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Comment Don't have to throw out your old MB/CPU you know (Score 2) 143

The DRM issue is easily worked around: all you need is one un-DRMed version out in the wild. In fact, Sandy Bridge is facilitating non-DRMed video anywhere. Their Quick Sync technology allows you to take your base video and transcode for all your devices very quickly with high quality. I plan to grab blu-rays and transcode to the kids iPad much more often now. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odyl6952aRg

Comment Re:Job security (Score 3, Insightful) 337

I gather you're not in Silicon Valley? My small startup is having a really hard time the last 6 months competing against Facebook, Google, Zynga, Apple in hiring quality developers, even just out of college. Thanks to goldman sachs, we've also got 2000 people about to move into the real estate market with $10 million in fungible stock options as well.

Comment Yes, coincidence, and much worse than spam (Score 2, Insightful) 306

Targeted zero day attacks to steal source code are worth 1000x more than an account to send spam on. Root at google? This is actually a big deal, above the realm of small bot shops, this is superpowers in a cyber arms race. Very strong implications on the security of cloud computing as the provisioning company can be the vector of attacks to any company it hosts.

Comment Gardening can be a thought job (Score 2, Interesting) 547

I'm biased because it's a hobby of mine, but yes, I could see doing that if the break allows for thinking about drought resistant perennials, planning so that the garden has some interesting blooms each month, and thinking about how to get rid of some bugs that other gardeners are succumbing to. Then again, gardening is a pretty good activity to think while working. As an aside, and it may be observation bias, but I do know quite a few long time programmers who do get into gardening for the mental challenges (we had some folks at the Tech Shop/Maker Fair working on wireless soil sensor equipment).

Comment Mod Parent up (Score 2, Insightful) 190

I do work on optimization of large datasets, such as mapping all streets ala street view. KML files are a wonderful standardization, but they can be huge. In fact, a lot of geographic data is voluminous. There still is a niche for actual client apps that are not running JSON for speed reasons when crunching large datasets.

Comment Re:Let me take a pro-expensive wine position (Score 1) 336

Diminishing returns are a good metric for return on investment, but there's something unique about the best you've ever achieved. I guess a good analogy is (the obvious one, of course) women. Some people would never make the calculus that it's worth it to spend 5x as much effort chasing a 10 as an 8 (relative to one's rating system).

Comment Let me take a pro-expensive wine position (Score 5, Insightful) 336

It's always more interesting when there are multiple viewpoints on an issue, and I'm happy to take the contrary one. I've tasted 2 buck Chuck (quite good), and tasted $100-$1000 dollar bottles. There is actually a difference that's discernable by I'd guess at least 40% of wine drinkers, and while I'm open to the idea that we can replicate some of the properties of the top wines cheaply, and that certain top wines are counterfeited, I still posit that the top, expensive wines are an experience that are worth paying for, at least once or twice in one's life. To test, I'd recommend splitting among a few friends an Opus One from Costco for around $100, which can be 40% of the retail price. It's consistently a top wine and will enlighten you if you're in that sad, obsessive, minority of folks who care enough to spend crazy money on good wines :)

Comment Re:Other reform options (Score 1) 2044

I've dealt with the cash side of the American system since I'm in a startup at Stanford and we can't get insurance until we draw salary. We've had a few folks in recruitment turn us down because they need coverage. Advantage large corporation. There are very few unaffiliated care centers in the Bay Area, and most have prenegotiated fee structures that jack up the price for cash customers, since they are the minority here. We've tried to negotiate, but for large scale health situations (like surgery) you will not have any chance to ask for the anesthesiologists rates (both time and materials), the use of hospital facilities and materials. No joke, we got charged $500 for the hallway we were wheeled into before surgery, and nowhere did we get a preview of that cost. So perhaps you haven't experienced the awfulness of larger health issues. I've been lucky enough (or perhaps unlucky) to use healthcare in various countries (Japan, Taiwan, New Zealand, Palau, various South Pacific islands). Japan was great care, small bill. Taiwan was not covered by insurance, but it cost the equivalent of $8 to remove a pencil eraser from our toddler's ear. Palau's health care didn't even have a thermometer when I came down with a jungle infection. Given a choice I'd take Japan and Taiwan over the US until the US has a true disclosure and competitive system.

Comment Re:Other reform options (Score 1) 2044

Hope you like shoe, you're going to have to eat it. Paying out of pocket can triple the cost because of a little game of negotiated rates - we know this isn't the real price, so when we reduce it it makes both sides look good, even though it's horribly overpriced. Cash only patients have no leverage since there is no competition based on price.

Comment Re:A false choice, of course... (Score 1) 2044

If forcing insurance to pay for preexisting conditions is theft, allowing an insurance company to arbitrarily raise rates to cover inefficiencies is graft. Our current system is not a free market system. I'll tell you the secret of creating a real capitalist health care system: require doctors and hospitals to publish their fees and compete on value and pricing. Till then, you've got a collusive system that removes consumer power.

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