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Car Dealers vs the Web: GM Shifts Toward Online Purchasing

nelsonal Re:Good riddance ... (160 comments)

Car dealers aren't going away anytime soon, they are exceedingly influential in local politics limiting auto manufacturers ability to side step them and earn fat commissions. Were it possible, no doubt around 1,000 apple store like super stores would replace most dealers for test drives/car fitting, warranty work, and help anyone who desires it with ordering.

about a year ago
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North Korea Conducts Third Nuclear Test

nelsonal Re:Even China is getting tired of their shit (270 comments)

Yeah that's effective, Saddam Hussein had the 7th largest army in the world prior to the Gulf War, it caused 148 deaths while suffering 30,000 over a month (100 hours on the ground). No conventional army is big enough to cause the US meaningful losses (especially as drone tech improves). It's WMD or bust.

about 2 years ago
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Will Renewable Energy Ever Meet All Our Energy Needs?

nelsonal Re:So let's focus on affluence... (626 comments)

Affluence means having more stuff, stuff requires that you have either slaves (how humanity acquired stuff from the dawn of humanity to 1800s) or energy (cheapest til we run out is fossil fuel). What stuff do you value that didn't require energy to make, store, or transport?

about 2 years ago
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Newspaper That Published Gun-Owners List Hires Armed Guards

nelsonal Re:Assault Rifles (1435 comments)

I would. What's the point of life if you're a slave?

about 2 years ago
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Automation Is Making Unions Irrelevant

nelsonal Re:Title is misleading (510 comments)

True but only hoarders care about stuff, for the sake of stuff, people mostly care dearly about status (read that as people who envy/want to sleep with you) which is pretty close to zero sum.

about 2 years ago
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Critic Cites Revenge of the Sith As "Generation's Greatest Work of Art"

nelsonal Re:YES! (376 comments)

Tshi? Was your duck overcooked?

about 2 years ago
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Israel's Iron Dome Missile Defense Shield Actually Works

nelsonal Re:Too bad... (861 comments)

Except they keep giving them lands back in exchange for peace.

more than 2 years ago
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Israel's Iron Dome Missile Defense Shield Actually Works

nelsonal Re:Too bad... (861 comments)

In my opinion, Palistine lost any claim on the lands given to them by the UN/UK when they starte and lost the '48 war. International warfare should always be played for keeps. You start the war and lose and you're lucky if your women aren't simply prizes for the victorious army and your lands become little more than a reminder to future nations not to attack someone stronger than you.

more than 2 years ago
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Airlines Face Acute Pilot Shortage

nelsonal Re:Why did they change the requirements? (421 comments)

Every pilot I've ever met, GA, military or commercial, to a man (and that's only because I haven't met any women pilots), fucking loves flying, in ways that most people simply don't. Most of them spend the kind of money on it that is usually reserved for things that float or fornicate, even when it's their day job.

more than 2 years ago
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Iran Running Out of Physical Currency, Satellite Broadcasts Dropped in Europe

nelsonal Re:Big surprise (480 comments)

Our oil, it never mattered where it was buried.

more than 2 years ago
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Shut Up and Play Nice: How the Western World Is Limiting Free Speech

nelsonal Re:Balance (1160 comments)

Also cars aren't such a good example because the US is basically an open range for people (ie no matter what they were doing it's almost always the driver's liability if they hit a person). In a closed range state/county (ie the driver has an unrestricted right of way vs animals), the owner of an animal hit by a car is absolutely liable for the damage their animal causes to the person's car (the responsibility is on the animal's owner to is maintain their fences to prevent the collision)

more than 2 years ago
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Shut Up and Play Nice: How the Western World Is Limiting Free Speech

nelsonal Re:Balance (1160 comments)

My concern is it sounds like your policy is basically pick on the westerners because they're either cowed or maturely shrug off insults, but don't pick on Muslems because they will react badly. To use your school yard bully example, it's still bullying to pickon the kid who knows he will be tried as an adult for assult (or who has a father with a belt if he gets suspended one more time). The threatened violent protesters are just as much bullies as the artists.

If you wish, to use a more contriversial example, how about abortion doctor shootings? They must be aware that their continued practice will deeply offend people (frequent angry protests, I'm sure they receive threats). Should the doctor be partly responsible, when they are shot? Taking offense does not give someone license to respond with violence or chaos. If we're endowed with inalienable rights (like speech or privacy). It's encumbent on the government to protect the excercise those rights, even in cases where most of the population doesn't agree with the expression.

more than 2 years ago
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$3,000 Tata Nano Car Coming To US

nelsonal Re:Power steering isn't a safety feature. (658 comments)

Also due to very different rules about emissions and safety equipment, Smart cars don't achieve nearly the same milage in the US as in Europe

more than 2 years ago
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Shut Up and Play Nice: How the Western World Is Limiting Free Speech

nelsonal Re:Balance (1160 comments)

Let's use the example of Piss Christ as an expression that is offensive to Christian groups. Are you seriously suggesting that the creator be held even partly responsible for any outbreak of Christian violence that should occur? It's caused enough offense that vandals destroyed a print in France, but other prints are still exhibited (one's in at a smaller gallery in New York right now). I hold an intense dislike a view that expression should be regulated based on the potential violence of the group that an expression offends, that's a very poor incentive structure (rewarding violent outbreaks is very likely to increase their occurrence).

more than 2 years ago
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Thousands of Muslims Protest 'Age of Mockery' At Google's London Headquarters

nelsonal Re:Ummah inflation (515 comments)

Couldn't they simply be, um, very frisky? Not every nation's total fertility rate is similar to the West's (below replacement). Here's charts on Muslem population by country note how fast many of the nations (Egypt, Afganistan, Indonesia, and Banglidesh for example) are growing even as emmigration to many other nations boosts populations rapidly in those nations.

more than 2 years ago
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The Mathematics of 'Legitimate Rape' and Pregnancy

nelsonal Re:It's okay (1469 comments)

If the penalty for any sex outside marriage is death, how does one additionally punish rape?

more than 2 years ago
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When Flying Was a Thrill

nelsonal Re:You can still fly this way if you want to (382 comments)

That was the price in 1960. Even at a modern price of $500 it's still way, way below the rate of price increases for other goods (like homes, cars, and gasoline).

more than 2 years ago
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When Flying Was a Thrill

nelsonal Re:You can still fly this way if you want to (382 comments)

Correct, the price of a NY to SFO ticket in the 1960s was $363 (today it's still $320). But keep in mind that in 1960, the median home cost $13,000; a new car was $2500; and gas was $0.25/gallon. The new prices are approximately 13x higher (thanks inflation). Which means that relative to other goods, the current price of a ticket would be about $5000-6000!

If the mandated lowest price for a round trip cross country flight was $5500, and airlines could only compete via what services they offered, how much service do you thing they would offer to get that business and most of the $5,000 premium? It turned out that most people didn't place anywhere near $5,000 on those services (it's only people who weren't paying anywhere near that price to fly (like travel agents and family of airline employees) who miss the old days.

more than 2 years ago
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When Flying Was a Thrill

nelsonal Re:You can still fly that way (382 comments)

Pre-regulation all classes were basically: you can't afford it. Flying was a once in a rare while treat prior to deregulation in 1978, unless you had family that worked at an airline or were a travel agent.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: A Cheap US Cellphone Plan With an Unlocked Phone?

nelsonal Re:meh (288 comments)

However, Americans use their phones far more than other nations, too. The price per minute of use in the US is lowest in the world.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

nelsonal hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

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Productivity and IT

nelsonal nelsonal writes  |  more than 10 years ago Quick quiz, who is most responsible for the productivity gains of the 1990s Gordon Moore (Intel), Bill Gates (MS), Sam Walton (Walmart), or Jack Walsh (GE)?

The answer is Sam Walton, a recent study found that Wal-Mart accounted for half the productivity improvements over the last two decades. Most people don't think about something so decidedly low tech as retail being a big productivity gainer (and they didn't even install a ton of self serve checkouts to get it).

The odd thing is that while I would guess that Wal-Mart would attribute their gains in no small part to IT products, they don't spend a whole lot on them. Total equipment spending was ~$3 billion last year (including all equipment not just IT) which is pretty tiny compared to revenue ($250 billion), income ($9 billion), or any other measure of company size. Compare this to your company or even other retailers. Another example could be Dell. Their total capital spending was $300 million, that includes all of factories, R&D centers, cars, and servers. Obviously both companies use leases to reduce that number but even doubling those and you aren't coming anywhere near the $400 billion spent on IT in the US in 2003 (according to the BEA).

I guess my question is how come Walmart and dell can spend less than 1% of total technology spending but pull more than half of the productivity gains. I think most technology is sold as a productivity enhancement. That means that the remaining 99% of spending is being wasted on the other half of the productivity gains.

I have several questions as a result of this information:

What makes Dell & WalMart so much better at applying technology?
Is this the real answer to the recent article and book about Does IT really matter? (Perhaps it is not IT that matters so much but the abilty to apply IT that will continue to matter.)
Why do other managers continue to spend so heavily on IT?
After spending it what are the others missing that causes such small improvements?

Of course this is a great time to share your stories about PHBs who wasted a year's worth of budget on a server that remains underutilized and ineffective.
I have my own opinions about the answers (you saw the hints of it in my response to the second question, but I'd love to see what others thought and perhaps we can collectively improve our organizations' ability to improve their own IT spending productivity/cost ratio.

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401 (k) plans and Company Stock

nelsonal nelsonal writes  |  more than 10 years ago I just ran across this article today. So I thought I'd bring it up to anyone who might come across this journal. It is terribly unwise to keep an outsized portion of your savings in company stock, for two reasons. First you are not nearly diversified well enough. As an example, if you had two returns over 10 years, one gets 5%/year and the other an average of 7% with 25% std deviation (pretty low compared to big technology stock st deviations (MS had 54% stdev over the last 14 years)). I used 43%, -15%, 35%, -17%, -10%, 25%, 20% -15% -20% and 25%. Which do you think results in the most money after 10 years?
The 5% return. The negative returns throw you further from the geometric mean [nth root of the product of(1+rn)] your geometric return is only 4.5% for the second set of returns. That and the application of correllation to returns is the basis of modern portfolio theory.
The second reason is that if something bad happens to the company you lose your job and your nest egg if it is entirely in company stock.
So, ASAP you should go log into your 401k administrator's [plan sponsors] page (or call if they are out of date) and find out what you are invested in, and speak with a professional (or do some research yourself) on how to allocate your assets to assure you a more prosperous retirement.
That is all, enjoy your weekend, but please go look at your 401k on monday.

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Linux servers

nelsonal nelsonal writes  |  more than 10 years ago If you haven't seen them yet, you might want to check out the Linux server numbers that IDC released late last week. A few things I found notable: Linux servers went up in price (quartly unit growth was well below revenue growth) compare this to the other types of systems which all declined. Also Linux servers now account for almost 10% of server revenues, so far it looks like it hasn't really taken share from Windows servers rather sapped the growth that Windows systems would have taken from Unix. My queries are do you think the price increases came from the high end IBM machines that have Linux installed? Second, the next 10% (likely to come over the next two or three years) do you think it will come more from Unix systems or Windows systems? Anyone else have some observations from about the server market to enighten us?

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To get things rolling

nelsonal nelsonal writes  |  more than 10 years ago Here's the first topic. Sorry if this one is a bit technical, I'm thinking that in the future they will be more like the Oracle Peoplesoft deal, but this has been on my mind for some time. Feel free to suggest other ideas in the comments.
I've been thinking about exchange rates a ton lately. Especially the Euro. Here's my deep, dark fear: the Euro replaces the US dollar as a primary financial value store. I don't think this will happen soon, but over the next decade or two. Here are the concerns. Huge trade deficit, with no real expectation that it will decline, medicare scaryness, and an administration (unlikely to change no matter who wins the election) that is happy with deficit spending to keep the economy growing, and increasingly investory friendly European capital markets. If I'm a rich fellow outside of both the US and Europe, I'd certainly prefer to have my investments there than here. I realize that Asian central banks have a vested interest in this game, but how long can they ignore generally much better currency adjusted returns?
If you have any thoughts (or even flames) please feel free to reply.

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First Post

nelsonal nelsonal writes  |  more than 10 years ago First off, if you've never seen Weebl & Bob you might want to check them out. They are a bit offbeat, but anyone who likes Mr. Scruff can't be all bad.
After that is out of the way, if you are reading this it is likely that you have read my posts and know that I'm an investment analyst. I keep returning to the conclusion that /., has a healthy group of other business minded folks. I've tried to nab as friends those who show an investor mindset, along a bunch of with other interesting viewpoints. Anyway, it seems like there have been more than a few market related articles over the past few weeks, and I was wondering if others would be intersted in joining in ad hoc market focused discusion with me. So if you are game keep reading my journal, I'll post on the market news with primarily tech companies and we can engage in discussion. I have had a chance to read everything from the sell side and found that the smart folks here are much faster and better than anyone on the street.
For anyone intimdated my econ or financial topics, feel free to ask questions. I will try to help in any way I can. I probably can't give any speciific advice about S&P companies but anything else is largely fair game.
On to the serious stuff this is meant to be an educational forum, not an advice forum. I will do my best to keep the discusion off invstment ideas, toward more general ideas, but if you invest in something mentioned here without any further due dillegence, YOU ARE A FOOL, and you are not going to sue me or other posters.
Now that such formalities are out of the way, break out the champange and caviar, hopefully this wil become the new capitalist's forum.

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