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Comment I disagree that estimating cost is critical (Score 1) 169

Here's what you need to do:
1) Make sure that software-delivered idea is novel, useful, fits a strong need, and is going to be usable easily.
2) Hire the smartest developers you can who also are friendly and have a good work ethic.
3) Have a good process (e.g. OKRs) for ensuring focus (prioritized but adaptable focus).
4) Have a good process for exploratory development and iterations/sprints with re-prioritization after each version.
5) Have a good process for eliminating technical debt as you go.

Then you just have to trust that you'll get the best thing you could have got, in the time and money you allocate.

You have to hope that it's good enough to be a minimum viable product. If not, you simply couldn't afford to put together a software product in the first place, and no amount of estimating would have changed that.

Comment Re:Who wants to retire? (Score 1) 425

Retirement for me isn't stopping doing things, but choosing to do things that I want on a much more frequent basis than now. Also, probably a greater variety (work on 3 separate things for 10-15 hours per week, rather than the same thing for 40). Finally, a more flexible schedule, including no commute, the ability to skip days without giving an excuse, and the ability to pick which hours I'm busy. I won't stop being productive in some fashion until I'm physically unable, but it won't be "work" in remotely the same way.

Comment Re:What to talk about (Score 4, Informative) 152

No. F**k it. Internet pipes in your country are like the road network or the telephone network. It should be considered public infrastructure with egalitarian access.
It's pretty F'ing simple.

Getting rid of net neutrality regulations is like saying "It's ok. Just set up your highway robbery checkpoint in the middle of the on-ramp to the highway, but make sure to let your business partners limos through without paying the ransom."

Comment Re:Opposite (Score 4, Insightful) 425

I hear you. Fresh out of college, I figured I was smart and impressive enough to find a way to retire by 50. Preferably by becoming a world-famous novelist in the next few years, or a dot-com millionaire by the turn of the millennium. Basis: nothing but wishful thinking, and the belief that I sure as hell couldn't keep doing this work crud five days a week for half a century. (Oh yeah, I can also distinctly remember telling my brother, "I really think I'm meant to win the lottery. I know the odds are against it, but it should happen to me.")

By 35, married, dual income, no kids, I had a plan, based on actual, mathematical evidence (if with some optimistic assumptions) that I could retire at 60, with a paid-off house and a decent retirement fund.

In my mid-forties with kids and a spouse that stays home, past one really terrible financial mistake with a house, plus several minor financial setbacks at work, I'm now looking at 65, more likely. I still have my doubts about the sanity or feasibility of doing this work crud five days a week for a few decades, but at least I've now worked almost half of the mandatory time, so there's that.

Comment Just completes transformation of Internet into TV (Score 2) 152

because all good cable companies (and gubments) know that what consumers want is to be spoon-fed Pay TV, not to have general, flexible, peer to peer, decentralized (let's just come right out and say it "COMMUNISTIC") Internet. Please tell me I don't need sarcasm quotes around that.

Comment Re:Music and film are essential in two senses (Score 1) 66

I'm not sure we should be dictating commercial restrictions on the supply of all creative content to an entire continent based on the three people in that continent who are studying film or music analysis.

In any case, lots of people are commenting here as if forcing sales to the entire EU to be at the same price will bring the cheaper prices to the richer nations. It seems far more likely that it will bring the more expensive prices to the poorer nations. Your "background music" licence is exactly the kind of expendable luxury that could suffer under the more uniform regime.

Comment Re:Good or bad for customers? (Score 1) 66

Sorry, but that just isn't how economics works.

Firstly, market segmentation is absolutely routine, including by purchaser power. There are countless ways to appeal to people who can afford to spend more, and businesses do this all the time. Have you ever seen a box for a "coupon code" when you ordered something online? That's market segmentation in action. Post coupons to everyone on the poorer street in your example, and now everyone isn't paying the same price.

Secondly, as someone who actually runs some online facilities at-cost, I can tell you that it is a real problem for people in less well-off nations if your price online is the same everywhere. You can't lower the headline price because if everyone was paying the lower price then you literally couldn't afford to keep these services running at that point. However, then the people where salaries and costs of living are generally lower can't keep up, so they lose out. The kind of adjustment we're talking about here is the online equivalent of posting coupons to all the homes in the poor part of town.

The genuine, uniform market price you're talking about doesn't exist in most real markets, because most real markets are not uniform.

Comment Re:Wonder how it compares to Airlander (Score 1) 117

That accident sure was a black eye for them... but the design is now better because of it. Also, gotta love having an aircraft whose crashes are in slow motion ;) "Coming soon on World's Least Dramatic Air Crashes!"

I imagine for the pilot it was sort of like when you're driving down a slope on ice and you lose traction, and you end up skidding down the whole slope at a several kilometers per hour: First, alarm and futile attempts to regain control, followed by acceptance, then "Okay, you can stop any time now...."

Comment Re:Good or bad for customers? (Score 1) 66

You're talking about a monopoly situation. For works covered by copyright, that already exists in the sense that for any given work the rightsholders can decide to offer it only via certain channels.

However, unless those works are also essential, the customer still has the option not to buy them at all, and if the price is too high they will choose to spend their money elsewhere.

Moreover, while individual works may have a monopoly supplier, most creative works will be in competition with other works for providing information, entertainment, etc. Those competitive effects also moderate pricing, preventing the kind of "extraction" model you're talking about.

Around here, Amazon won the pricing war for most CD/DVD/Blu-ray content long ago, yet today it would still be cheaper for me to binge-watch a lot of TV shows through Netflix than through buying all the box sets. Amazon's prices for buying permanent copies of films or shows I really like on disc aren't much different to what they were a few years ago when you could still easily buy the same things in bricks and mortar stores.

Comment Re:Going Howard Hughes... (Score 3, Informative) 117

Airships are not party balloons; they don't "pop" when you make a hole in them. They have low overpressure and a huge volume to surface area, so a "bullethole" is just a slow leak; it's not even a reason to land. A helicopter is far more vulnerable to small arms fire than a helium airship.

As for what it buys over a helicopter, show me a helicopter that can move 50-500 tonnes payload at a per-kilogram rate cheaper than a freight truck while flying halfway around the world without refueling. Because that's what people are looking to build with this new generation of airships. Even Airlander 10, which is just a commercial prototype for the Airlander 50, carries more payload than the largest helicopter used by the US military, the Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion.

Comment Re:Going Howard Hughes... (Score 3, Interesting) 117

A common usecase for large airships is remote mining operations. They need big, heavy pieces of equipment brought into places without roads. Currently, the first step is to build a road - which is expensive and environmentally destructive. An airship needs only a clearing - and the "skycrane" variants don't even need that.

Another advantage is that it's much easier to design them to carry "bulky" cargoes than airplanes. Again, especially "skycrane" designs where the cargo hangs beneath.

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