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Comment India, China, Fracking ... (Score 4, Informative) 110

Last time oil hit almost 150$ a barrel, and stayed well above 100$ for a longtime after that, all the airlines were squeezed dry. Southwest alone prospered it had locked in oil at 60$ a barrel for several years and it was riding high. It was making so much profit on oil desk, it was rumored SEC is going to classify it as a energy trader and not a transporter. Some airlines were prohibited by the regulators to buy options and were forced buy in the spot market. Airlines have learnt their lesson well. When the oil crashed below 40$ most of them have locked in oil at low prices. So they are sort of protected from oil shocks.

And China and India are booming. The largest airplane order was from Indica, a domestic airline from India. 410 orders for Airbus 320. Airbus with their government funding is able to give them very long lease terms and guaranteed buy back price. Boeing needs to raise cash on commercial paper, Airbus does so on government underwritten bonds. But that is a different story.

Confluence of these factors, and a general belief that oil is never going to exceed 100$ ever again is fueling the optimism and large airplane orders. Oil producers trying to kick their oil dependence are trying to become transportation centers. Now a days it is impossible to beat the fares offered by Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Etihad to India/China from USA. So even the oil states are investing in airplanes.

They believe the moment oil goes above 60, fracking becomes profitable again. At 80, the fracking will flood the market with over supply and oil will slideback.

Comment Re:*All* pay rates will TANK when robots come in! (Score 1) 321

Because if robots take up a lot of jobs, then ALL the workforce is going to be fighting for the remaining few jobs and the value of labor will tank!

We're in a market folks! If there are a bunch of unemployed people, an employer will be able to find someone willing to do YOUR job for less.

"Fortunately" industry has shown great reluctance to hire unemployed people so they won't directly weigh down salaries all that much. Of course, if you are already unemployed you are screwed and if those currently working are terrified of becoming unemployed that will certainly limit salaries.

Comment Re:I don't worry... (Score 1) 321

If a robot ever replace my IT support job, I would have already moved on to something else. The days of spending 50 years in the same job to collect a pension and gold watch are long gone.

It isn't just the job you have that is at risk of being replaced by automation. It is also the jobs that you would move to. Further, if the trend is accelerating then the time between becoming adequately trained to do a job and when it becomes unavailable due to automation. At some point, this period may shrink to zero or even negative (The job disappears before you can obtain the skills necessary to perform it)

Comment Re:Looks like power surge issue (Score 1) 44

Thinking about it, it is a very good way to nudge the user to stay on the upgrade treadmill!

Create a special circuit to detect the battery's surge current delivery capacity. This is a good indicator of how old the battery is, and good indicator of how old the phone is. Internally throttle the clock based on the current delivery capacity. Thus as the battery ages, the phone slows down. Slowly, over time, imperceptably to the user. Then two years later, when they see a new phone, it is zippy by comparison.

The only counter point is throttling the clock extends battery life and the users might get used to much longer endurance. So the phone should also drain the battery internally slowly so that it never exceeds the "expected" endurance in a predictable way.

Yes, this is devious and diabolical. If there is a strong competitor who might actually deliver undegraded performance and long battery life one might worry. But if you convince your user base to stick to you even when the competitor beats you on performance metrics ... then why bother. Just wring the user dry for every last cent you could.

Comment Re:Inadvertently attached to an unintended recieve (Score 2) 62

The question is how hard you hard you try to interpret the subpoena language as restrictively as possible. If you own the data you can fight very hard and spend lots of resources and lawyers to make absolutely sure you don't turn in anything outside the purview. But if it is not your data and if it is no skin off your teeth, you only spend just enough to satisfy the contract language with your customer.

The customer knows what is really valuable, guess the motivation of the other party and know what one should try to protect and what one should disclose to decrease signal to noise ratio. One side wants an expanded fishing expedition. The other side wants to draw red herrings across the trail. In this high stakes game, bringing in a third party who may be able to provide the data makes things difficult. The only way to proceed is to make sure the third party vendors can not physically deliver the data. Even if the code runs on the vendors servers, there should be no permanent data stored there. Not even encrypted version of the entire data base. Defendant will be forced to disclose the encryption keys, and the vendor might be able to decrypt it all.

Comment Looks like power surge issue (Score 2) 44

As far as I’m able to understand what happened here, Apple found that sudden spikes of activity to the maximum power draw could cause older batteries, which had some mileage on them, to deliver power in an uneven manner, which would cause an emergency shutdown of the devices

So some older batteries are not able to support higher draw. They might have tweaked the scheduler not to launch too many jobs at the same time or throttle some jobs or even slow down the clock at high loads.

Comment Re:The US ranks with Mexico? (Score 2) 99

Yes, I agree with you. There are some jobs Americans find so loathsome and beneath their dignity they would not do it no matter how much you pay them. Most agricultural, seasonal and fast food work does not fall into that category. But I concede there are a very small number of such jobs that Americans find it beneath them. Like marrying pervert billionaires, you have import their wives from some eastern European countries.

Comment Missed a y, claims honest typo. (Score 4, Funny) 24

The founder of that company claimed that he was merely smart person and a phony dealer. He meant to register "Smartphony" as the brand name to hawk "Rs 251 Smartphony". Once you pay 251 rupees and get a brick you would realize the device was phony not phone. And the buyer will learn the lesson, become smart and not fall prey to such scams in the future.

But the autocorrect changed it to smartphone and caused all this misunderstanding. He plans to sue to auto correct software vendor for defamation, slander and scurrilous calumnies.

Comment Inadvertently attached to an unintended reciever.. (Score 2, Interesting) 62

Waymo was inadvertently copied on an e-mail from one of its vendors, which had an attachment showing an Uber lidar circuit board that had a "striking resemblance" to Waymo's design, according to the complaint

Remember the thread yesterday about police subpoenaing Amazaon's Alexa recordings on a murder investigation? Can an email provider such as google or microsoft be required to supply email threads in a discovery proceeding? What about third party planning/scheduling/defect management/configuration management software? It is one thing if the data resides in the customer's computers/servers and the software vendor never had access to the data. But now a days I see lots of "cloud based" software doing this. Many companies use companies with names like AgileRally or CloudCentral. The entire history of user stories, discussions, projects plans, defects and corrections are archived at some fine grained detail in their servers. If they get subpoenaed in some discovery proceeding on such a patent lawsuit, how strongly would they protect their client's confidentiality? They might have contract to protect it, but at some point the cost of protecting the client might not be worth it for them and they might throw them under the bus.

Unless it is impossible for them to get the data. It is possible to create the system such that all the databases reside in the client's computer or servers. The software provider's site only runs the code and all access to the data base are funneled through client's servers and it would be impossible for the vendor to get the data without the cooperation of the client. Unless such protections are employed it would be a folly for R&D heavy companies to house their data outside their servers.

Submission + - The race for autonomous cars is over. Silicon Valley lost. (

schwit1 writes: Up until very recently the talk in Silicon Valley was about how the tech industry was going to broom Detroit into the dustbin of history. Companies such as Apple, Google, and Uber — so the thinking went -were going to out run, out gun, and out innovate the automakers. Today that talk is starting to fade. There's a dawning realization that maybe there's a good reason why the traditional car companies have been around for more than a century.

Last year Apple laid off most of the engineers it hired to design its own car. Google (now Waymo) stopped talking about making its own car. And Uber, despite its sky high market valuation, is still a long, long way from ever making any money, much less making its own autonomous cars.

To paraphrase Elon Musk, Silicon Valley is learning that "Making rockets is hard, but making cars is really hard." People outside of the auto industry tend to have a shallow understanding of how complex the business really is. They think all you have to do is design a car and start making it. But most startups never make it past the concept car stage because the move to mass production proves too daunting.

Comment Re:Always Assuming... (Score 1) 88

How do you think every single human will die in the next 200 years? Who's going to hunt humans to extinction if we don't find aliens? A nuclear war might work, but even that is no guarantee (ending the comforts of modern civilization is different than no humans). Overpopulation, assuming it even happens, would just lead to a population crash as people die from disease and starvation.

An engineered plague might do it, though it would take some significant engineering to ensure that no natural resistance exists about billions of humans. It has the advantage of easy spread to non-combatants and rural dwellers.

I don't think nuclear war would do it, at least not without a huge increase in the number of nuclear armed states. Humans are resourceful and getting an extinction level event would require hitting improbable places like South America and Pacific islands.

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