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Comment Re:It Is Rated R! #6 for Opening Weekend! (Score 3, Insightful) 448

But I'm also glad that I didn't have a stake in it - It had to be an unsettling investment for those who did. It's got to feel good to have participated, but it was obviously a gamble from the beginning. Watchmen is definitely aimed at a niche market.

On the contrary, it was probably a pretty predictable quantity compared to other movies. Not that any new release is predictable, but this one wasn't anything like 300 or Sin City where they were hoping to pull in people who knew nothing about the source material, or like Persepolis where it was unknown whether the enthusiasm for the books would last through the release of the movie (and where there was probably a lot of doubt that fans of the books would even bother to see the movie.) It was a so-so movie based on a popular and prestigious graphic novel. They knew the size of the niche. They knew that the readership of the graphic novel would contain more movie fans than the general population, and, having test-screened the movie, they knew it wouldn't break out to a broader audience or inspire massive rewatching.

Assuming that the broadcast and rental rights were sold before the film screened, the DVD sales are probably the riskiest part -- how many people want to see it again? Will fans of the graphic novel want to buy a movie that failed to do the source material justice (inevitably and maybe blamelessly, but still)?

Comment Re:It's a Zen thing (Score 1) 508

That's the perfect state for when there's a clear path ahead. The conscious mind has a role in creative problem-solving, but sometimes it doesn't know when to get out of the way and let your instincts handle the trivial problems in the marvellously efficient way they have.

Comment Re:My happy coding place? (Score 1) 508

You can churn out quite a bit of good code but one error and your night is gone.

Funny, this was my experience with alcohol also. It was wonderfully disinhibiting, and I wrote a lot of pretty decent code without obsessing over fine points of style like I normally would. However, after three or four I was absolutely helpless at fixing anything I had screwed up except minor typos. I couldn't even get my C++ code to compile unless the compiler reported an error at exactly the right line number, because I literally could not read the template error messages from g++ (and believe it or not, I normally can.) Eventually I figured out just to give up and go to bed (or keep coding without compiling) at the first sign of trouble. And eventually I realized drinking and coding late into the night was not the right way to deal with that crappy job, and eventually I quit and got a new one.

Comment Re:VCs don't pose any systemic risk (Score 1) 445

I think the idea is to regulate places where the fraudsters, bluffers, and snake-oil salesman might resurface when their old haunting grounds are regulated. The current size of a sector doesn't rule it out. Venture capital seems pretty simple (invest in a company, make money if it succeeds) but mortgage lending is pretty simple, too (lend to a homebuyer, make money if he pays you back). If mortgage lending can be complexified until blatant frauds and wishful thinking can hide behind the sophistication, then perhaps venture capital could be turned into the next hot source of unlimited, guaranteed, completely illusory returns. And it would have plenty of political protection: it could cloak itself in the American dream of entrepreneurship like mortgage-backed abominations cloaked themselves in the American dream of home ownership.

That's not to say I think VCs should be regulated like hedge funds; in fact, I don't. I just wanted to explain why someone in DC, looking back at the mortgage mess and trying to imagine where the fatal combination of complexity, wishful thinking and fraud will come from, might think it's a good idea to regulate venture capitalists.

Comment Re:Same behavior in humans too (Score 1) 313

Marriage? How about dating? Sometimes you buy her dinner, sometimes you get laid. If one stops happening, the other stops too.

This quote really cracks me up, though:

He told BBC News that the direct link between success in hunting and reproduction highlighted by this study could "help in our thinking about humans".

If he had never previously recognized these patterns in humans, it's a safe bet he hasn't been putting them into practice. The poor guy must be really devoted to his research. Or his chimps.

Comment Re:forget it (Score 1) 655

Yeah, people are quick to push back when the customer asks for something impossible or boring, but not when the customer requests something that is so FUN to geek out about. The fans will go first! Virtualization is the answer! SSDs, so much to argue about there! All so true, all so premature. It's true that the question says, "How do I provide a workstation that lasts 15 years?" but from a customer's point of view, a "workstation" is a working system they can use. You don't use hardware without software, so you can't talk about a workstation lasting 15 years until you know what kind of software you'll be running in 15 years. His father is NOT just asking for hardware that will last that long, or if he is, his question is based on incorrect assumptions that his son needs to discuss with him.

Comment Re:hmm 2nd stupid question of the minute (Score 1) 655

how old is your father, will he actually be working in 15 years, i suspect he be in bognor regis by then

His father owns a share of the practice, or maybe the entire practice, and will sell his share to another veterinarian when he retires. Even if he has no sentimental attachment, he has an interesting in ensuring the future of the practice so he can get a good price for his share.

Comment Re:Your father might be in for a shock (Score 1) 655

You think modern hospitals are behind the times lacking electronic medical records and requiring warehouses full of paperwork, you'd be amazed at the antiquated systems used in vet offices.

Veterinary software will be way ahead of medical software when it comes to online access, because vets don't have to worry about medical privacy regulations. A web presence for a veterinary practice just has to be a nice secure site. Soon enough a company that develops veterinary billing and management software will hire a summer intern to add a simple customer-facing web interface, and from there it will be simple to add interfaces for more and more functionality until the entire thing is web-based and can be hosted off-site. Frankly, if I was developing veterinary office software, I would be doing that right now, just so I could offer a cheaper and easier solution. (No need to do backups, no stress or hassle when PCs fail, cheaper training for new hires who have never seen any program other than a web browser, etc.) Sounds like a perfect product for cheapskates.

Comment Re:Your father might be in for a shock (Score 1) 655

I'm sure he will be pleased to learn that by replacing all of his software, migrating all his client data from a legacy system to a radically different web application, and retraining all his staff, he can avoid spending a couple hundred bucks on new hardware.

No, this guy would not be thinking about such small change if he knew what was coming. Unless somebody develops specific migration support from the old DOS (!) software he's using to a modern application with web support, software upgrades and migration will cost him tens of thousands of dollars of his own time and his employees' time, plus thousands in software and support.

Comment Re:Better solution? Don't be afraid of upgrading. (Score 1) 655

I bet the fear comes from the software side, not the hardware side. How easy is it to install the software? Does he know where the install disk for each piece of software are and whether they still work? How hard was it to get the software configured correctly in the first place? Can the configuration be migrated, or will they have to recreate it using trial and error? Does the database make it easy to migrate data from one database to another, or does that require a proprietary tool from a now-defunct company?

Heh, what are the odds that someone who hasn't experienced a failure in fifteen years even thinks about these issues? Or bothers to back up his data?

Comment Your father might be in for a shock (Score 5, Interesting) 655

Your father might be in for a shock if he thinks he can keep running the same computer system for the next fifteen years. Almost all veterinary clinics have a web presence these days (if only contact info, a map, and some cute photos) so it's a cinch that in five years the bar will be raised to include real online functionality. Make an appointment, see when your dog is due for shots, see how much Poo-Poo weighed at his last checkup -- sounds nice, right? His current customers won't care if he falls behind, but without a steady stream of new customers, his practice will dwindle.

That means he needs to plan on new software. Software upgrades are much more painful and expensive than hardware upgrades, and new small business software has a way of running poorly on five-year-old machines. The next fifteen years will bring painful changes for his clinic's computer systems, much worse than simple hardware upgrades, and he is the one who will have to understand and deal with it. Of course, he might soon have the option of having his data and applications hosted elsewhere, so he might be able to keep the same hardware for the next fifteen years after all, but I don't think that scenario satisfies his current expectations.

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