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Comment Re:WTF (Score 1) 29

I'd be curious to know what the propeller-heads who study long-term valuation think of Comcast NBCUniversal.

I'm not one of those people, but I have this idea that of that combo-package, NBC has the best long-term business model, Universal second and Comcast third.

Comcast's primary value *now* is its local monopolies on broadband and cable television, and the cable part isn't an actual monopoly if you take DirectTV and Dish into account as viable competitors for most households. But long-term, doesn't the whole viability of the cable television model look shaky? Netflix, HBO Now, Prime Instant, the whole streaming thing looks like its undermining their cable business.

That leaves broadband, but who knows what that will look like in 5-10 years. 5G with high enough caps and/or more fiber rollouts could undermine that business, too.

Universal is mostly a production studio, and their future is probably decent as a content production business -- maybe not big growth, but at least competitive if managed right.

NBC still has a giant network of affiliates who actually broadcast their signal in addition to a fair amount of content that still draws eyeballs, which makes it seem to have some durability.

So at the end of the day, Verizon, with its giant cell phone network and terrestrial network seems to have much more asset value and long-term value.

Comment Re:AI as a marketing term (Score 1) 142

My question is that as AI is developed from machine learning or whatever it's antecedents are, at what point will we decide that we have AI?

It seems like the goal line for what we're will to accept is AI keeps getting moved forward, mostly driven by a science fiction version of AI, like HAL9000, Westworld robots or some other kind of self-aware machine consciousness.

Comment Re:FB is not entertainment (Score 1) 30

I think the big error Facebook made early on was making it too easy to post links and to share other such posts. This diluted the content from "stupid shit my friends say and do" to "clickbait social media shares" with no original content from friends.

I see people on Facebook who seem to do nothing other than re-share web links and meme photos, with zero original content added. And there's a lot of it, which is why you end up speed-scrolling your news feed, because its all clickbait and a lot of it politics, too.

I also think that politics and the ease of re-sharing has been a REALLY toxic combination for Facebook. The amount of ZOMG Trump and strident political messaging makes the content even worse.

I was flat on my back sick for 3 days and was surprised how easy it was to blow past everything in my news feed when I finally checked it out again, I thought for sure there would be enough unique self-generated content to kill some time, but it was, again, just a lot of low quality noise.

The idea of Facebook as a long-form video source platform just seems ridiculous. It's not on any STBs and even if it was, the newsfeed doesn't make for a video selection user interface. Even Netflix struggles a little with content catalog presentation.

Comment Re:battery life a braindead argument (Score 2) 267

I work as an IT contractor, and I have about 400 gigs of miscellaneous software archives that I drag around with me. About a third of it is legacy crap that I almost never need but when it does come up, it's usually critical to solving some problem.

I split the archive between a current branch and a legacy branch and keep legacy as just a symlink to a directory on a 256 GB card that stays in my Dell laptop and fortunately fits completely flush.

I agree that the speeds to SD are kind of erratic and not nearly as good or predictable in response to even a decent USB3 stick, but for what I'm using it for its more or less ideal.

Comment Re:battery life a braindead argument (Score 1) 267

A modular bottom panel is a pretty good idea. I suppose ideally the entire case would be designed around the bottom panel being swappable for a thicker one which included supplemental battery power and extra ports.

If they had a docking port on the bottom, this could almost be something a third party could deliver.

Comment Re:battery life a braindead argument (Score 2) 267

Am I the only one who finds that a SD card slot that holds an SD card is a great way to hold extra data? I keep a 256 GB one with low-use archive data in my SD card slot, symlinked into the main file system.

Frankly I wish they could put 2 or 4 of these slots into a laptop. I would use one for portable data I expected to move to other computers, one as a generic storage enhancer, and one other for my automatic image backup.

The latter I would really like, I can keep at least 5 restore points in 512GB for my system's 66% full 1 TB boot disk if I run the backup cycle daily. Create an incremental at every boot and then auto-dismount to protect it from malware or accidental overwrite.

My summary of this whole Macbook Pro issue (and I don't even own one) is that one side is arguing that "nobody" uses the missing features (SD card slots, USB ports, etc), basically arguing that because the *average* user doesn't use them, it's a waste to add them.

The other side seems comprised of the actual power users who have use cases for them and think that a product should be offered that addresses something other than the average user.

At the end of the day, the whole thing seems to boil down to millimeters and ounces of weight.

Comment Re:Expected /. response (Score 1) 463

I think the larger problem is people are just sick of everything having telemetry in it, even if it's generally benign and possibly even beneficial.

My main beef with Windows 10 is how willing Microsoft is to re-install sample app store apps after I've already "uninstalled" them (which I don't even think actually uninstalls them but just kind of removes them from my profile). There's a perniciousness to push their marketing angle in my user profile configuration that kind of bugs me.

Comment Re:Defies the purpose of competition (Score 3, Interesting) 126

The powers that be will not allow chaos to happen.

...to them.

Powers-that-be the world over seem extremely content to live and move between high security walled compounds and let huge amounts of chaos to happen around them so long as it doesn't happen to them.

The min/max calculation they make is what is the minimum number of peers do they have to suffer to maximize their personal wealth and safety, and as a group, what is the minimum number marginally empowered flunkies (security forces, admins and service flunkies) do they have to pay for to maximize that same wealth and safety.

I just don't believe in any "democratizing AI" -- it will be like any other information technology. Its adoption is always at the top of the pyramid first and used to gain as much advantage over those below in the pyramid. I just don't see an AI good enough to imperil the powers that be being available to the average citizen. It will either be unobtainium or stripped down enough so that its only value is making the remaining cogs in the machine more efficient.

The smart play for those sitting at the top is to get over their moralistic impulses and figure out what kind of designer drugs they can dream up in order to pacify the masses long-term. Basic Income alone won't cut it and the available toxic soup the masses use to tune out just raises their security costs.

Comment Re:Why is that useful? (Score 5, Interesting) 184

You said it yourself -- "large organizations".

They're aiming for some kind of economies of scale in purchasing, application deployment and security that go way beyond the single-digit percentage of user base that developers represent.

They could just hand over the hardware and let the developers run their own machines, but this has all kinds of security implications and often bleed developer productivity in desktop maintenance overhead.

Running dev machines natively in Linux makes some sense, but may cut them off from other Windows-only applications they need to be part of the larger organization. as well as lack of visibility in enterprise management software. Running it in a VM has the same problems plus the added complexity of two environments.

I doubt Microsoft's solution is designed principally as a developer solution, either, but probably a long-term gambit to make it a more universal platform to retain users when the year of Linux on the Desktop rolls around. They must see some future in their crystal ball where enough Linux desktops exist that *not* being able to run some application is an existential risk to Windows.

Comment Re:I get this... (Score 1) 393

I've only been to Vegas 4 times. The first time was the Bellagio after it was built, and I thought our room was quite nice. I don't know what "luxurious" means to everybody else, but in terms of size, materials and decorative finish it was much nicer than a random hotel oriented towards business travel. The Venetian was about the same, even though we had a room with a dull interior courtyard view. When we stayed at the Hilton, we got a recently remodeled room which was smaller but equivalent in finish. Caesar's was good sized but the room was about 75% through its useful life and felt like it was starting to wear a bit and appear somewhat dated. Nice view though.

My trips spanned about 10 years and my sense was that gaming was losing ground. Still a lot of it, but over the course of my visits I noticed that prices for things unrelated to gaming had gotten a lot more expensive. I think Vegas has stopped being about gambling and "cheap stuff" to attract gambling and had shifted their revenue generation to charging high prices for non-gaming related things like drinks and meals.

I liked Vegas the first few times -- we ate at some fabulous restaurants, the people watching at the pool was fun and even the casino gaming was kind of a novelty (for the $100 I was willing to spend), and the whole thing was such a spectacle it was fun to see. But on my last visit I felt like it was getting really expensive for the experience it delivered and I'd be better off in Miami.

Comment Re:Why can't there be an open phone? (Score 1) 480

Blame the carriers, at least in the US?

The carriers insisted on shoveling their shitware onto even the pre-smartphone feature phones, weather applets, ringtones, and their prominent branding and it carried right through to actual smartphones. Their shitty bloat was unremovable, too.

And then there was the carriers skittishness about an open device with access to their network. I suppose this was a real worry at some point, but with modern smartphones the baseband processing is almost a separate component and the ability to do any real damage probably mitigated by the baseband processor acting as a gateway to the cell network itself.

I sometimes wonder if Apple's app store wasn't just a way for Apple to skim every dollar sold against the platform, but also a way for Apple to keep the carriers off their platform. Apple wouldn't allow carrier crapware into the base system and with end-user choice thanks to the app store it killed the carriers' ability to reasonably be players in that market.

Comment Re:Well Trump has one thing right (Score 3, Insightful) 530

MY brother works for a successful company which I won't name. It is fortune 250. HE goes to India because he too can't find anyone qualified. THe salaries he uses from HR are from his local Department of Labor. No he DOES NOT CHEAP out. He can't find anyone willing to work at least 25% over the market average in his area. He has no choice

If your brother has data that says the market average wage is X and he finds that he is unable to hire anyone for less than X+25%, doesn't that mean that your brother's data is incorrect, and that the actual market wage IS X+25%? Isn't the most accurate market pricing what you would actually have to pay into the market to obtain the goods or services you're looking for? Any "data" which suggests otherwise is out of date or inaccurate.

What I see in this situation is businesses using data to insist on a wage ceiling, probably because they have a business model designed to function only below a specific and arbitrary wage ceiling. The larger problem is probably a total compensation number, including executive compensation, that can't grow to accommodate market wage demands without influencing product pricing in a way that hurts sales.

I would suggest that the real problem is excessive executive compensation and that reducing executive compensation to pay actual market wages for necessary labor to keep total compensation in line with the product pricing is the best solution. Meeting market wage demands will in theory bring more labor into the market, increasing its supply and ultimately slowing or even reducing wage growth.

I also think there are powerful class dynamics at work here as well, where certain labor positions are seen as inherently less worthy than others and regardless of actual market prices, firms want to impose compensation caps on certain types of labor because it disrupts the class dynamics. Some classes of workers are seen as inherently more valuable than others and should *always* be paid more than others. When the market prices suggest that these lower classed workers need to be paid more to attract and retain them, you have the higher classed workers attempting to cap wages for the lower classes, because the alternatives are paying the market wages and losing their class status.

What's interesting is that nobody suggests that the paying the lower class of labor a higher wage than the higher class of worker doesn't have to mean that the higher class of worker (ie, managers) also loses their power and authority, only that they are paid less. Even average professional athletes make more money than most coaching staff, but this doesn't diminish the power of the coaching staff to control the players and regulate their labor activities.

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