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Comment Re:I'm so glad for this poll..... (Score 1) 252

I see several reasons for your predicament.

1) Market Research
I made this mistake too, once. I wanted to do some web SaaS stuff, had some ideas, which some test audiences told me were great, but when it came down to competition and pricing, I figured out that while my solution was technically superior and offered a lot of features that were lacking from other products, there was only a sub-set of users who actually cared. Of those, many of them weren't very technology oriented and I had trouble marketing the additional features. By comparison my competitors were offering less stuff for a much lower price and instead of improving their product, instead improved their pitch and sales force. I ended up abandoning that project and re-focusing my business on other services. It taught me that before jumping in and devoting resources to a project I better do an assload of research about the current state of the market, products, and customers. If you don't you spend a lot of time making no money.

2) Have a backup plan
Always have another option waiting for you. If it turns out your idea doesn't pan out, you can quickly refocus. It might be that the backup plan is going back to the job you were doing before, if you left on good terms; but you need to have your fingers in many pies as a small business.

3) Keep your skills/product fresh
Earthlink - in decline because modem users are drying up
RIM - Blackberries have looked pretty much the same for how many years? Even though other handsets offered significantly better internet experiences and had far more applications, they stuck with their text based email stuff. How's that looking for them now?
Novell - now dead, but was in decline for many years being supported by Groupware revenue. Without a new and compelling product to keep customers coming back, well...
Palm - They rode the PalmOS horse for many years, and didn't make very many changes to it, WebOS was too little, too late, they had already lost most of the market share

Business is all about evolution and change based on market demand and technology. If you're stagnant, you might be OK for a while, but eventually you're going to be out of date and after you loose the legacy customers that stay with you, you're sunk.

4) Know when to throw in the towel
One of the concepts in economics is Opportunity Cost, if you make $85K a year as an employee somewhere, but you're only making $40K a year as a small business, it's costing you $45K a year to operate your business! That might be fine for the first year or so, but if you're not seeing significant earnings or growth, just give it up (unless other intangibles like being your own boss and choosing your projects are worth the $ differential)

5) Project Growth Potential
There's been a shift in the industry my business services recently, there is a flood of cheap competitors from international sources that have been permitted into the market, which is creating price pressure on my products/services. These new competitors certainly don't have the expertise or provide a premium experience like I do, but a lot of consumers don't care, they make their buying decision based on price. I'm thinking that in 2-3 years I'll be making 1/2 of what I am now, which makes it just not worth it. But without constantly assessing the state of the market you're in, you're not making very good business and life decisions.


Town Gets Patent On Being the Center of Europe 169

An anonymous reader writes "And you thought software patents were going to far? How about geography patents? Apparently, as a part of the weird fight over what place in Europe represents the 'geophysical center of Europe,' the Austrian town of Frauenkirchen has received a patent (Austrian patent AM 7738/2003) declaring it the center of Europe. Not clear how one 'infringes' on such a patent, but then again, it's not clear why anyone's patenting this either."

Comment Tie to Open Source is unsubstantiated (Score 2, Insightful) 494

The people I know and work with in the open source community are probably the most piracy conscious people I know, mostly because of jack holes like this guy. It bugs the hell out of me that people always tie open source and piracy when in fact, there could be nothing further from the truth. I'm the first one to pay for things like GAMES for Linux, or quality e-books because I want people to produce more of them! And honestly, there's nothing wrong with wanting to get paid for your work.

I think ultimately this has nothing to do with Open Source and everything to do with people wanting something for nothing, and if they can get it, they'll take full advantage. Likely the tie to Open Source comes from the fact that people who are extremely cost conscious are going to prefer Open Source products because they align with their pricing criteria (The same way illegal copies of products align with their pricing criteria)


Comment Re:Wrong. Flawed analogy (Score 1) 669

I fully admit I'm a dumb idiot who sits on the couch watching football. It happens after you get married. When I was single there was a ton of stuff I used to do that I no longer do, such as cook. My wife likes to do it, I like eating, so win-win. That said, when she goes out of town, I'm so unaccustomed to cooking that I often don't, or will order out for the entirety of her trip. Why? I have no idea, but I do. Back in the day I actually *liked* cooking.

It works the other way too, every night I find my wife's keys, where ever it is that she puts them, and put them on the hook by the door they're supposed to go on. When I'm out of town, she gets to spend 30ish minutes every morning looking for her keys

I actually think a Dell commercial highlighting that they have a copious amount of nerds and that I'm too dumb to spec out a machine would, if presented correctly, be really, really funny. Hey, it works for Apple!


Comment Counterfeit Cisco Gear Perhaps? (Score 3, Informative) 330

You may remember that /. ran the following several stories:
Feds Seize $78M of Bogus Chinese Cisco Gear
FBI Says Military Had Counterfeit Cisco Routers

Lets see, extra chips on a piece of equipment that handles all the network traffic, which would include NFS and a variety of other plain text protocols (why would someone use encryption on a "secure" network). Add to that a sprinkling of Teredo

And looks to me like it's very likely that someone could steal whatever they wanted.

Good thing all our corporate suppliers are bound by contracts that would totally be enforced by this foreign government who's providing the bogus equipment. Didn't think about that, did you, stupid corporate outsourcing asshat.


Comment Build it Yourself (Score 1) 236

So if you're willing to forgo support options, I'd build a server yourself from components. You'll be able to get the mix of horse power you want and power consumption that it seems you need. fuzzyfuzzyfungus suggested using a desktop given your modest specs, I'd concur with this, but the cases used by large PC vendors don't really lend themselves for operating in a really harsh environment. I'd start with a case like this:

While the window is flashy, it's got a ton of fans, and good airflow, so while there will be dust and whatnot, you shouldn't see a lot of cake up, plus with the window, you can see when it needs any cleaning.

Depending on the size of your UPS, you can put the whole kit and kaboodle into a rolling rack:

Or you could go with the google approach, instead of buying a case, just slap down a piece of corkboard on a shelf in the rack and place your components. You'll have to do a bit of jerry rigging with fans if you go that route, but it would save you $100. With a can of compressed air, you can keep it as clean as you need.


Comment Cringley talked about M$ profits on his podcast (Score 1) 315

This is a little OT, but Cringley has a blog post/podcast entitled "Bob the Impaler" where he discusses Microsoft's profitability, and how they've developed a structure of hiding profit to fly low on the radar of the Federal Trade Commission. I have a feeling that these unprofitable up/down grades are somewhere in that fat...

Cringely's home page it's about 2/3 down the page.


Comment Two Words: Open Source (Score 1) 540

There are a ton of projects out there on Sourceforge, pick one and dig in. As a hiring manager, this is something I looked for in candidates because:

1) They could get the pre-requisite experience without having a job as a developer
2) It showed they enjoyed software development
3) It displayed showing initiative, which is something a lot of candidates lack

Best case: A company sees the project and wants to sponser it, making your project your full time development job

Worst case: You spend some time working on a project that goes no where, but you now have some real experience that you can tout on your resume and in the interview

Added Bonus: You get to talk in the interview about the open source community, your participation in it, and maybe on how that experience can also benefit your perspective employer.

Plus you'll be able to brag about your software to friends and co-workers.


Technology (Apple)

Submission + - iPhone 2, is there a better distribution model?

RunzWithScissors writes: Since I'm standing in line at the Apple store, I can't help but think that Apple, despite being a technology company that's "innovative", chose a decidedly low tech, somewhat standard approach to selling people their iPhone 2. It may just be the fact that my legs are on fire from standing so long, but what are some other ways Apple could have sold the iPhone that would have made it easier on consumers?

My first thought is have people check in at the front door and provide their phone number. Give folks 2 minutes to get to the store after you call them before moving on down the list. At least that way, someone could sit in the foodcourt or walk around. Other businesses that have had success with this approach? Try every restaurant who has a lot of volume. You know, you get that little pager whilst you wander around.

What are the readerships ideas?

It might be fatigue, or possibly that I haven't eaten in a while, but I think Apple really needs someone's help since their super rich executives may have forgotten how the common man lives. Non-linestanding rich bastards!


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