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Comment: writers write, right (Score 2) 522

When asked for advice on "how to become a writer" - most professional writers will come back with some form of "write something, then write something else, then write some more." A big part of the writing process is figuring out when, where, and how you are able to write. i.e. The tools you use to write shouldn't get in the way of your writing (the second most popular tip is "when you aren't writing - read")

if Mark Zuckerberg were to come out and say that he is using a Commodore 64 or TRS-80 to work on Facebook - that would be unusual...

Mr. Martin's writing process has the benefit of being almost 100% secure (maybe Quentin Tarantino needs a downgrade)

Comment: Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. (Score 1) 303

by mbaGeek (#46879753) Attached to: SEC Chair On HFT: 'The Markets Are Not Rigged'

I'm half way through "Flash Boys" (well written, entertaining). It is interesting the impact that technology has had on the stock market, but this isn't anything new (which is one of the points of "Flash Boys").

one for putting things in perspective: "Where are the Customers’ Yachts?" by Fred Schwed, Jr. (first edition 1940).

and under "they are trying to change the world": IEX Group

Comment: Grow effective leading-edge infrastructures (Score 2) 119

didn't I just read somewhere about Google doing something with this enterprise cloud thing?

the answer to the question is "it depends" - my gut says "no" but as others have pointed out, if you want to know if something will be a cost effective solution, you need to test

the game changing benefit of the "cloud" is the ability to scale up/down as needed ... SO from a financial viewpoint the question is similar to "Should we buy a building or rent office space?"

BTW my headline is from a Dilbert gobbledygook generator - which I'm 90% sure that 100% of CTO's use an undefined % of the time

Comment: "We have met the enemy and they are us" (Score 3, Informative) 490

by mbaGeek (#46587061) Attached to: Are DVDs Inconvenient On Purpose?

As a long time Netflix subscriber (maybe 10 years - going back to when it was 3 DVDs at a time for $14.99 and no streaming option) - I'd say the answer to the headline is "no."

Reed Hastings claims that high-speed internet streaming was always his plan for Netflix - they just had to wait for the technology to catch up. While they were waiting, Netflix had to fight off competition from Wal-Mart (Netflix bought them out) and Blockbuster (who probably wish Netflix had bought them out) in the "DVD by mail" space. When they first rolled out the "streaming" option, the movies available for streaming were not good (but streaming was a free add on - so it didn't really matter).

When streaming became a viable option, the big problem Netflix ran into was Netflix ("We have met the enemy and they are us"). They tried to raise the monthly fee and people bolted for the door (800,000 members quickly gone). Netflix said "oops!" and decided to split into two services (Anybody remember "Quickster?"), which people also hated - so we got something like the current price structure.

So, no DVDs are not inconvenient on purpose, and won't go away anytime soon. Netflix arrived at its pricing structure by responding to market forces. Streaming content is the future (and the future is now!) - which means licensing agreements with content creators/providers will surpass "hard copy" sales (if they haven't already).

...and if you are colecting marketing data for Netflix: I'm a streaming only customer. I "rent"/stream a lot of just released movies from Amazon.com (had a problem with the 30 day wait time for DVD new releases from Netflix - but if I could get new movies the week they are released on DVD I'd go back) ...

Comment: the real problem is shovels ... (Score 1) 754

by mbaGeek (#45073337) Attached to: Digital Revolution Will Kill Jobs, Inflame Social Unrest, Says Gartner
an anecdote from the WSJ

'At one of our dinners, Milton recalled traveling to an Asian country in the 1960s and visiting a worksite where a new canal was being built. He was shocked to see that, instead of modern tractors and earth movers, the workers had shovels. He asked why there were so few machines. The government bureaucrat explained: “You don’t understand. This is a jobs program.” To which Milton replied: “Oh, I thought you were trying to build a canal. If it’s jobs you want, then you should give these workers spoons, not shovels.”

yes - "innovation" will destroy jobs (file that observation under creative destruction) but that will also result in new (as yet unknown) opportunities...

Comment: Re:won't happen (Score 1) 617

by mbaGeek (#44852333) Attached to: How Amateurs Destroyed the Professional Music Business

There has always been "fan fiction" - most of it just never saw the light of day. The huge impact that the web has had is on publishing not production. The cost of publishing/distribution has become trivial. Now it is possible to publish/distribute "fan fiction" for next to nothing - rather than having a 500 page typewritten document in a box that they try to get their friends to read.

Distribution was a big benefit that a musician or author received from signing a contract with a "big" company. Again, if we went back to the first half of the 20th century you would find "big music companies" buying the rights to "regional hits" from independent/smaller campanies. The "big company" had the resources to publish on a large scale that the smaller companies lacked. Now individuals have the ability to get there work in front of a large audience without a "big company" (this applies to music, fiction, non-fiction, software, anything creative)

BTW I can appreciate the amount of effort that goes into producing any creative work. Just because it isn't any good doesn't mean it didn't take a lot of work to produce it. With that said - watch JJ Abrams' TED talk if you want motivation to "create"

Comment: won't happen (Score 1) 617

by mbaGeek (#44851515) Attached to: How Amateurs Destroyed the Professional Music Business

Yes, this is a bad time for the (what we think of as "traditional") music business, but just because the tools are "available" doesn't mean that there will be a huge increase in output. e.g. people have had the tools to write for years (pencils, paper, typewriters, word processors) - but professional authors and publishers aren't going away ...

even if you are a hack writer- it still takes "work"to produce a non-trivial product. That "work" part is my argument for why the scenario described won't happen ...

I'll even argue that the biggest change to happen to the music industry was the microphone and/or radio back in the first half of the 20th century not inexpensive computers and the internet. Back then "music companies" made money selling sheet music - which people would purchase to play at home. (I recommend this fantastic Coursera class to anyone interested in the history of modern music business) ...

I agree that the music industry is changing - but "convenience wins every time" is a spurious argument. Most of the "professional" musicians I've heard talk about "how they got into the music business" describe it as something they just had to do. They didn't just wake up one morning and say "I think I'll be a musician" - they followed their passion, put in the work, and eventually made it. That isn't going to change - "passion will beat convenience" no matter what technology comes along ...

Comment: Re:Q&A (Score 1) 355

"boring and annoying" sums up Atlas Shrugged very well

I like to point out that it was published in 1957 - so some stuff we take for granted in 2013 was cutting edge at the time. Parts of it aren't bad (Ayn Rand did live through the Bolshevik/Russian revolution - and saw first hand the economic results of central planning and collectivism), parts are terrible (basically the other half of the book not dealing with economics).

I don't think Rand would accept the "libertarian" designation - she was selling "objectivism" which comes across as something Karl Marx intended (a perfect society based on reason).

Meanwhile "libertarian" thought is nicely summed up by The Cato institute's web site: "Promoting an American public policy based on individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peaceful international relations"

Comment: Re:Q&A (Score 1) 355

I agree with most of what you are saying - with a few comments:

The actual libertarian reply would revolve around "free markets" and "limited government" not the either/or fallacy of "government" or "no government." Libertarians are in favor of individual choice and not an artificial choice between "government"/"anarchy"

government has a place, but "more government" isn't always the answer (e.g. Detroit, Michigan)

We agree that if your service provider is doing a terrible job - you should have the ability to choose another provider. I'm even willing to consider "utility" status for internet access but don't pretend like it will magically materialize out of the ether with no cost and unlimited speed/usage.

to paraphrase Homer Simpson, "Government the cause of and solution to all of our problems."

Comment: generic advice and two words: "security clearance" (Score 1) 207

As a rule the only "career advice" I ever give is "Know thyself"

with that said - I've heard a lot of business owners say they like to "hire for attitude and train for skills." Military service is going to be a plus for most companies BUT What employers really care about is that you will help their company succeed - the parts to emphasize from your military service are that you will show up, work hard, and have a good attitude (but I wouldn't say "I've learned to embrace the suck." if they ask you what you learned from serving in the military ... )

from the purely practical side: you will get extra "points" if you want to work for the federal government; having an active security clearance is required for a lot (most) defense contractor type jobs.

You have an opportunity to chase your "dream job" - so figure out your ideal job (be specific). In the next year you should get good contact information for people who will say nice things about you and make sure they know you are going to use them as a reference. Let EVERYBODY know what type of job you are looking for and where you want to live - you might be surprised by someone who has a relative/friend looking to hire someone in your field, you might want to have someone help you with a résumé (at the least get a book) ...

... and "follow your bliss" (but first Gnothi seauton)

Comment: obligatory I.T. Crowd Reference (Score 1) 334

by mbaGeek (#44125583) Attached to: Are Booth Babes Going Away? (Video)

my first thought was of Jen in the I.T. crowd getting the task of "entertaining" the visiting executives ...

Second thought is that "good marketing" is also a great way to quickly kill a bad product - if your product doesn't "perform" (choose a metric any metric) then "good marketing" will have the unintended consequence of letting a lot of people find out that your product is worthless. These people will "get the word out" and ipso facto - yadda yadda yadda - good bye product/company

example: the whole dot com boom and bust

of course large amounts of money have been made by "good marketing" and mediocre/"good enough" products - (depending on your preference) Microsoft and/or Apple are great examples

as far as "booth babes" go - my guess is that this is a cyclical phenomenon (they aren't going to go away - because they generate "booth visits" - which is the point of going to an expo). It is possible that the whole convention/expo thing is becoming obsolete but that is another subject...

Possessions increase to fill the space available for their storage. -- Ryan

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