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Intel Announces Major Reorg To Combine Mobile and PC Divisions

hendrips Re:Not dumping (75 comments)

Yuck - please excuse my poor phrasing. It was early in the morning.

4 days ago
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Intel Announces Major Reorg To Combine Mobile and PC Divisions

hendrips Re:Anti-competitive? (75 comments)

Not necessarily. Legally speaking, "tying" as you describe is only a problem if it demonstrably restricts consumer choice (consumers in this case being the phone OEMs). In this case, Intel's actions have if anything increased consumer choice, by providing an alternative to the market-dominating Qualcomm.

4 days ago
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Intel Announces Major Reorg To Combine Mobile and PC Divisions

hendrips Re:Not dumping (75 comments)

In U.S. legal parlance at least, all of the following must to be true behavior to qualify as "predatory pricing" for predatory pricing:
-The business in question must have a dominant or substantial market share,
-It must be more likely than not that the company's practices are affecting not only specific rivals but the entire market as a whole,
-There must be a "substantial likelihood" that the predatory pricing will result in successful market monopolization,
-The company's prices must be below any reasonable measure of the cost of production,
-And, there must be evidence of actual harm to consumers (merely having a monopoly is not necessarily illegal, as long as the monopoly isn't provably causing actual harm).

Point 4 might be true for Intel, but the others definitely are not.

4 days ago
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Android 5.0 'Lollipop' vs. iOS 8: More Similar Than Ever

hendrips Re:Evolution of tech (177 comments)

Not just phones, but there's plenty of room for innovation in almost any commodity. RAM has been a commodity for a long time now, but there's still a ton of innovation going on - the new DDR4 standard bringing on faster speeds, LP and LV RAM lowering power requirements, manufacturing process improvements leading to lower prices, etc. Apparently those kind of extremely complex feats of creative engineering are just too boring to notice.

about two weeks ago
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Manslaughter Conviction Overturned For Scientists Who Didn't Predict Earthquake

hendrips Re:SubjectsInCommentsAreStupid (139 comments)

And they were exactly right to do so. There is no scientifically accepted method to reliably predict earthquakes. There no scientifically accepted method to reliably predict increases in major earthquake risk over short periods of time. Period.

I work in the property & casualty insurance field. You seem to think that these seismologists should have known about some sort of method to detect an increased risk of a major earthquake. Can you tell me what this method is?

Seriously, if you could give my employer a method that reliably calculates increases in earthquake risk based on recent seismic activity, they would pay you 10 billion dollars. I am not even slightly joking about this.

about two weeks ago
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PC Cooling Specialist Zalman Goes Bankrupt Due To Fraud

hendrips Re:Auditors, auditors (208 comments)

Actually, while your comment is correct in most cases, it's not applicable here. Apparently, according to a whistleblower, upper management paid lower level employees very generously to keep their mouths shut.

about two weeks ago
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PC Cooling Specialist Zalman Goes Bankrupt Due To Fraud

hendrips Re:how the banks will get their $3 billion back (208 comments)

If your bank is so horrible, why do you continue to do business there? In the 14 years since I got my first checking and savings accounts, the only fee I have ever paid is a $7 fee to print a spare box of physical checks.

Unless you live in an extremely isolated rural area, you almost certainly have access to a not-for-profit credit union. Heck, even if you are in an isolated area, most credit unions will allow you to deposit checks by mail, and to make all other transactions via the Internet. At one point, I spent two years living 400 miles away from my credit union's nearest branch without a problem.

Also, "less interest" is a function of the Federal Reserve's fiscal policy decisions. Short term interest rates are more or less going to look like whatever the Fed wants them to look like.

about two weeks ago
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PC Cooling Specialist Zalman Goes Bankrupt Due To Fraud

hendrips Re:easy (208 comments)

The world sure would seem more just if the banks suffered more, right? Unfortunately, it's not that simple.

The loans were made specifically on the basis of Moneual's revenue statements. That is, the banks were trying to learn from mistakes they made last decade, and were relying on audited sales figures to make their loans, rather than "it's a technology company, it must be magic" like they were ten years ago. Unfortunately, the company lied about its sales figures, and then the auditing firm confirmed those falsified numbers. I'm not sure why the banks involved "should" have known that Moneual was lying and the auditing firm was incompetent. Maybe it's different in South Korea, but in the U.S., that kind of screwup would put the company's executives in jail for many years, and would lead to crippling fines and lawsuits for the auditing firm (how's Arthur Andersen doing these days?), so income statements and balance sheets tend to be considered fairly trustworthy.

Furthermore, bank loans like this are almost always collateralized by company assets, so in the event of default the bank gets first go at anything left over. Only large, well established companies can get away with issuing unsecured debt without crippling interest rates. Secured debt is precisely why lending to a startup (the Korean parent company is only four years old) is not a "foolish risk." Seriously, think about a world in which banks were not allowed to recover assets from their debtors. Why would any bank issue a loan, or at least a loan without double digit interest rates?

Actually, you don't have to imagine this - just look at the interest rates on a credit card, which is unsecured by any collateral. And before you tell me that those rates are so high only because banks are greedy, compare the credit card interest rate to the interest rate on a mortgage. Both credit cards and mortgages are issued by the same greedy banks, yet one usually has an interest rate of 15%-20% while the other has an interest rate of 4%-5%. The main reason for this difference is the fact that the mortgage is collateralized by the underlying house. That is precisely why lending $200,000 to a couple that makes $60,000 a year is not a foolish risk; the bank knows that it can get most or all of its money back by foreclosing on the house.

And lastly, how would you feel if the same logic got applied to every other fraud victim? Do you find it just as easy to say that the victims of Bernie Madoff "should" have known that something was suspicious, and that those investors took a foolish risk and should suffer the consequences? Why should these fraud victims (and make no mistake, the banks are fraud victims in this case, according to statements from at least one Moneual's own managers) be treated differently just because you don't like them?

about two weeks ago
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PC Cooling Specialist Zalman Goes Bankrupt Due To Fraud

hendrips Re:3 billion on a fan company? (208 comments)

Partial answers are given in this article, where a whistleblower answers some of these questions. Some of the answers seem like they have suffered in translation, unfortunately.

By the way, the fraud was not committed by Zalman, but by the South Korean company, Moneual, that bought Zalman in 2011.

about two weeks ago
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In this year's US mid-term elections ...

hendrips Re:What do you vote for? (551 comments)

I don't know how it is in other states, but where I live there are standard elections for mayor, state governor, and state assemblyman, then "retention elections" for other offices, where an official is appointed as you might expect, but once every 4 or 8 years can be removed by popular vote.

So, for instance, when selecting a new judge, my state's attorney general (head of the justice department) will consult with the state legal association to present the governor a list of three or so candidates. The governor then chooses which candidate best fits his preferences and appoints him as judge. That judge then serves for life, or until voluntary retirement. However, once every eight years, the judge is subject to a retention election, where the ballot asks something like "shall Judge X continue to serve as judge?" with the vote option being yes or no. If a majority vote no, the governor appoints a new judge.

The theory behind this is that the public isn't very good at deciding who would be a good judge, so there shouldn't be a standard competitive election. But, the public is fairly good at noticing official corruption (a problem that my state had back in the day, but is hopefully behind us), so they should have some way of punishing corrupt officials without relying on legal procedures that may themselves be overseen by corrupt officials. That's the theory, at least.

about three weeks ago
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Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

hendrips Re:You shouldn't need insurance for most things (739 comments)

I know it's fashionable to hate on health insurance companies, and I agree that there are very many good reasons to do so. But circumventing the restrictions on loss ratios is certainly not one of those reasons.

Insurance companies in the US are subject to Statuatory Accounting Principles, which are distinct from the typical GAAP accounting requirement. Under SAP, insurance companies required to report earned premiums and loss costs, both of which are well defined terms that leave no room for creativity in reporting. The company's loss costs (dollars paid to doctors & hospitals, in this case) divided by earned premiums is its loss ratio. You can calculate these numbers yourself from any insurance company's financial report.

There is no such thing as Hollywood accounting when it comes to U.S. insurance companies. An insurance company CFO would have to be exceptionally stupid or exceptionally desperate to try to fiddle with SAP compliance. I'm not saying it doesn't happen sometimes, but executives absolutely will face federal PMITA prison if they get caught deliberately manipulating SAP figures, not to mention the company being immediately forced into receivership by a bunch of angry state insurance regulators (as an aside, it seems like most Americans really don't understand how harshly deliberate accounting fraud is punished in the US).

And "NEVER" is a demonstrably false adverb - I got my refund check for the first half of 2014 from Blue Cross three months ago. Apparently their loss ratio in my state came in at 84.8%, so I got .2% of my premium refunded.

Again, I don't want to sound like I'm defending health insurance companies, because they can be pretty slimy. But in some ways, their sliminess actually comes because their profit margins are so small - they have to fight and scrap for every penny.

about three weeks ago
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Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

hendrips Re:Camps mixed up (739 comments)

I assume that he was talking about only taxes. Berkshire Hathaway is probably second only to GE in terms of corporate skill at manipulating the tax code.

about three weeks ago
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Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

hendrips Poor Conservative States? (739 comments)

I find the meme about poor states = conservative to be a bit annoying and misleading. While it is true that conservative states, especially Southern states, tend to have lower median incomes, they also have significantly lower costs of living. "Studies" like this one never adjust for purchasing power parity, and that oversight always makes me question anything else they have to say.

For example, according to Wikipedia's article on household income in the United States (alas, the numbers are a couple of years old), strongly Democrat Hawaii, which is the 5th wealthiest state by income, is actually dead last adjusted for cost of living. New York ranks 44th once incomes are adjusted for purchasing power parity. Virginia and Utah are the two wealthiest states in the U.S. by PPP income. Of course, Mississippi and West Virginia are still poor no matter how you slice it, but the correlation between political orientation and real income among states is weak at best.

This should not be surprising - local government politics in the U.S. look decidedly different from national politics. This is especially true for conservatives - many Republicans are comfortable with giving powers to local or state governments that they would abhor giving to the federal government, and moreover local elections frequently come down to personal, rather than party, politics. So judging the results of a state's internal, local elections and policymaking by how its citizens voted in a national election doesn't make that much sense, because those two things are imperfectly correlated.

Sorry - that turned out to be a bit long and off topic, but I have a problem trusting articles like this that purport to investigate a fairly complicated and nuanced issue while also making such offhand implicit assumptions.

about three weeks ago
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OEM Windows 7 License Sales End This Friday

hendrips Re:Unfortunate... (242 comments)

I couldn't agree more. Start 8 basically let me turn Windows 8 into Windows 7.1 - all of the underlying system improvements are there, with none of the UI "improvements." It's fairly irritating to spend $5 on a third-party configuration tool for just for my desktop, but since the result is IMHO the best version of Windows yet, it's hard to complain too much.

about three weeks ago
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The Airplane of the Future May Not Have Windows

hendrips Re:motion sickness (286 comments)

Count me as one of them. Given a choice between $20 and a window seat, I'll gladly take $20.

When I fly, I see most passengers reading, using a phone or tablet, or sleeping. I never realized that anyone cared about a window view.

about three weeks ago
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Creationism Conference at Michigan State University Stirs Unease

hendrips Re:Don't really care (1007 comments)

All very good points, but I'd mention that the quote about feeling "uneasy" is apparently coming from liberal Christians on campus, not necessarily atheists. The student quoted in the article apparently is, understandably, upset because she feels threatened by extremists from her own religion.

Emily Weigel, an MSU graduate student in evolution and a member of the BEACON center, says the event has made her feel like she’s under attack—in part because of her own religious faith. “As a religious BEACONite, I've never felt unwelcome” at MSU, she says. “But this conference on campus has made me uneasy about my identity on campus for the first time. It's antiacademic in the way it is being carried out, and honestly, it is shaming for fellow Christians to target individuals in an attack such as this one.”

about a month ago
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'Microsoft Lumia' Will Replace the Nokia Brand

hendrips Re:reborn? (150 comments)

Say what? I'm pretty sure the meaning of the word "reborn" is very much the opposite of "dead."

Semantic quibbles aside, Nokia is very much alive and kicking, as an independent and hopefully revitalized company. They have about 56,000 employees, $15.5 billion in revenues, and and a $30 billion market capitalization. They have been consistently profitable since shedding their phone division, with profits for the upcoming fiscal year expected to be around $1.5 billion. For reference, that puts post-spinoff Nokia at a bit larger than Texas Instruments, and a bit smaller than EMC/VMware (depending on exactly how you measure a company's "size").

about a month ago
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IBM Pays GlobalFoundries $1.5 Billion To Shed Its Chip Division

hendrips Re:Bigger fuckup than John Akers (84 comments)

I can't speak for any of IBM's other decisions, but in this case I have to strongly disagree with you. The IBM semiconductor business has been losing money hand over fist recently. They can't compete with Samsung or TSMC on price and volume, and there's not enough interest in specialty chips or POWER to make up the slack. It costs at minimum $5 billion to build a new fab, and IBM would have to build at least one, maybe two new fabs, not to mention updating their existing fabs, in order to be competitive with the big guys.

So, IBM could spend $5 billion - $10 billion just to catch up to their competitors, and still be at a very serious risk of the division being unprofitable, or they could spend $1.3 billion knowing for certain that the bleeding will stop. I only wonder what took them so long.

Also, for what it's worth, IBM is allegedly doing this deal in part so that it can focus more money into design research. They've announced a $3 billion investment into their semiconductor research division, which they aren't getting rid of. The implication is that the manufacturing division was crowding out any other R&D spending, and that IBM can now focus on high margin ARM-style licensing instead of getting dragged further into a war with TSMC et al. that they would inevitably lose.

about a month ago
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"Double Irish" Tax Loophole Used By US Companies To Be Closed

hendrips Re:Bad summary? Or horrible editorializing? (259 comments)

Colloquially speaking, "hacking" means malicious exploitation of computer vulnerabilities for personal gain or other nefarious purposes.
Colloquially speaking, a megabyte consists of one million bytes.
Colloquially speaking, "virii" is a fake word made up by computer nerds who didn't understand Latin.

Should I be expecting Slashdot to get on board with these colloquialisms as well?

about a month ago
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Symantec To Separate Into Two Companies

hendrips Re:Synergies never emerge (86 comments)

Never is an awfully strong word. Just off the top of my head, Apple/Siri, Micron/Elpida, and Lenovo/IBM Thinkpad have all been extremely successful mergers with obvious synergies. But most successful mergers are boring and don't make the news much, whereas we've been hearing about HP's ongoing woes for at least three solid years.

about a month and a half ago

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