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Comment Re:someone's gotta start the show (Score 2) 175

The whole point of start ups is that they cost very little to try. Any bonehead with a few thousand bucks, a commodity education, and a couch near a microwave and at least 15 amps of power can create a start up. Since 90% of publicly announced start ups fail, you can be sure that plenty of boneheads have gone this route successfully.

But even that 90% figure hides plenty. I have run a number of "technology previews" in order to try ideas out that were never announced. For example, I recently wrote a web service that linked with the youtube and a smart phone to automatically link training videos in context to written curricula. This allows me to enter content online and link to videos generated in real time without any necessary editing, linking, or cross-indexing. I'm pretty sure I could turn this into some sort of crowd-sourced open training thingie, but I never worked up a business plan.

Does that count as a start up? I know it has never been announced as such, and it probably should count as a failure because it never went anywhere... so what's the real number? 99% failure? 99.999% failure?

Who cares? In this random morass of ideological soup and one-off ideas emerges the occasional hit. And the one hit in 10/100/1000 really doesn't need to be that large in order to offset all the failures.

As a start up kind of guy myself, I did about a half dozen start up ideas, to various stages of completion, one of which was *barely* profitable before I found one that got bite in the marketplace. It took just two years of struggling before my winner emerged. Now, I'm a partner in a small, obscure, B2B software company about the size of Reddit - 25 staff built up over 10 years, and a very comfortable living.

I'm no Billionaire, and I have no dream of changing the world forever, just making life a little better for our hundreds of clients.

Original Author's article was annoying: the type of vaguely critical article written by somebody who rates himself based on the number of obscure words chosen from the thesaurus to describe "omg they are so lame".

Comment Re:Everybody that is surprised is stupid... (Score 1) 182

Our contract at data center that we host at has significant penalties for downtime. In about 6 years of hosting there, we've had exactly 2 incidents of less than 1 hour each.

Of course, the deluge of notifications we get every time a fly causes a ballast to fail in the 3rd light down the main hallway, or when our network usage at 95% exceeds the monthly average by 0.05% get a bit annoying, but I have no complaints of the quality of service.

Comment Re:Babs, look what you did again (Score 3, Insightful) 432

Businesses aren't some unified group, they're just people like you and I trying to make it in a world that is often unfriendly. It's a small percentage of true douches (looking long and hard at you, Goldman Sachs) that give the name "businessman" a bad name.

Often, the schleps running such a business have no clue about things like the Streisand effect. Come to think of it, why don't you become a businessman and set the record straight? Surely, you could beat out this moron...

Comment Fuel economy (Score 1) 325

* If a driving algorithm is a little more accident-prone than the average human driver at a given speed, that deficiency could be rectified by forcing it to observe lower speed limits.
* On the other hand a driving algorithm that proves to be two orders of magnitude less accident-prone than the average human driver at a given speed, should be granted higher speed limits. (Not so much higher as to erase all or most of its safety advantage. But higher.)

Why would you assume faster is better? If the car drives itself, it has no need for a driver. Thus, it could be completely unattended, and take advantage of the fact that optimal fuel economy tends to occur at about 35-55 MPH, where wind resistance is too low to be problematic.

Thanks to exponential nature of inertia, doubling speed generally causes four times the wind resistance. It doesn't take long for that ratio to get stupid, and that's why we don't have planes that fly 5,000 MPH.

In general aviation, it's commonly understood that a more powerful engine will help you climb faster, but typically doesn't speed the plane up much except at the extreme lower end of the power/weight curve - that's mostly a function of wind resistance.

Comment Re:Ridonculous (Score 1) 303

Throw another $50 / $130 on top of Netflix's monthly fee, and it doesn't turn out to be a very good deal at all...

Are you kidding? I was paying that much per month for Cable...

Besides, I already have my Linux box connected to my TV, handling all my TV/DVR, DVD/BluRay, Hulu, gaming, and other functions. Telling me I have to have a separate box just for Netflix just tells me I shouldn't get Netflix.

I'm hard pressed to find a device *other than* your Linux box that doesn't do Netflix! In my large-family household, we have: My phone, Wife's phone, Son's phone, 3 Daughters' phones, my still-working, wifi-only old phone, my 7" tablet, Son's Xbox, PS3, Wif'e's iPad, and several laptops and desktops up to 3 or 4 generations old.

I love Linux. I use it for work, at which it does fantastic. Reliable, cheap, powerful; it's a programmer's paradise! But when I play, I use toys like Windows to watch videos and play GTA.

Comment Re:no shit (Score 2) 304

I use TPB only rarely, I used to use it much more. It's been said before that Hulu/Netflix are highly effective at combating piracy, and for me at least, it's very true!

I'm a cord cutter; haven't had cable service in years, even though a few years ago we had the Dish DVR with all the fixin's for $125/month or so. When we moved, I didn't buy cable right away but I did buy Internet right away, and by the time (a few months later) things were settled enough that we could talk about Cable, we'd already latched onto Hulu/Netflix and we've never looked back.

I have other places I could use $1500/year, such as the $96 I give to Netflix, or the $20/year I give to MagicJack for home phone service.

I'd happily pay $8/month to not have to futz with finding torrent files with decent seeds and weed through all the terrible ads and porn spam. Managing torrents is just a hassle.

With Netflix, I pick the show I want, and watch it RIGHT NOW on whatever device I want. (phone / tablet / computer / tv / xbox / PS3 / whatever) I don't mind $2/week at all.

Comment Re:good news for NSA (Score 1) 157

We have no reason to believe that, despite the resources of the NSA, that they are significantly ahead of the public face of encryption technologies. In fact, it has been noted numerous times that cryptographers working for the NSA aren't paid nearly as well as the private sector positions;

It's reasonable, then, to assume, that the NSA doesn't have any magic secrets other than gag orders alleged by affected parties.

Comment Re:Competition, not regulation (Score 4, Insightful) 637

The USA health care system has some of the worst possible perverse economic disincentives. At literally no point is there a clear economic incentive for you to be healthy and taken care of.

1) Consumers have no interest in keeping costs down. They pay the same deductible no matter what happens. Unfortunately, this is only up to a point (see #4 below) but that's not going to enter casual consideration.

2) Hospitals have no interest in keeping costs down. They blatantly inflate their costs knowing that the insurance companies will only pay a fraction anyway. They also have no incentive to keep supplies costs down since they are paid "cost +" by insurance companies. They'll tend to buy whatever sponge or soap dispenser is in "the catalog".

3) Providers of supplies to hospitals have no interest in keeping their costs down. Hospitals get paid on a "cost +" basis by the insurance companies so charging $35 for that "medical grade" sponge that cost them $0.35 wholesale has 99% profit margins as its incentive.

4) Insurance companies have some incentive to keep costs down, which they generally do by axing their most expensive customers with any of the myriad of technicalities written into their eye-gouging 10 page contracts full of inverted double negatives and exceptions. A good example is somebody with a job who gets cancer. Sure, he/she may have excellent health insurance, but what about when he/she loses his/her job because they didn't show for four months while undergoing chemo therapy? Even so, the myriad of regulations in place (and a legal department that ensures that one plan can't be compared to another) provides an opaque enough service offering that customers are unable to distinguish which plan is actually "cheaper".

5) Doctors had to just about kill their mother to get through medical school, and are saddled with enough debt to make anybody contract stress-related symptoms. Since they get paid for the work they actually perform, they have every incentive to declare a medical emergency and take you under the knife, regardless of whether or not it's necessary or even beneficial. I'm not saying every doctor will give you heart surgery when you come in with a rash, but I'm not alleging something that doesn't happen. Citation 2.

The majority of bankruptcies in the United States are for medical reasons, and the majority of *those* are by people who had health insurance at the time they got sick. Anybody who says this ridiculous would-be-laughable-if-it-wasn't-true system is lying or misinformed.

Comment Re:How can an OS have such a fundamental problem? (Score 1) 137

I'd think that an Android device has a number of excellent sources of randomness: Wifi signal, cell signal, accellerometer inputs, and light sensor light levels in conjunction with the usual *nix generators based on system load variables (memory/cpu/io) should mean that mobile devices should have *excellent* randomness.

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Everything that can be invented has been invented. -- Charles Duell, Director of U.S. Patent Office, 1899