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Comment Re:Graphics cards (Score 1) 160

Companies are not looking to maximize price. They are looking to maximize the area of the rectangle defined by Price times Volume. If they think the area of that rectangle will be larger at a smaller price, then they would sell at that smaller price.
Now imagine that your company has correctly identified that pricing sweetspot, but some of your product is partially defective, though still useful. You cannot sell it at that same ideal price as the fully-featured product. So, you necessarily sell it at some discount.

Comment Re:I'd be pissed (Score 1) 120

I'm going to hope that was a joke. I don't have the heart to explain all of economics tonight.

Dude, I get it. This and other Kickstarters aren't typical venture-capital investments. In fact, I think that is by design; I think that in the U.S., there are regulatory issues with crowd-funding venture capital, and so Kickstarter is intentionally structured this way.
I see below where you replied to an AC with:

But buying an item at a discount isn't an investment. It's like coming home from the mall with 20 shirts you didn't intend to buy and saying "but I saved money, they were on sale!"

That is not what happened in the case of Pebble. What happened is: I ponied up $110 in a "pledge" (read: angel investment,) for what amounted to a 0.001% stake. Then, prior to the first VC round, the future value of my equity was discounted back to present value, and paid to me in the currency of a Pebble watch, currently valued at $150.

Yes, I am saying the above somewhat tongue-in-cheek. But my primary point is: the only reason it is done this way is to work around regulatory issues.

Comment Re:kickstarter: (Score 1) 120

Kickstarters are not angel investors. Usually-- and this was the case with Pebble-- Kickstarters are prepaying for the device, and those prepayments fund development and initial manufacturing. And, the amount raised through Kickstarter was $10M, not $15M. (The latter is the figure that the VC is adding.)
Yes, I was a Kickstarter backer for Pebble. And, I received mine, at the stated discount. So I got my expected ROI.

Comment Re:I'd be pissed (Score 2) 120

Kickstarters are not angel investors. Usually-- and this was the case with Pebble-- Kickstarters are prepaying for the device, and those prepayments fund development and initial manufacturing.
Yes, I was a Kickstarter backer for Pebble. And, I received mine, at the stated discount. So I got my expected ROI.
Earth

Electronics-Loving 'Crazy Ants' Invading Southern US 250

From an article at the Houston Chronicle (not The Onion) comes a report of concern to anyone in a warm climate with, well, electronics. From the article: "According to researchers at The University of Texas at Austin, invasive 'crazy ants' are slowly displacing fire ants in the southeastern United States. These 'Tawny Crazy Ants' have a peculiar predilection toward electronics as well. 'They nest in electronics and create short circuits, as they create a contact bridge between two points when they get electrocuted they release an alarm pheromone,' says UT research assistant Edward LeBrun. 'The other ants are attracted to the chemicals that other ants give off,' he adds. At this point, more ants arrive and create a larger nest." The L.A. Times also has a report, which says "Thus far, the crazy ants are not falling for the traditional poisons used to eliminate fire ant mounds. And when local mounds are destroyed manually, they are quickly regenerated. 'They don't sting like fire ants do, but aside from that they are much bigger pests,' LeBrun said. 'There are videos on YouTube of people sweeping out dustpans full of these ants from their bathroom. You have to call pest control operators every three or four months just to keep the infestation under control. It's very expensive.'"
Data Storage

WD Explains Its Windows-Only Software-Based SSHD Tech 286

crookedvulture writes "Seagate and Toshiba both offer hybrid hard drives that manage their built-in flash caches entirely in firmware. WD has taken a different approach with its Black SSHD, which instead uses driver software to govern its NAND cache. The driver works with the operating system to determine what to store in the flash. Unfortunately, it's Windows-only. You can choose between two drivers, though. WD has developed one of its own, and Intel will offer a separate driver attached to its upcoming Haswell platform. While WD remains tight-lipped on the speed of the Black's mechanical portion, it's confirmed that the flash is provided by a customized SanDisk iSSD embedded on the drive. The iSSD and mechanical drive connect to each other and to the host system through a Serial ATA bridge chip, making the SSHD look more like a highly integrated dual-drive solution than a single, standalone device. With Intel supporting this approach, the next generation of hybrid drives appears destined to be software-based."

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