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Comment Re:Sad (Score 1) 129

Well, I dunno. It seems like blaming Fitbit for Pebble's financial failure.

Let's take a consequentialist view of matters. If the rule is you have to buy the whole business and continue to operate it, even though it's losing money, Pebble goes out of business and it's customers and debt holders suffer. If you can sell of just the good bits without the obligation to continue running the failing as before, the customers suffer but the debt holders get some relief. Which approach is better?

Comment Re:Here's an idea (Score 3, Insightful) 156

However, many independent artists would leap at the change to sign with a label, since 10% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

THIS. People always make the mistake of looking at high revenues that big-name artists get and dream of doing that themselves.

But that's kinda like dreaming of playing for the NBA or NFL or whatever -- sure, it happens, but the 99% of the kids out there playing high school sports will never have a chance at those sorts of salaries.

It is common for creative people to assume that they create the only value that matters, and that marketing, promotion, and distribution are all worthless.

Exactly. There's this new myth of "YouTube-o-genesis" -- just put your stuff up on YouTube, and users can "discover you," and then you start raking in the big bucks, no labels or whatever needed.

And yes, that HAS happened. But for every sudden "YouTube sensation," there are 10,000 people out there who are uploading stuff that gets 5 views only from their friends. And among those 10,000 unlucky people are usually loads of talented folks... they just need some help getting attention.

Labels can still be a path to help that (though they're not the ONLY path). Getting a few percent of revenue from a label that actually promotes you, gets you gigs, etc., is likely a lot better than the beer money people chip in when you just sing at the local karaoke bar.

And I hate the RIAA's abusive copyright tactics as much as anyone else here, and I'll be the first to criticize labels that do bring in large revenues for their executives and staff, but pay a pittance to artists. Nevertheless, they CAN still serve a function, and thus many independent artists still DO sign on.

Comment Re:Wrong even if correct (Score 1) 198

Really? So I just got a 'raise' at work from deflation, somehow that is demotivating?

Here's the fallacy -- how long do you think that "raise" will last in a persistent deflationary economy? Prices are going down, because monetary value is going up. That means corporate revenues go down. People with large amounts of money invest much less, because an investment would have to have a LARGE rate of return to actually be worthwhile... otherwise, you just hide your money under your mattress.

So, fewer investors, decreasing prices... corporate revenues go down. And somehow you think get to keep you "raise" at your current salary in deflated dollars?? Fat chance. Eventually, they need to start decreasing your salary -- probably even more than to keep "pace" with deflation, because of the decreased revenues. Or they just start laying people off.

But that's only the tip of the iceberg. Why would you buy property in a deflationary economy, when it is likely to be a depreciating asset? Loans become nearly impossible to justify -- banks would still have to charge interest on them to justify them, which means you're throwing money at a depreciating asset, while the principal of your loan and your payment sizes effectively grow due to deflation. And given the depreciating value of assets, banks are likely to require additional insurance fees in case of default (a lot more than they have on risky mortgages today).

People stop trying to get loans to open new businesses. Investors stop financing them, unless it's basically a "sure thing," since they can "make money" just stashing their cash away. People stop taking out loans for basic things like real estate and houses.

"But," you say, "Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe people should learn to save up more before buying a large purchase." Okay, except who do they rent from in the meantime if they don't take out a mortgage on a house? The people owning rental property face the same difficulties in maintaining a rationale for owning it. If it's decreasing in value, along with other goods, rents will eventually be driven down too (along with the decreasing salaries). Why invest in maintaining property? -- it's just throwing money at a continuously depreciating asset.

If you're a landlord in such an economy, the best strategy is probably to dump your property now and get more money out of it while you still can before its value decreases further.

And we can go on and on. People hoarding cash and dumping most other investments leads to economic stagnation, then worse. Eventually this results in a deflationary "spiral" and the economy tanks.

Oh sure, throughout all of this SOME people will still invest and spend money, but it becomes increasingly hard to justify.

People who support deflation generally never think through even the basic next steps in their logic. They just think they'll magically have "higher salaries" coming from somewhere to spend on cheaper goods. That doesn't happen in real economies. The only people steady deflation is good for are people who have giant money bins already. For everybody else, you'd be much better off with the 1-2% mild inflation and actually having a more active economy.

Comment Re:Inflation or Rally? (Score 1) 198

They would not even seek to stop it, considering the value of 1-2% per year "normal" (that's a tax on wealth, BTW).

Small amounts of inflation are NOT a "tax on wealth." I suppose you might consider it a "tax on money you hide under your mattress."

But in the real world, mild inflation encourages people with wealth to get that money out from under their mattress and invest it somewhere or do something with it.

Deflation, on the other hand, encourages hoarding of money, which means investments have to have much larger returns to seem worthwhile, so most people prefer to just keep their money "under their mattress." And why buy anything unless you need it right NOW? If you wait a year, it will be effectively "cheaper" since the value of your money has grown.

Basically, deflation means economic activity decreases significantly, which means EVERYBODY loses except for those who have huge amounts stuffed under their mattresses.

There are some folks under the mistaken impression that deflation will be good even for normal folks, since their money will buy more. Except do you really think your salary can stay the same in a consistently deflationary economy? Fewer people are investing or buying anything, which means economic activity goes down, which means less revenue at a lot of companies. That means the average Joe either is looking at a salary decrease to "keep pace" with deflation (actually likely more than that, due to the effects of decreased economic activity overall, which depress revenues) or else they just start firing people.

Staying at a steady "0" (no inflation or deflation at all) is nearly impossible. So, yes, government policy tends to try to stay stable at a low inflation rate, which both gives a mild buffer to the rate (avoiding the dangers of deflation) and gives a mild encouragement to investors to keep pumping money out, rather than hiding it under the mattress. Having a slight preference for economic activity over inactivity benefits us all significantly.

Unless you have a giant money bin full of enough to keep you going for the rest of your life already, you likely would do much WORSE in a deflationary economy than having mild 1-2% inflation with its supposed "tax."

Comment Re:127 Mill Maintenance robot vs 4 Billion AF1 (Score 2) 35

Well, it's actually $3.75 billion. And it's not one, but two aircraft, so that's 1.875 billion apiece. That's to ensure the executive branch can function in a military crisis while one of the planes is being service.

Deduct 375 million apiece for the airframe, and we're talking 1.5 billion dollars in customization for each aircraft, including aerial refueling capabilities, which on a two-off job is a craft job; no economies of scale. Add defense and countermeasure capabilities that Air Force is extremely close-lipped about. Is there a actual escape pod on Air Force One like in the movie? Well probably not, but I'm sure the idea was at least contemplated. However it's pretty certain that if someone locks onto AF1 with a targeting radar the aircraft will have options that a stock 747-8 doesn't.

Next outfit each one so it can function as a replacement for the West Wing and the Situation Room for up to two months -- that's a deducible requirement based on the known fact that the aircraft stores 2000 meals for 100 people. That means three-of-a-kind electronics and communications systems (one for each airframe and one for the actual White House).

Is 3.75 billion too much for that? Probably. But it's hard to think of any weapon development program since WW2 that is less extravagant.

By that standard 127 million for an orbital repair robot is an almost inconceivable bargain, even if you factor in a 5x cost overrun.

Comment Re:Yey! (Score 0) 129

I thought the game looked okay (especially for a one-hour thing), but then I saw what he'd actually had to do. The things that were done for him:
  • Drawing the game board.
  • Collision detection between ball and player, goal, and walls
  • The bounce logic.
  • Events delivered for the buttons.
  • The mechanic for introducing a new ball into the game.
  • The score management. This is like those lego sets that have about half a dozen pieces and can be quickly assembled into a single design of spaceship. Yes, sure, you've built something, but there was little creativity or effort involved. It's not a bad learning tool (and for something that expects people with no programming experience to get something done in an hour, it's fine) but if he doesn't realise how much harder all of the pre-defined bits were to write than the simple logic for gluing them all together then he's now dangerously ignorant.

Comment Re:cheap chinese crap (Score 1) 75

There was a lawsuit against Apple for the original iPod for a similar reason. Steve Jobs was mostly deaf, so insisted that he be able to hear the sound, so the maximum volume was loud enough to be dangerous. Airline in-flight entertainment systems are the worst: they give you crappy headphones so that you have to turn the volume to max to hear anything if you use them, but if you buy a decent set of noise-cancelling ones then you want the volume down at around 20-40%. This is all fine, until they do an announcement, when they pause the movie and slam the volume up to 100% with no warning.

Comment Re:Pain: 120db. Damage: 85db (Score 1) 75

I remember someone in my class getting a Walkman (back when they were still expensive and exciting). After six months, he admitted that he'd gradually been having to turn up the volume to be able to hear the music clearly. I've been hesitant around headphones since then and as a result I can still hear the bats when they fly along with me when I cycle home.

Comment Re:Glitchless streaming. (Score 2) 155

This is not something that network neutrality prevents. QoS is completely allowed. If something on the customer's endpoint (or the remote) marks its packets as more sensitive to bandwidth, latency, or jitter then you are completely free to put them into different queues that priorities one or two of those attributes at the expense of the others. The only catch is that you must do the same for all traffic marked in such a way, irrespective of the remote endpoint. If you offer a VoIP service and mark its traffic as being low bandwidth, but being very sensitive to latency and jitter then you can't special-case this and make sure that the experience for your customers is better than a third-party SIP provider or Skype. Similarly, you can't launch your own video streaming service and give it a bigger share of the bandwidth and you can't take money from Hulu or Netflix to prioritise their traffic over their competitors.

Comment Re:1980s/1990s online service redux (Score 1) 155

It went downhill once they started sending out CDs. Back in the day, AOL and Compuserve would send out their client software on floppy disks (one initially, two later). It wasn't until very late that they started popping out the write-protect slider. I'd call them up every few weeks as a child (freephone number) and ask for a trial pack. Most of it went into the bin, but I'd reformat the disks and they'd be good to use.

Comment Re:More like a terrible law (Score 1) 100

But awarding all the profit is insane. If that's the standard you're going to use, then Apple should just hand over all their profit from their iPhones 1 through 4 to Samsung, because they infringed one of Samsung's FRAND patents.

FRAND patents are utility patents, not design patents, and the "entire profits" rule only applies to design patents. Plus, FRAND patents are explicitly limited to a fair and reasonable royalty, or the patent can be effectively invalidated (not really invalid, but they can't enforce it, once found in breach of their FRAND requirements).

Apple escaped punishment for that only because Obama used executive privilege to nullify that ITC decision.

The ITC couldn't levy monetary damages, anyway. The only thing they can do is stop imports. And if they did stop imports under the ITC decision, then Samsung would have been in breach of their FRAND requirements, since by entering the patents into a FRAND agreement, they explicitly said, "we will never try to get an injunction to stop imports or sales, pinkie swears, honest." So, if the ITC decision was upheld, then those patents would have been unenforceable.

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