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Amazon's Ambitious Bets Pile Up, and Its Losses Swell

afgam28 Re:This is how business should be done (168 comments)

Ever noticed how Amazon consistently breaks even every quarter? Sure there's like a hundred million loss, or sometimes profit in other quarters, but that's nothing when quarterly revenue is $20 billion. The company knows how much money is coming in, and they're using all of their profit to invest in their infrastructure, and grow out their businesses. They could decide at any moment to stop doing this, and the company would become hugely profitable overnight.

But their revenue last quarter is about 25% higher than it was this time last year, and it has consistently been seeing this kind of growth for years. The right thing for Amazon to do, from a shareholder's perspective, is to keep investing and ride out this wave of growth for as long as it lasts. To do otherwise would be to give up their long-term position just to maximize their short-term quarterly profits.

So to answer your question, "long term" happens when sales growth disappears, and the investments that Amazon makes into its infrastructure no longer provide any returns. With the sales growth that Amazon is seeing right now, this is clearly not the right time to stop building out the company.

2 days ago

Chromebooks Are Outselling iPads In Schools

afgam28 Re:Good (221 comments)

That is also true of Windows and Mac laptops, at the kids' schools and their parents' offices.

3 days ago

Firefox 31 Released

afgam28 Re: We are wise to this (171 comments)

Once you've figured out what you're pissed off about, don't forget to go to Mozilla and demand your money back.

5 days ago

Facebook's Emotion Experiment: Too Far, Or Social Network Norm?

afgam28 Re: I think it's fine (219 comments)

That's what I thought when I read it too. I wonder if Slashdot did an a/b test with its moderation system and did some sentiment analysis on the resulting comments, would there be the same outrage?

about a month ago

Study Finds Porn Exposure Associated With Smaller Brain Region

afgam28 Re:Does Size Matter? (211 comments)

Does size matter? Not when you're fapping to porn I guess.

about 2 months ago

Is Google CEO's "Tiny Bubble Car" Yahoo CEO's "Little Bubble Car"?

afgam28 Re:what's wrong with public transportation? (190 comments)

All government services are based on "theft" of resources from people who don't use that government service. This includes the roads that private cars drive on, which are funded in part by gasoline taxes but mostly through non-user-pays revenue streams such as income taxes.

about 2 months ago

HR Chief: Google Sexual, Racial Diversity "Not Where We Want to Be"

afgam28 Re:Who gives a shit? (593 comments)

I think there are two problems. The first is that if you assume that women are a) not inherently less qualified to do tech jobs and b) given an equal opportunity, then it would be reasonable to expect that 50% of Googlers would be women. But obviously the data shows that the ratio is much lower, so one of those assumptions is incorrect.

If you believe that the first assumption is incorrect - that women are inherently less qualified - then sure I can see why you think this is not a problem. Maybe you think they have different brains or something. But society as a whole, and Google's hiring department in particular, don't believe that, and so the logical conclusion is that women are not given equal opportunity.

I hope that you can see why that is clearly a problem. It might not be the fault of Google's hiring process - it could be a bias in the education system, or the exclusionary "bro culture" in the tech industry, or something else in some other part of society. Whatever it is, there's some subconscious bias somewhere that is holding women back, and figuring out where that is coming from could unlock a lot of potential talent, as well as making the world a fairer place.

So that's the first problem. The second problem is: who the fuck, male or female, wants to live in a place that is a complete sausage-fest? It's gotten so bad that it doesn't just affect individual companies or university departments anymore - in the Bay Area the gender ratio of the entire city of "Man Jose" is all fucked up.

about 2 months ago

Thousands of Europeans Petition For Their 'Right To Be Forgotten'

afgam28 Re: Insanity (224 comments)

That's what I find so strange about this ruling. Search engines like Google have to remove links to certain articles, but newspapers and journalists are explicitly protected when publishing said articles.

This is kind of like legalizing piracy while at the same time forcing The Pirate Bay to remove links.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Tech Customers Forced Into Supporting Each Other?

afgam28 Re:Start a company selling support. (253 comments)

Although most of us only have experience with open source and consumer products, and the support forums that come with them, the OP is most annoyed with niche proprietary software tool vendors:

it's completely unacceptable when dealing with proprietary design tool vendors that are charging several thousand dollars for software licenses for tools that are the only option if a customer doesn't want to drop an order of magnitude more money to go with 3rd party tools (e.g., Synopsys)

For these tools, your employer usually pays tens of thousands of dollars for support contracts, which are meant to include direct support from engineers. It's unlikely that any third party will have the ability to provide support for such products, because:

1. You need access to source code and the ability to make changes and release patches.
2. The tools are so niche that you won't be able to find people who know enough about the software to provide support.
3. Even if you could, you need licenses to reproduce the issues that your customers are reporting to you. The cost of licenses for things like Verilog synthesizers from Synopsys (which are not cheap!) would need to be passed on to your customers.

about 2 months ago

Percentage of Elderly In Japan Continues to Grow as Number of Children Drops

afgam28 Re:This may be crass but... (283 comments)

Having lived in both Japan and the US, I've noticed that people in Japan tend to think "living in a small town would be inconvenient because I wouldn't be able to get to a train" whereas people in the US tend to think "living in a big city would be inconvenient because I wouldn't be able to drive my car".

So the Japanese tend to be drawn towards large cities (about 60% live in one of the 3 biggest metro areas - Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya) and Americans tend to self-organize into a fairly uniformly sparse suburban environment.

It's interesting how people can't seem to see beyond their society's local maxima, but anyway this leads to vastly different ideas of what it means to be "overpopulated".

When I lived in Japan I didn't find it to be overpopulated at all, even in the middle of Tokyo. The high population density isn't a problem that needs solving - it's a defining characteristic that makes the city great, and has attracted 35 million people to live there. There are plenty of rural backwaters north of Tokyo in Tohoku but not many people want to live there.

So what for? If a society prefers large cities, why not let them self-organize into a two or three big cities? Which is what Japan has pretty much already done.

about 3 months ago

Let Spouses of H-1B Visa Holders Work In US, Says White House

afgam28 Re:seems like a back door (566 comments)

Yeah, let's restrict access to scientific knowledge, and make sure those third worlders are stuck in poverty forever. That'll make the world a better place!

about 3 months ago

Let Spouses of H-1B Visa Holders Work In US, Says White House

afgam28 Re:seems like a back door (566 comments)

I think you're asking the wrong question too. Why should I care what the US GDP per capita is? What matters to me is the global GDP per capita, and how that is distributed.

about 3 months ago

Death Wish Meets GPS: iPhone Theft Victims Confronting Perps

afgam28 Re:Funding (664 comments)

To be fair, Ford no longer manufactures the Crown Victoria so this is not an option for police departments anymore.

A top-of-the-range SRT Charger costs about $47k MSRP and not all cops are driving around in SRTs (except maybe Highway Patrol?). With the model that the police are buying, together with the "police package", they're paying $42k (according to and I doubt the Crown Vics would've been much cheaper than that.

Having said that I totally agree with you that US police departments are not allocating resources effectively.

about 3 months ago

Bill Gates & Twitter Founders Put "Meatless" Meat To the Test

afgam28 Re:The diffciulty in getting carnivores to switch (466 comments)

This paper shows the difference between the content of mechanically-separated and hand-separated meats (see tables 2 and 3). There's less protein, and more ash and bone in the mechanically separated stuff, so it is different nutritionally.

Also it's not "half the animal"; the amount of extra meat recovered from mechanical separation is probably only a few percent at most. And anyway, there are other ways to use the rest of the animal, such as making soup stock or bone meal. We wouldn't have to waste anything if we stopped making pink slime.

about 3 months ago

Bill Gates & Twitter Founders Put "Meatless" Meat To the Test

afgam28 Re:The diffciulty in getting carnivores to switch (466 comments)

A good steak really is an amazing thing, and no meat substitute is likely to replace it. A fake meat product that is made from "peas and plants" doesn't sound anywhere near as nice as a rare filet mignon, but it still sounds a lot better than mechanically separated pink slime and the mystery meats that fast food restaurants put in burgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, etc.

It's still early days and I'm sure this Beyond Meat product will get cheaper, to the point where this could replace the low-grade meat that is so common in the food industry. This would be a massive win in terms of animal welfare, sustainability, nutrition and maybe even cost to consumers.

I suspect that a lot of people would prefer vegetables that have most of the taste, texture and protein of meat, rather than food that is grown in horrific conditions but technically meets the definition of meat despite being quite different nutritionally.

about 3 months ago

Russia Writes Off 90 Percent of North Korea Debt

afgam28 Re:One this is for sure. (234 comments)

Maybe the Russians are just writing off their losses? I've got no idea about the terms of the loan, but if someone owed me a ridiculous amount of money that I knew would never be paid back, I'd settle for 10% of it and a commitment to a payment plan.

about 3 months ago

The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

afgam28 Re:What happened to that undergrad? (183 comments)

I'm not sure what the author means when he says that the student was "lost to history", because at the end of the article he says that it was Diane Hartley.

The BBC aired a special on the Citicorp Center crisis, and one of its viewers was Diane Hartley. It turns out that she was the student in LeMessurier’s story.

Her name is also mentioned in some papers on engineering ethics:

about 3 months ago

San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

afgam28 Re:Gentrification? (359 comments)

A cheap car (like a Toyota Corolla or Honda Fit) costs about $5000+/year to own. If you get rid of that car and live in a place where you don't need one (i.e. San Francisco) you've got about $400 extra per month that you can spend on rent. So you don't have to be rich to spend $1900/month, which is plenty if you want to share a 2 bedroom apartment with someone in SF.

It's not for everyone but obviously a lot of people like it enough to do just that.

about 3 months ago

Mt. Gox Questioned By Employees For At Least 2 Years Before Crisis

afgam28 Re:Now we'll find out something (134 comments)

Ah, you're right. I got it mixed up with the "Civic Si" which is a similar but slightly different car.

about 4 months ago


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