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Comment: AIG is down with OPP (Score 1) 354

by w1nt3rmute (#42520463) Attached to: AIG Contemplates Joining Stockholder Suit Against US Gov't
Private equity bailouts of struggling companies about to go insolvent are much worse. As others have already stated, it's going to be pretty hard to convince a jury that "taken for public use" is what actually happened with AIG... more like an arms-length exchange between two willing (and one very motivated) counterparties.

Comment: More questionable management team judgement (Score 2) 190

by w1nt3rmute (#42212229) Attached to: SEC Investigates Netflix CEO Reed Hastings Over Facebook Posting
This relates to Regulation FD (for "Full Disclosure"). Basically, you can't release information that could be material to investors (i.e. potentially affect their decision to buy/hold/sell your stock) without making it available to all investors. This rule was written because, in the past, companies would have informal conversations with institutional investors and analysts and give them information that would better inform their investing decisions before that information was "publically" released. Any corporate attorney worth their salt would advise the CEO to release this type of information in a Form 8K (an "informational" filing with the SEC) at the same time a statement like this was made. It clearly speaks to demand and, indirectly, sales revenues for the current and future quarters. Most analysis and investors are interested in that type of metric. If the CEO intended this to be a public release, it was pretty bad judgement to do it via Facebook or a blog. Just another WTF? decision from the Netflix management team...

Comment: Not about customers from the beginning (Score 1) 253

by w1nt3rmute (#37663898) Attached to: Netflix Kills Qwikster
This whole thing is some investment bank's brainchild that Netflix swallowed hook, line, and s[t]inker. In early 2011, it was "Hey guys, we can split up your sleepy, high-margin, but declining revenue base DVD business from your sexy, higher cost, but explosively growing streaming business so you can monitize them both more efficiently in the capital markets (and make a ton of money on the options you get converted into on the new business)." In late 2011 it's now "Sorry guys, the major indices are off 15%+ and the multiples have shrunk considerably. We should scrap this idea. The bright side is that your customers didn't really want it, anyway." Spin, baby, spin.

Comment: Not really a $535MM subsidy loss (Score 5, Informative) 694

by w1nt3rmute (#37278658) Attached to: Solar Company Folds After $0.5B In Subsidies
Just so everyone is clear, the article says that the Feds backstopped $535MM of the company's borrowings, which isn't the same as giving $535MM in subsidies. In BK, the company's assets will be liquidated to pay off creditors, with the Feds only covering the shortfall (because it's just a guarantee)... and it sounds like the company has a salable facility and marginal patent/IP rights. I'm not saying there won't be a sizable loss, but I don't think "US LOSES $535MM ON GREEN ENERGY SUBSIDIES" is fair to say either.

Comment: Hacker call-to-arms (Score 3, Interesting) 185

by w1nt3rmute (#36998296) Attached to: China's 5-Year Cyberwar Met With Western Silence
It sounds to me like this is an opportunity for US hackers to give the Fox News Twitter account a rest and do something for their country... I don't know about the rest of you, but at least 2/3'rds of the hack attempts we see on our servers come from IPs originating in China. It's like every restaurant has a box in the kitchen scanning for exploits. Maybe it's state-sponsored and maybe it's not, but China is a haven for hackers that seem to focus specifically on theft of classified technological and military information and intellectual property. This is a fact and it's been common knowledge long before this particular news story broke. It's also common knowledge that China influences economic and foreign policy in this country. It's been that way going back 20+ years to the days of Most-Favored Nation (MFN) status and it's worse now that China is the #1 investor in US Treasuries. I suspect that makes it pretty hard for the US Government to mount any kind of meaningful retaliation against the Chinese. But clandestine hacking groups are under no such restrictions. Maybe US-based members of hacking groups such as Anonymous and others should stop slipping porn vids onto YouTube and DDoS'ing Australia for a few months and focus on tracking and sabotaging hackers in China in retaliation. Kind of like a modern-day cyber militia defending the virtual homestead. Call it Project AybabtUS.

Comment: I think his comment on nuclear is beside the point (Score 2) 474

by w1nt3rmute (#36683846) Attached to: Bill Gates On Energy
The part of his comment that I think is most significant is his comment on energy strategy, at least in the US. Our long-term strategic energy policy makes no sense; government subsidies are going to the wrong technologies and partisan politics inhibit any real solutions. You may disagree on which tech is the right one - but everyone should agree with Gates that we have no viable current plans for the long-term energy needs of this country.

Comment: The first year of college is about having fun imo (Score 1) 913

by w1nt3rmute (#36568730) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: CS Degree Without Gen-Ed Requirements?
Don't be such a nerd. General Ed classes enable Freshmen to party and still coast through the first year with good grades. Besides, you need some English Lit and critical thinking skills so you can communicate with your wife down the road. Enjoy these years a little, there will be plenty of time for ambition later...

Comment: Yeah but (Score 1) 456

by w1nt3rmute (#36148832) Attached to: The Cost of US Security
Yeah but before you get all crazy about spending $3 trillion on Osama without any real reward, consider the cost-benefit of the credit crisis. It could possibly double the Osama number... how did most of you (and me) benefit from that cost? It may not have been a public policy decision, but it sure was a private-sector risk management decision made by all of the top US financial services companies. I sure didn't sell my house before the credit markets tanked, anticipating that - of the banks who were underwriting the bonds that were financing my mortgage - more than half would fail. But the financial structuring guys and the Wall Street traders all got paid (record years and record bonuses after the crisis happened). Public funds bailed them out afterwards, which is even worse, and now savings yields are nearly 0%. How is this really that much different? I may even feel better about spending $3 trillion on Osama... at least I got some satisfaction out of that event.

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen