines people buy a car and use that instead of the bus altogether.

It's not all bean counting 101, like in tech there actually are complex interrelations in business too. Most of it isn't rocket science but if you use too simplistic models it might fall flat on its face in reality. The GAAP figures they publish for the stock market are not made for detail, they're made for being correct and comparable which highly limit their depth because they don't want to give companies the degrees of freedom to manipulate the numbers. Trying to accurately say how a small product is really doing in a big company's books is actually very, very hard.

Comment: Re: Packages can't be removed? (Score 3, Informative) 97

by Kjella (#48228171) Attached to: OwnCloud Dev Requests Removal From Ubuntu Repos Over Security Holes

The universe repository is not supported by Ubuntu. There are four sections:

Main - Officially supported software.
Restricted - Supported software that is not available under a completely free license.
Universe - Community maintained software, i.e. not officially supported software.
Multiverse - Software that is not free.

So someone in the "community" once made an ownCloud package, got it in universe and isn't maintaining it. Ubuntu is saying "that's not ours, you fix it" while the developers are saying "that's not ours, you fix it" and they're both making valid arguments. Ubuntu is saying the quality of the universe packages is what the community makes of it, if it's broken or vulnerable it stays that way until the community provides a fixed version. Otherwise they'd get overrun by lazy packagers who get it into the release repository then orphan it and ditch the maintenance responsibility on Ubuntu. If the developers won't jump through the hoops to fix it then it can't be that important to them.

The developers of course see it differently, they never asked for their software to be put in this repository. They never broke it, why should they fix it? Clearly they're a victim here. Still, just because you're a victim there might still be a process. If you send an angry mail to YouTube saying "Hey you bastards, stop sharing my video kthxbye" they might redirect you to say here's the report copyright violation form, fill this out and we'll process it and you go "Nuh uh, too much work and I already told you stop so stop already." you won't get far. And Ubuntu is legally in the clear here, if they want to keep shipping that package they can. It's a request, not a demand.

Comment: Comprehension fail (Score 2) 469

by TapeCutter (#48226727) Attached to: Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking would preclude using quotes on a highly doctored phrase.

Nope, good grammar does that, he just failed to state he was paraphrasing.

In other words, they don't mean what you attempted to portray them to mean.

The actual meaning of the quote was NOT lost. ie: it explicitly states they oppose CT because they believe it will lead children to doubt their parents or as they put it "undermining parental authority", the wording also strongly implies they don't want the "authority" of fixed beliefs "undermined". The subtext of the quote is that parents and fixed beliefs are infallible and should not be questioned.

In simpler words the policy as you have quoted it says - We don't want educated children, we want obedient children.

Comment: Re:What is critical thinking? (Score 1) 469

by TapeCutter (#48226537) Attached to: Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills
Yes, the very nature of large organisations drains initiative, males in particular evolved to work in small groups of 5-6 and live in tribes of ~150 people, anyone not in their tribe was by definition "sub-human" but not necessarily a mortal enemy. A wise organisation acknowledges this and will give small teams a great deal of autonomy to achieve a particular goal, eg: think how the military would tackle the goal of "keep the park tidy and well maintained", you may have to explain to them that anyone can use the park, but you get the idea.

Disclaimer: I spent seven years in the 90's as technical lead on an automated job dispatch system that handled thousand of workers and tens of thousands of jobs each day, it covered the continent of Australia, at that time it was by far the largest mobile dispatch system in the southern hemisphere in volume of work and geographical coverage. The backend used "linear programming" techniques (WW2 logistics), no human could beat the daily work plan it churned out. A bunch of execs would get up at 5am and paw all over the plan, add some "special constraints" and end up with a less efficient solution. Often the "special constraints" were accepted anyway, since - we can't have (say) the telecoms minister waiting 2 days for a new install in his office, it has to be done first thing today, and it has to be done by employee X who drinks at the same pub, who gives a flying fuck if 25 nobodys drop off the original work plan?

Comment: Re:Gabe Newell is perhaps the biggest driver of th (Score 1) 68

by Kjella (#48226215) Attached to: PCGamingWiki Looks Into Linux Gaming With 'Port Reports'

But no, the Microsoft Experience is inviolate, the holiest of holies, eternally immutable. No matter how much hatred it gets, it Must. Not. Be. Changed. And then Alienware ships a Windows 8 PC that boots to Steam instead of Metro. SteamOS's job is done. When no-one was looking, Steam took Microsoft and snapped it like a twig.

Or Microsoft found out they must cede the battle to avoid losing the war. That doesn't mean Valve should get complacent, once you make a threat like that it'd better stay credible. If they back down too far Microsoft might try for a blitzkrieg shoving the Microsoft Store down users' throat before Valve has time to rekindle the SteamOS project. At the same time they don't want Steam to go mainstream to avoid making it a real enemy to Windows.

Comment: Re:What is critical thinking? (Score 2) 469

by TapeCutter (#48226131) Attached to: Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

"critical thinking" is the new buzzword.

I'm 55, the phrase has been around for a long time, Carl Sagan was fond of it (unfortunately my HS never mentioned it) so it wasn't until I dropped out and saw Sagan and Randi talking about it on TV that I became personally aware that it was a skill that can be taught. Perhaps it's been hijacked lately in the US to mean something else but I haven't noticed. To me it has always meant 'skepticism', in particular self-skepticism. Sagan also referred to it as his "bullshit detection kit". As for TFA, memorising facts* is essential but insufficient, ie: you can't even start to think about things that you don't remember, which is what Newton was getting at with his "shoulders of giants" comment.

*Facts as in - "two bodies attract each other with a force proportional to their combined mass and the distance between them", that the force is ~9.8m/s on Earth's surface is trivia, handy to know but not essential to the concept that's being memorised since it can easily be looked up or measured. A physics teacher who sets up a gravity problem and expects students to know the value of 'g' from memory, is doing it wrong. Of course there are exceptions where memorising numbers is a useful "short-cut" for the student, multiplication tables being the most obvious

Comment: Re:Alternatives? Same problem.. (Score 1) 514

by petermgreen (#48223845) Attached to: FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

As a manufacturer of devices I can see a few defenses you can employ

1: avoid chips that hide their internal details from you. The FTDI clones are totally different internally from the genuine devices but because that is all hidden from it's difficult to tell the difference without decapping them. Something like a microcontroller is much harder to clone without the customer noticing.
2: avoid manufacturing in a country where faking things and substituting parts from non-approved sources are culturally accepted.
3: if you are big enough to justify it put in place a program of destructive testing of samples of incoming material. Especially if supply problems push you into buying from non-approved sources.
4: don't buy from non-approved sources just to save a few bucks.

Of course all these defenses will cost you money which is why many device builders don't do them.

Comment: Re:Bull (Score 1) 54

by hairyfeet (#48222435) Attached to: Microsoft Exec Opens Up About Research Lab Closure, Layoffs

Or maybe he is just accepting reality, which is unless there is some major breakthrough we're pretty much finished innovating? The cost to get below 20nm has been calculated to be non-profitable for pretty much everybody, sure Intel is doing it but they are also shutting fabs because chips have been insanely overpowered for several years now and ARM? ARM don't scale, once you go past a certain MHz it shits all over its power budget which is why we are now up to octocore on the ARM side.

The simple fact is that all the really good uses for tech have been done, which is why Apple is grasping at straws with the iWatch. Computers, be it desktop or mobile, are gonna end up like washing machines, things you don't replace until they break. You can stuff 'em in tables and walls and watches all day long but unless we come up with either some super new battery tech or some new material that doesn't have electron leakage? We are pretty much as high as we are gonna go. Hell even gaming can't punish the systems like it used to, a C2Q from half a decade ago can easily play damned near every game out there, there just isn't anyway to go higher without blowing LOTR money on the game.

Comment: Re:Already everywhere in France (Score 1) 633

by Kjella (#48221789) Attached to: Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

I went to a McDonalds in paris, france 9 years ago so old school ordering. It was a TOTAL MESS. Busy and NO ONE formed lines like in the USA. It was completely disorganized. I was like wow in the US we have a distinct 1 line per register and people are always cautious asking "are you in line?".

That's because you don't want to get between a land whale and his supersized Big Mac with extra cheese and bacon, double onion rings and bucket of Coke.

(1) Never draw what you can copy. (2) Never copy what you can trace. (3) Never trace what you can cut out and paste down.