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Comment Way to drive away your most loyal customers (Score 3, Insightful) 58

Oh AT&T, you could've had me as a life long customer. I only use a reasonable amount of data, but the allure of my unlimited plan would have kept me bound to you for life. Instead you are pricing out your most loyal customers. Once the limited data plans becomes more price competitive than than the grandfathered unlimited plan for the amount of data I typically use, I will certainly be evaluating all options open to me.. And I may choose Verizon for better service or TMobile for better international roaming and more/unlimited data.

Comment Re: Oblig. XKCD (Score 2) 716

It's more complicated than that. There is lot of inertia for existing users and applications to move to a new standard. Sometimes there are very good practical reasons why this is the case. If there is a critical mass of users/applications that are on the old standard, it will remain a standard and continue to develop, even if the new one is better/more complete. This very often explains how you got to 14 competing standards to begin with..

Comment Re:Uber is the problem! Let's ban it! (Score 1) 91

This.. People often miss the ground realities when proposing "simple" solutions.

So, a little bit of reality here...

In India, what we take for granted as a "background check" is actually not possible. While here in the US we have a massive database called NCIC (which is really the name of the organization that runs it, but everyone calls it NCIC anyways) there's not really such a clearinghouse in India. The individual municipalities keep their own records...often on paper...about past crimes, but there's no centralized source where you can go and check. As a result, "background checks" basically don't exist, because they are exercises in futility unless you're looking to check on a specific event related to a person.

Now, to be 100% accurate, I will say that India did just recently create a centralized database, a year ago I believe. But the database is barely getting any input at all at this point. And on top of that, fake documentation is really easy to obtain in India, there's a lot of corruption...there's a larger systemic issue with just being able to take someone's unique identifying information and do a "background check" to make sure they haven't been convicted of raping a whole school or something in the past.

I've run into this before, with regard to situations where certain kinds of business processes and information handling couldn't be outsourced because of regulatory requirements for background checks, but I also found an interesting analysis that is in the context of this situation with Uber:

Comment Re: No way! (Score 1) 514

Not disputing the exploitation in individual cases, or even as an aggregate. But that isn't what the OP is claiming. Since he mentioned "bill cheaper to your customers" he implied that it is common place for companies to price out their services based on immigration status of the workers, rather than skill or experience level. ie. By his logic invoices would be provided as follows.. "We can provide xx services for a) $20 - US citizen, b) $15 Green card holders c) $10 H1B from India or d) $0 Slave labor

Comment Re:No way! (Score 1) 514

It's obvious to pretty much everyone that a fleet of off-shore or H1B programmers bill cheaper to your customer than supplying them with actual citizens who can do the same job.

That's common sense.

Why? Unless discrimination is in some way common sense, I don't get it. The actual country of citizenship shouldn't effect how much someone gets paid/billed? How does this "common sense" logic apply to legal residents (green card holders) who are neither US citizens, nor H1B's?

Since you expect to have wage discrimination purely based on country of citizenship, I wonder what you think is the right price is for a labor force from a certain continent below Europe? hmm.. I wonder if you think it should be zero - That would surely explain the rest of your "common sense" logic.

Comment Re:Whats the problem? (Score 1) 147

WABC7 loses negotiating power with existing cable companies. The big barrier to entry in the cable industry is distribution. You either need cables - usually most neighborhoods are wired for a single cable, or you needs satellites/dishes. This lowers the barrier to entry to just about anyone - not just Aerero. Currently if WABC7 disagrees with Comcast over some negotiation, and it withholds distribution to ABC, or ESPN, Comcast will end up with a lot of very angry customers - which gives WABC7 tremendous power during negotiations.

Conversely - competition will drive down prices across the board, reducing Comcast's ability to pay WABC7's rates.

Ultimately there will be room for both, since the cable companies own the pipes, and there are advantages to having TV be independent of internet, but this will level the playing field significantly - Think of what the low cost airline industry did to aviation.

The Comcast - NBC - TWC merger is a strategic play to get ahead of precisely this scenario.

Comment Re:Fresh Direct (Score 1) 193

Manhattan real estate is crazy. While a doorman does have a premium, in general the neighborhood and address matters much more to the price/wealth of the residents than amenities like a doorman. A an apartment in a crappy 5th floor walk-up building in the west village will be worth far more than a doorman building on the far upper east side. On the flip side, since doormen buildings in the West Village are scarce, they do have a huge premium over non doorman buildings in the same neighborhood.

Also being a doorman building is usually the result of decisions usually made 30-50-100 years ago, and these are not easily reversible regardless how rich/poor the current residents are.

Comment Re:pen and paper (Score 4, Interesting) 217

Livescribe. It's amazing. (

It is Pen + Paper, but everything written down is also digitized, searchable, synced to evernote etc. The pen is also a time synced voice recorder. When you go back to your notes (if you recorded the audio), you can tap on any word, and the audio corresponding to that point in time will start playing. You can now even start taking additional notes as the audio is playing. This can simplify your note taking to mostly just marking bookmarks, and noting your own thoughts, instead of transcribing what is being said.

While the paper is proprietary, the cost is quite reasonable, and it is possible (fully supported by Livescribe) to print your own. They are not operating on a Razor/Cartridge business model.

If you do not need wifi sync, you can get the Echo pen for really cheap, Look for the refurbished 4GB or 8GB Echo pens on the Livescribe site.

Comment Can a gesture even be patented? (Score 3, Funny) 503

If a gesture to produce a result can be patented "Pinch to Zoom", maybe I should then patent the following.
* Swallow pill to cure: Every orally delivered medicine, past and future now owes me big time
* Push button to Switch on: Every device in existence will now have to invent a new gesture to switch itself on.
* Click button to Submit: Most websites and applications..
* Pull handle to open: All doors.

This isn't about prior art, it is about what is patentable: The implementation (invention) or the gesture to interact with the implementation.

Comment Javascript and Google Script (Spreadsheet) (Score 1) 386

Easiest way to get started is to build web apps in Javascript built on Google spreadsheets (Google Script). All you need is a web browser, and access to Google Drive.
Go to Google Drive, create a spreadsheet. In your spreadsheet, go to Tools/Script Editor. This will open a web based editor in your browser, and you can start programming. Click on Publish/Deploy as a web app, and now you're set. Build anything from simple functions used within your spreadsheet to full fledged web apps with a user interface. Easy as pie.

The pretty good book on Google Script will get you started in no time.

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