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Comment Only its "Prime" customers come first... (Score 4, Interesting) 110

My own data points as a non-prime customer...
- Not that long ago items purchased using "free shipping" arrived at my door 2-4 days after order; now its 2 weeks.
- Free shipping orders seem to sit in a queue for up to 10 calendar days before being shipped now.
- I've seen items in shopping cart suddenly get flagged as 'we're sorry, this product is now only available for Prime customers' and moved to the second cart.
- With paid 2-day shipping, my items hang around 2-4 days before being shipped.

For me, this all happened RIGHT as I was about to finally purchase Prime. Since I noticed this, I will never purchase Prime. And I've started shopping around for all my large purchases again, which are now made mostly elsewhere.

Comment Re:And this led me off Windows Desktop... (Score 1) 275

heh, probably the same, I don't know of any other kbonin's at SSI, I was there from late gold box to shortly before the big sell out. I spent most of the next decade in games (EA, Bethesda, some startups) before moving to enterprise security, came to learn FAR more than I wished about the messes at Microsoft. From having to reverse engineer Word to figure out just how it could scroll the screen faster than the public APIs do (pre GDI, Word was using a hack of outputting to a printer driver with certain flag settings to get to screen,) to pretty much every subsequent generation, right through Azure today. Microsoft is an amazingly predatory corporation. The previous generation of "nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM" has just moved to "Microsoft". Intelligent at capturing as much revenue as possible, but quite predatory. Between their loss of mobile and the crashing importance of the desktop, I'm looking forward to them collapsing. Until then I have to keep supporting Azure, but even the most obtuse PHB will eventually get upset at the huge and increasing percentage of revenue Microsoft siphons off your product on Azure vs. AWS.

Comment And this led me off Windows Desktop... (Score 4, Interesting) 275

Microsoft has decided they own your computer, so (&*#^%$ em...
Been using Windows desktop since 3.1, mostly for work and gaming, helped move the games industry off DOS4GW to Windows a long time ago. And this sort of crap has moved me from Win 10 to dual boot Win10/Linux Mint, soon to remove the Win10 partition. I've moved almost my work onto Mint, only use Win10 when I have to run a Windows app, and the few left there I'll be exploring Wine or relocating into a Win10 VM. Steam provided great Linux versions of enough of my games I no longer need Windows, and my job is moving from C++ on Windows + Linux to JS on Azure & AWS, so no longer need Windows desktop for anything bur work corporate apps and have throwaway laptop for that. Good riddance.
Will be helping all interested friends make the same transition.

Comment Is this really good or bad? (Score 3, Interesting) 74

Part of me wants to joke about China continuing to move to its own walled garden to control information flow. But then I think about the abysmal state of the media in the US, how most all major news organizations are now for-profit puppets pushing propaganda designed to enrich their owners, even to the point of demonstrating complicity in what would have been a major scandal (you see proof of election fraud and you fire the people collecting the data proving its occurring? really???), and I wonder if anything of value was lost. Media has gone from the "fourth branch of government", providing a historically critical check and balance, to yet another tool of those pulling the strings behind government. I wonder how many people realize the extent to which worldwide institutions are failing...

Comment Re:Heads will roll (Score 5, Interesting) 154

Historically, nations that follow these sorts of practices become self-limiting in their ability to cause widespread geopolitical problems, at least pushing it out a few generations. Other nations have stunted their technical and scientific growth massively in the past, for reasons which make little sense today, like China destroying the largest navy in the known history of the earth in 1525 and banning construction of ships with more than two masts.

Comment AI suspect, AI run offsite by Corporation? Nope... (Score 3, Interesting) 151

I love how every new cool thing HAS to live offsite in some cloud, i.e. in completely opaque manner by an increasingly remote corporation, that far more often than not views its cool thing as nothing more than yet another vector to collect data about its users and market that data to advertisers and aggregators, since that's becoming more profitable than selling cool things. We're becoming surrounded by untrustworthy devices and platforms funneling away all the data they can. Nobody really cares about knowing what sort of cat pictures we prefer, but the power and control possible by proper analysis of all of this data, even in aggregate, is becoming somewhat alarming. AI may have cool potential (I study it myself), but I'm worried about the modern application and misuse of tools facilitating deeper interactions and the analysis thereof... No major modern corporation (or government) has demonstrated itself to be trustworthy in any traditional sense, and many border on psychopathic...

Comment Re:Yes, good job FCC!!! (Score 4, Insightful) 135

Stingrays, (aka Cell-site simulators, IMSI catchers) also violate these FCC regulations and ARE in WIDE use by law enforcement in the US from the federal level all the way down to small town police departments and many misc. state and federal agencies. And I'd argue that intercepting, monitoring, and recording all cell activity in an area, almost always without a warrant, is a far more egregious crime than just jamming cell devices nearby. But its been made pretty clear the laws no longer apply to those who "enforce them" on the plebes...

Comment Re:Interesting problem... (Score 1) 183

IP is the biggest problem in being to operate even a small scale business without running a loss. UL (, CE) and FCC are relatively modest engineering and financial hurdles, they just require consideration during design and paying certification labs. For a simple product that's under $100k, been there many times, actually kind of fun (other than writing the check.) The problem is if you're making something really simple like an outlet or dimmer, it has to compete against the $10 Chinese devices with X10 or ZigBee support, and it costs YOU that much to have it made there and shipped here, so how do you make any money? You can't with such lower end devices. If you do manage to innovate sufficiently to charge $20, then thanks to IP knock-offs can appear here for $11 before your prototypes arrive you hoped to get certified. Meanwhile the knock-offs with fake UL, CE, and FCC stamps start appearing at WallMart, and when you try and get them to sell yours they inform you they already have a cheaper supplier. Who is a shell company owned by the company you contracted to make yours.

Comment Interesting problem... (Score 2) 183

As a developer of custom hardware and software, I'd LOVE to make products in this space. However:
1) Most people are trained to look for cheapest prices for devices, which are (for the most part) made in third-world sweatshops.
2) To provide a competitive price, you have to manufacture in volume in third-world sweatshops.
3) Due to lack of functioning IP protections in third-world countries, manufacturing there means instantly creating many competitors you cant compete with.
4) If you're willing to give up most of the world markets, you can still only compete against imports by spending lots on lawyers for ITC import games.

In their defense, "cloud" components provide a way to monetize the product in a manner somewhat resistant to third-world knockoffs and late shift runs to your competitors, as well as provide a user-friendly front end that you can tune without requiring the customers to update software, which is always a nightmare. That said, there is NO moral defense against the wholesale "all your data belongs to us, we can sell anything to anyone as long as we anonymize (sic) it" games that are played today. That said, for most modern corporations there are no such thing as morals.

I'm not aware of realistic ways to bring such products to market that are price competitive AND can provide sufficient income stream to recover initial investments, cover ongoing operating costs for a small team, and turn even a modest profit. Not in this world.

Comment Re:Welcome to the 1990s, part 2: (Score 3, Interesting) 140

Heh, THIS.

Anyone involved in the pitching or management of a VC funded startup will tell you - the purpose of the company is NOT to build a company, the purpose of the company is to create an acquisition target.

The VCs will actively pushback against product release, even against investing too much in building product over building hype to improve the value as an acquisition target.

Comment Re:No shit (Score 4, Interesting) 151

Your example is actually incorrect. According to current interpretation of the Commerce Clause, there is no such thing as a local market exempt from federal control, as under the precedent of Wickard v. Filburn; SCOTUS: "[b]ut even if appellee's activity be local and though it may not be regarded as commerce, it may still, whatever its nature, be reached by Congress if it exerts a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce and this irrespective of whether such effect is what might at some earlier time have been defined as 'direct' or 'indirect". And that word "substantial", despite sounding so reasonable, was applied in its initial case to a single farmer who chose to feed his own cows his own grain instead of buying feed, so "substantial" under current precedent has already been scoped down to include things you do on your own land with your own property. I'll state again - the Constitution has been reinterpreted to mean nearly the opposite of what it actually says, in practice. You are free to be a consumer of approved goods you use in approved ways without asking permission, but you have few remaining unencumbered freedoms even on your own land. If you feel otherwise you aren't paying attention.

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