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Comment Re:Question In Headline (Score 1) 153

I always wonder what it is about businesses that seem unable to do just about anything to turn themselves around versus more successful ones. Simply the guy at the helm? The corporate culture? A too-entrenched bureaucracy? How does a single company make bad decision after bad decision so persistently?

This is a truly fascinating question. I have a theory that a company like Sega can't turn around because

  1. a) they have drank too much of their own koolaid to maybe do something different and
  2. b) they experienced enough success doing things the way that they did that anything less than the same success is considered a failure. Lastly
  3. c) It takes time for success and failure, when your buisness isn't shooting in to space like a rocket, when do you decide that you're failing? Do you give your teams time? Or do you just look at the competition and shut it down?

For example with a, they seemed to be at a juncture where they had to partner on hardware, stop doing hardware, or like triple down on hardware and maybe get some outside investment to do that. They had made money with hardware in the past, simply cutting that off or partnering with a sony (that had a wonderful Nintendo partnership) had to be a very tough decision. Then the question is, if they only do software, is there any chance that they will have the successes that they had had before? I suspect by the time they could legitimately talk about that, the answer was decisively 'no' and Sony and MS had already begun to build some of their own franchises and were really starting to roll. They would have had to be willing to acknowledge that there was going to be a "new normal" and that it was normal for them to make a lot less money.

Some of those questions are hard, I was at IBM in the mid 90s and it was because the people running things weren't involved with the history of things that they were able to make some of those hard choices. It's easy to stand on the side and say what Sega should have done, it's different when you built the genesis and watched it make money.

Comment I think the media companies might be too stupid (Score 3, Interesting) 392

We had a baby in 2010, cut the cord because we didn't want to contaminate him will all the bullshit. Sports is the only thing we remotely miss..

This is very easy to stop if they want, cut out the reality shit, produce quality content. Make the news news again with a bit less opinion. And by quality content, I'd say figuring out Law and Order and CSI and then making n versions of those shows in different cities probably isn't good enough. No more American Idol type crap. Like real quality entertainment, like dramas and comedies. I'd gladly pay for a news channel and 5 to 10 channels with good quality stuff on it.

That takes money, takes risk and takes some intelligence to try to suss out the good from the bad. Thus I predict it won't happen, not from the current batch of media and distribution companies. They're too fat and lazy and used to just cashing checks.

Comment Technology will turn this all upside down (Score 1) 264

As a thought experiment, I've been pondering how we need to change our police and how we can with some of this technology. Wearables seem novel and like they could very easily be factored in as evidence in certain crime situations, it seems like it has to be after the fact though. More fundamentally, with cameras and the different recognitions and perhaps a few other sensors, I cannot imagine a case where we wouldn't be able to detect weapons in a crowd in a public space, maybe within the next 15 years.

Say for example you could, with a high degree of confidence, identify the absence of guns in a crowd or report that n people out of this crowd are most likely carrying weapons, you could instruct the police on how to engage them, whether or not they need to have lethal weapons or not. Likewise, maybe even as a service, you could be notified if there were too many weapons in your vicinity or something to that effect. That seems like a very interesting and increasingly possible service. Is concealed carry protected as a privacy? There will be some interesting problems, the militarized police will likely never want to relinquish their weapons, even if they knew there were engaging unarmed people, I have no idea what their excuse will be (other than weapons help them to present an image of power and authority) And I suspect that concealed carry folks will be upset of others around them know about it and react to it. There will be some interesting policy challenges and this stuff seems like it is almost certainly coming down the pipe.

Comment Re:I don't get it. (Score 1) 195

How is semiconductors not a core business for a company that still makes huge profits off mainframes and midranges?? Sure, keep design in house, but you'll lose the flexibility you have. Imagine your research division came up with an amazing new chip design they wanted to work on right away, but were told "Nope, it'll take 6 months to ramp up GlobalFoundries, TSMC, or whatever. Sorry."

Actually, if they can partner with a fabrication company and get the quality they need it will increase their margins. Fabs are expensive and just not worth it until you have massive volumes. Old IBM would buy up a stake (or more likely, keep a stake) their partner and it'll almost certainly be whomever buys their current fabrication ability.

Look at Apple, they don't have a fab... It's odd to me that this issue strikes such a cord, IBM has a checkered history at best in this department. More importantly, the game has shifted from raw cycles and MIPS to performance per watt and while they've done some good stuff in that area a contract fab that can chase the field can probably do better. There was a good block of time, a decade, where IBM owned POWER end to end and it was mediocre compared to the competition. Ideally they can focus more on their designs and make them even better. It's also very clear that they have a new product family they are focusing on, they've made some bold predictions about how big the Watson market will potentially be and if they can really productize that stuff and make it work as good as it worked on Jeopardy without a support staff then I simply don't see why everyone won't have a Watson in 15 years. They are going after that. I'm 14 years removed from IBM but that looks like it's potentially an exciting development.

It's just changing. Answer me this, realistically, what do any PC makes bring to the table any more? Apple brings it all, they are the odd one. HP? Dell? etc..? They take intel parts, they take other 3rdparty parts and integrate them, then they take software from MS and charge a premium on the whole thing. It's a commodity business. It can absolutely be done as well by China and India and other countries. Is there any special skill in assembling those parts? I don't mean this to offend anybody but all of the PC business is going to and should migrate to wherever the labor is the most plentiful and inexpensive. If anything, it seems shocking that all those companies haven't bailed out of that business years ago. Fabing chips in particular seems like a business already designed for that.

Comment Maybe nuclear should figure out how to be safe (Score 1) 551

The nuclear industry seems a lot like the American automotive industry, and maybe for good reasons. They've had to fight political battles and prove themselves against fossil fuels in and early on people were not concerned with global warming.

I know there are prototype "meltdown proof" reactors but why aren't they the norm? Anything to do with output and cost? Fukushima's best plan now is to freeze the ground for I don't know how many years? It's going to cost half a billion dollars to build the system but it might need to stay in operation for decades... maybe longer? The costs at Chernobyl are still in the billions and it's not making energy any more, that's just to keep the already ruined land from getting worse.. These things are pre-optimized for nearer term profits for the operators and the longer term clean up costs in the rare (but not so rare it never happens) even of a disaster and the longer term waste storage costs just aren't factored in, not on the correct scale at least.

I know we have thorium an there are some compelling options that seem like there could be abundant, affordable energy for ages to come without contributing to global warming but the downsides are staggering and more importantly, we actually experience the downsides, they aren't impossibly rare. I don't think the problems are such that solutions cannot be engineered but it seems like they're more focused on other things than building the best nuclear solutions..

Comment Re:Not as bad as the reviews made it seem (Score 1) 178

IBM and Intel rocked that model for another decade, if you look at the PS/2 line up, half of them were very nearly obsolete when they were released. Intel had it's SX chips..

What kind of reality distortion field do you think that team had? I don't mean this in an offensive way but the Mac was demonstrated and announced at nearly the same time, (with it's own "SX" style 16bit bus 32bit chip...) People talk about the Apple reality distortion field but I can't imagine what being on the PC Jr. team must have been like when the Mac dropped... "Oh, people don't really care about graphics and stuff..." or "well, this is a business machine, not a toy..." or what on earth did you tell yourself?

Comment Re:When you have a bad driver ... (Score 1) 961

That Porsche may have 600 hp, but in the hand of an excellent driver, it would be still a very safe car.

Nothing against the Porsche, but it would never be a "very safe car" regardless of the driver, the better the driver, the less likely you are to find out how "safe" the car is but that doesn't make the car safer.

As I have gotten older, I've become less offended by the Fast and Furious movies, they're just fun movies, that's all. From the news, it sounds like everyone involved had fun and enjoyed each other, that makes it somewhat sad, they didn't seem to take what they were doing too seriously and they were just making fun movies and having a good time. I say this without intending to be an asshole but that car was a chainsaw without a safety guard, it's meant for expert drivers and tracks, this is exactly the outcome that makes that so. Being in some car movies and maybe some celebrity sports car races doesn't make you a professional racing car driver. I'm absolutely certain this wouldn't have been the outcome if they were obeying the traffic laws or in a lot of different (albeit less sexy) vehicles. Also, there are a lot of dead really really good racing drivers, guys who were among the best in the world and at the tops of their games when they made a mistake in a very unforgiving vehicle.

Comment Re:What's good for others apparently is no good fo (Score 1) 355

Nobody is denying them the ability to push for a unified vision. The market just isn't buying it. This isn't a punishment people are imposing, they think it's the way to let the good assets really fly highly. And it also happens to be an easy way to kill the bad assets.

Does Xbox need to be part of MS to succeed? If so why? If not, could it really dominate Nintendo and Sony on its own?

How about bing? If they lived and died by their own revenues, would they get more hungry?

The idea a lot of people have is that MS simply does too much, not that they don't have a unified vision but they have that vision, a giant legacy and a lot of cruft.

Comment Re:New features? (Score 1) 147

HBase and Hadoop is a very interesting option for certain kinds of data. It becomes more and more interesting as you add more and more machines too...

I have no idea how the data is structured or how it is queried and worked with but HBase may be a very interesting option. Once you dork around with the configs a bit and get it booted up, it's insanely easy to scale it.

Comment Re:Extremely expensive (Score 1) 735

We live in Colorado (300+ days of blue sky and sun shine) and were greeted with a similar story. To cover our normal usage, we'd need a $26,000 system and with all the rebates and what have you, we'd still need to shell out $12,000. 6 to 8 years to pay for itself.

It's not crazy crazy expensive, I think it's in the range of something a homeowner can purchase. Maybe get an equity line of credit if needed. However it's on the high side. If it was in the 5000-8000 range? I think we'd have easily done it by now.

Comment Re:Time to let it go... (Score 1) 317

You mean journaling and some other features migrated to ReiserFS...

It pushed some issues, also went about things the wrong way with the community.

Fundamentally, and this is an issue that caused community issues with Reiser pushed on it initially, a filesystem's integrity is paramount. People trust it to safely store data. Reliability tradeoffs for performance doesn't cut it; regardless of the benchmarks. The other thing, how committed is the community to taking care of it? Last thing you want is a couple terabytes of data on a disk that you cannot read. The geek boys that want to simply run benchmarks might get a kick out of it but it's devastating when you lose data to something you trusted..

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