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Comment Re:Why is this news? Look at 1999 market cap... (Score 1) 223

I don't dispute that software can have more value than hard assets or hardware. But I dispute the implication that market cap is the correct measurement way to declare a winner in any "battle of ideas" between companies (especially companies as different as Apple and Exxon Mobil).

In Dec 1999, MSFT was top market cap at over half a trillion in market capitalization. One year later, they dropped to 5th after losing over $350b in market cap. And only 3 months after that, they jump back to 2nd after gaining nearly $100b in market cap.

The suggestion that market cap is an accurate value of a company's "ideas" would hold more merit if that measurement wasn't based on the whim of an investor in an inefficient--potentially volatile--market.

Does Apple have great ideas? Undoubtedly. Are they better than Exxon Mobil? I don't know. But I think using market cap is a piss poor way to determine a winner.


Comment Why is this news? Look at 1999 market cap... (Score 1) 223

Back in 1999 (before the tech bubble burst), Microsoft was the company with the largest market cap. And they made less hardware then (this was pre-Xbox) than Apple does today.

They were over 2x larger than Exxon Mobil in market cap at the end of 1999.

Is ComputerWorld implying that back in 1999 Microsoft had "ideas" that were more valuable than Exxon Mobil?


Comment Re:Did they pay it back? (Score 2) 499

Did they pay it back? Page 2 of the GAO report: "To date, most of the Reserve Banksâ(TM) emergency loans have been repaid, and FRBNY projects repayment on all outstanding loans."

Did they pay interest? Page 17: "To ease stresses in these markets, on August 17, 2007, the Federal Reserve Board made two temporary changes to the terms at which Reserve Banks extended loans through the discount window. First, it approved the reduction of the discount rateâ"the interest rate at which the Reserve Banks extended collateralized loans at the discount windowâ"by 50 basis points."

A reduction in the interest rate by 0.50%. The discount rate was already pretty low IIRC.

What basically happened was all the banks were terrified of lending money to each other because of counterparty risk (banks weren't sure of their counterparties' exposure to credit default swaps). So there was a credit crisis since noone wanted to risk lending any money to each other for daily business operations. So the fed stepped in and offered tons of cheap credit so that the banks could continue to operate.


Comment Beautiful, isn't it? (Score 1) 70

Fox: You took my sonar concept and applied it to every phone in the city. With half the city feeding you sonar, you can image all of Gotham. This is wrong.

Batman: I've got to find this man, Lucius.

Fox: At what cost?

Batman: The database is null-key encrypted. It can only be accessed by one person.

Fox: This is too much power for one person.

Batman: It's why I gave it to you. Only you can use it.

Fox: Spying on 30 million people isn't part of my job description.

Batman: This is an audio sample. If he talks within range of any phone in the city, you can triangulate his position.

Fox: I'll help you this one time. But consider this my resignation. As long as this machine is in Wayne Enterprises, I won't be.

Batman: When you're finished, type in your name.

Comment TED talk with a 2007 version (Score 4, Informative) 107

Photosynth was showcased in a mid 2007 TED talk. You can find it here.

It would be nice to have photosynths of monuments, art, or architecture that have been damaged or destroyed (e.g. the Buddhas dynamited in Afghanistan, the churches that collapsed in the 2009 Italy earthquake) from tourist photos that may be floating out in the interwebs.

Comment Re:Here's an idea (Score 1) 917

There will likely be a huge outcry amongst the doctors/biologists too when the first astronaut/cosmonaut dies on Mars about what to do with the body.

The human body is filled with bacteria. Keeping it in the habitat will likely be a health risk. And burying it in the Martian ground risks contamination of Mars with terrestrial bacteria--which may or may not complicate the search for Martian microbes.

Comment Re:Print it! (Score 1) 633

I wouldn't rely on digital media. Despite your family's digital obsession, I'd stick with the objects that are tangible. Paper, metal, plastic, fabric. Things that don't degrade for 17 years. Some ideas:

- one stock certificate of Google and/or Apple stock

- something from the Beijing Olympics (one year ago) like one of those collectible pins (that people trade all the time)

- a business book just before the market took a nosedive (e.g. Dow 40,000 would be good)

- a set of bumper stickers from the 2008 presidential election

Comment Re:My call... (Score 1) 358

If you want to keep these jokers on the line, just sound old and confused.

Their scam targets the elderly. You might have sounded too young so they just hung up. But if you pretend you're over 65, hard of hearing, and confused how your 2007 Buick Regal's warranty is expiring, they'll be all over you.

And that's when you string them along for hours...once they do find out that you're not actually old, their fury at being strung along for so long would be delicious.

Comment Use board-appropriate RAC for phpBB (Score 1) 522

This page was really helpful for us.

For smaller forums and niche boards, a board-appropriate question and answer is usually sufficient to stop nearly all spam accounts.

I'm a member of a guild for an online game and a couple of years ago we were seeing alot of spam accounts created on our phpBB forums. After reading the above site, we then installed Registration Authorization Code (RAC) and asked a game-related question in addition to using CAPTCHA for account creation.

We assumed most bots create spam accounts based on the default account creation settings in phpBB. By inserting our question into the account creation process, we've probably stopped 99% of the bots. But if it was an actual human creating a spam account, asking a simple question via RAC would be an ineffective deterrent. Therefore, we used a question requiring a game-specific knowledge (appropriate for real applicants and nearly impossible for spammers).

After implementing the above, we've had no more spam accounts created while having no problems with real account registrations.

Comment Re:Brainfart (Score 1) 374

Just because amateur rocketeers reach 100k feet, doesn't mean the blimp is going to be sitting directly above a launcher.

Look at this graph.

If the goals of the dirigible are for observation and reconnaissance, then you have over 500 miles of line of sight to the horizon. With sophisticated cameras and sensor equipment, there's no need to park it over land.

So this dirigible can sit 350 miles off a coast (well out of range of all land-based SAMs including Russia's new S-400) at 65,000 feet (likely a lowball estimate) and can see 150 miles inland.

Of course, a fighter can go out and engage the dirigible, but at 350 miles out, it's over international waters. And noone is going to believe that a blimp was successful in ramming a fighter...

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