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Comment Re:Big secret: you don't need Facebook (Score 1) 232

I see this as part of the App-ification of computing. People forget what "general purpose" computing is, and figure that because FaceBook has a particular aspect of the web locked up right now, that's the only way to do it.
Yes, there are network effects, but those network effects didn't prevent FaceBook from supplanting AIM/MSNMessenger/ICQ etc. (yes, there are people still using those tools, but not nearly as many as in their heyday), and they don't have to prevent the next tool from supplanting FaceBook.

I think the 'net is suffering from an overreach of Branding - we need to turn FaceBook into the next "Xerox" or "Kleenex" so that when you use Bing to google a way to notify all your friends - real or imaginary - you get options, and can choose the one that's best for the situation.

Comment Re:Big secret: you don't need Facebook (Score 1) 232

Their groups? You mean like UseNet? Or Google/Yahoo!/LiveJournal/MySpace/Orkut groups? Or should I post my current status message there instead of on AIM/MSNMessenger/Yahoo!Messenger/ICQ/Jabber?

I think the problem is branding - we (as an internet) need to make FaceBook the next Kleenex or Xerox, so we can all stop caring about the specific demands of one company, and instead go back to routing around damage, instead of picketing to correct it.

Comment Re:Disable Java == Broken Websites (Score 1) 122

All of the management pages for:
  - EMC Storage
  - Brocade FC switches
  - Dell and HP managed ethernet switches
  - Dell and HP DRAC/iLO remote management components
  - Dell and Avocent IP KVMs
And I'm sure there are more. The best part is, none of the above works correctly with anything newer than Java 6! I have a VM running Windows 7, a working version of Firefox ESR, and Java 6. And I still have to constantly tell the VM that I don't want to update anything, and to just enable the darn plugins.

Comment Re:Arrogance about a job you don't understand (Score 1) 387

I'd actually categorize the OP's comment as an attempt to attribute to incompetence rather than malice - what the Sales and Marketing folks do is, frequently if not typically, all about convincing people to spend resources they don't have on something they don't need. Sometimes it works out well for the consumer, many times it works out poorly. If we take the stance that Sales and Marketing are, in fact, smart enough, then they must just be Evil (e.g. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N...é_boycott).

I tend to agree with your assessment - the Sales and Marketing (which are two entirely different things) folks tend to be very clever. What they are not, however, is benevolent. Their god is Money, and if you don't worship as fervently as they do, then you're just another sacrifice to the cause.

Comment Re:the endgame is ironic here (Score 1) 289

While I agree with you on the ills of "a run-away regulatory bureaucracy," businesses that look out for "their own self-interest" will always choose to cut corners if it allows them to make an extra buck, unless the costs for doing so are imposed on them.

The real catch is that for the free market checks you mention to work, all parties need to have all of the information (i.e., potential consumers have to know that the product might contain a toxic substance, and what the side effects of using the product would be because of it). Since corporations (sans regulation) will do everything they can to suppress that information, someone needs to impose a cost on those corporations for acting this way.

Without environmental regulation, corporations will dump their waste wherever and whenever they can, even if it causes earthquakes or birth defects, because it's cheaper than cleaning up their messes and disposing of things safely. The market rewards that behaviour - a company behaving badly will have lower costs than its competitors, and will drive them out of business unless they start behaving badly, too.

Sure, corrupt regulators make the process much worse than merely corrupt corporations, but that just means we need to clean up the corrupt bureaucracy, as well as the corrupt corporations. Corruption has to cost, or the market will not correct it.

Comment Re:the endgame is ironic here (Score 1) 289

Here, here. I would like to voice my support of your call to understand things! I wonder why people are comfortable with the idea that rocket science is more complicated than the basic physics they had in high school, and maybe there are people who have studied it more and have better ideas, but economics is somehow no more complicated than balancing their checkbooks and paying their bills, so clearly they know better than those pesky educated people?

Oh, wait, this is the internet. Everyone thinks they're better at rocket science than actual rocket scientists.

Comment Re:the endgame is ironic here (Score 1) 289

The issue with the claim that free markets self-regulate is that while it's possible that they do, the "Free Market" that people hold up as the ideal model for economics is just like the frictionless, gas-less space in which students solve first semester physics problems (so they can get the hang of the difference between velocity and acceleration, before adding in the terms for rolling friction and air resistance).

I think your comment about "excessive intervention by uninformed central planners" shows that you already recognize that information (a necessary condition for a Free Market is perfect information, for all parties) is a big problem in market regulation. This is the case whether its consumers/producers that lack information, or regulators. However, the assertion that taking away the regulation will have better results than fixing the regulation is based on a fiction (i.e., the simplified Free Market model, which can't exist on earth any more than a pitcher can throw a ball with no friction on a field with uniform gravitation).

Comment Re:Socialism! (Score 1) 482

Capitalism, in a market with perfect information (which is, incidentally, a pre-condition of a "Free" market) may not prohibit benevolence, but American Capitalism, as controlled by Boards and Shareholders, frowns on any act that does not increase profits. If you (as a CEO) do act in such a manner as to decrease profits, or fail to increase profits when you could have, Carl Icahn will sue you. So while benevolence isn't prohibited, it's certainly heavily discouraged, especially for publicly traded companies.

Comment Re:Who's going to know? (Score 1) 412

Your previous comment (and this one) misses the point, which is that while you are correct that money can be made manufacturing drugs that are already certified, the patent (time limited! Just like copyright was supposed to be!) allows the company a window of time in which to make back the investment in completing clinical trials.
Once that investment is "paid off," it can be profitable to just sell an inexpensive version of it. If the substance can never be patented, then it would be much more difficult (and/or take much longer) to make enough to pay back the costs of clinical trials, making it a much less appealing investment.

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