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Comment Re:growth is good... (Score 1) 155

I think in essence Amazon is a VC funded charity. Amazon has been great for consumers, driving down the cost of all sorts of products. For their VC backers, the returns have been less than stellar Amazon's model is to be the low margin competitor in each segment, ostensibly to drive out competition in the hopes of raising margins later. This doesn't seem to be happening as other competitors are matching or bettering their prices.

The washup being that Amazon will continue to exist, continuing to make minimal profits (especially in comparison to their VC backer's investments). Hence my view that their VC backers are essentially making low interest loans/donations to a charity whose purpose is to deliver lower prices to consumers.

Comment Re:ubiquitous (Score 1) 125

I personally know of complex multi billion dollar deals done via spreadsheet (usually via well qualified finance people). Are you really going to trust a computer programmer to develop a financial model of a billion dollar business that is up for sale?

Nothing can match the flexibility (and speed) of excel. Most of the time you might be bidding against competitors and you won't have time to wait for perfect information to populate some database or VBA edifice.

The key problem here was a simple schoolboy error - mixing real and nominal numbers (ie being inconsistent in the treatment of inflation). This was a pebkac error and not really Excel's fault.


Submission + - Canadian Digs Out Basement Using Only Radio Controlled Scale Tractors and Trucks (blogspot.com) 1

Phurge writes: Excavating a basement using professional machinery is nothing new but doing it with radio controlled (RC) scaled models is something unheard of. Welcome to the little big world of Joe, from Saskatchewan, Canada.

For the past 7 years (!), Joe has been digging out his basement at an average annual rate of 8 to 9 cubic feet using nothing more than RC tractors and trucks!

And we're talking about the whole nine yards here — he starts by transporting the excavator on an RC truck to the basement, unloads it, digs and uses other trucks to transfer the dirt up to the ground through a spiral ramp! He even has a miniature rock crusher!

"I feel quite fortunate to have stumbled onto this basement excavation idea, it's been a great past time to date dreaming up new ideas to tackle different projects along the way," Joe wrote on the Scale4x4rc forums where he also posted pictures and videos of his feat

Comment Re:The editor was never a problem (Score 1) 175

I was going to give this another +1, but instead I'll comment.

Firstly I'm a windows user and will never be a mac or linux user. I know my way around computers but when it comes to wikipedia's markup - I'm sure I could learn those obscure symbols if I really wanted to, but really I just can't be fucked. I bet I'm not the only one.

+5 agree on everything else - bots are cause more damage than good, deletionism is a problem, and YES - some form of community (not appointed experts) peer review is needed.


Submission + - Barnes & Noble Exposes Microsoft's "Trivial" P (groklaw.net)

Phurge writes: Barnes & Noble has done the world a tremendous favor, by pulling aside the curtain and revealing Microsoft's patent campaign tactics against Android in lurid detail.

It reveals the assertion of "trivial" and "invalid" patents against Barnes & Noble and some shocking details about an "oppressive" license agreement that would have controlled hardware and software design features that Microsoft presented, thus limiting to what degree Barnes & Noble could offer upgrades and improved features to its customers if it had signed it, features it says none of Microsoft's patents cover. Microsoft worked so hard to keep it all secret, and I think you'll see why. It's ugly behind that curtain.

The patents, we read, "cover only arbitrary, outmoded and non-essential design features" and yet Microsoft is demanding "prohibitively expensive licensing fees", in effect asserting "veto power" over Android's features. One aspect of the license, Barnes & Noble tells us, was a demand to control design elements, requiring designers to adhere to specific hardware and software specifications in order to obtain a license. That, Barnes & Noble says, is "oppressive and anticompetitive". I think it's accurate to say that the company believes it is illegal.

Barnes & Noble asserts that Microsoft is attempting "to use patents to drive open source software out of the market," saying it, in essence, is acting like a patent troll, threatening companies using Android with a destructive and anticompetitive choice: pay Microsoft exorbitant rates for patents, some trivial and others ridiculously invalid or clearly not infringed, or spend a fortune on litigation.

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