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AquaTop Immersive Display System: Get Your Hands Wet to Sink Some Files

sunspot42 Re:Cylon Basestar (52 comments)

Same here. Life imitates art...

about a year ago

Two Outside Bids For Dell Threaten Founder's Buyout Plan

sunspot42 Re:Too Bad (79 comments)

Of course the banks would - they're really loaning the money to the buyout firm, not the company being bought out. The firm performing the buyout makes big money, as do the banks. The firm being bought out is stripped to the bone and charged with servicing that debt. Sometimes they survive and can be spun off into the market again for big profits. Sometimes they limp along in private ownership and make modest profits, all of which go to the buyout firm instead of being shared with public stock owners (or, god forbid, the remaining employees doing the actual work). And often they just implode. The banks take a hit on some of these deals knowing that often they turn out to be quite profitable, at least in the short term - profitable enough for them to be able to afford to write off quite a bit of bad debt.

They're sort of like corporate identity theft rings. A buyout firm is essentially using the good credit of a going business concern to take out enormous loans it couldn't get on its own. They use some of the money for buying the going concern, and then hopefully refinance that debt at lower interest rates down the road, pocketing the difference and using it as collateral for the next buyout. If the debt load implodes the legitimate business they purchased, well, that's just too bad for the American economy. The parasites are off to suck the next victim dry via identity theft. But it often works long enough for them to cash out and use the money to hijack another business.

Remember, the guys running these sham operations are paying themselves enormous salaries and bonuses, regardless of how well the identity theft operation pays out. Even if Dell implodes they still make millions in the process. The success or failure of the companies they took over only alters the magnitude of the payout, not its eventuality.

Where things get interesting is if interest rates start rising again. We've been in a long term cycle of declining interest rates essentially since the early 1980s. That's been facilitating these buyouts for decades now. These gamblers are betting that if they borrow billions today at, say, 6%, they can refinance in the future at 5% and pocket the difference, covering up for a lot of incompetence in the running of the actual businesses they've hijacked. If that changes, expect to see a slew of business that were involved in these sketchy transactions go under - the buyout firms will cut their losses and run, leaving a bunch of investors holding the bag.

Don't worry about the banks, though. If things get too bad they'll just call up Congress and request another bailout, using your retirement money.

about a year and a half ago

Why Microsoft Got Into the Console Business

sunspot42 Re:I remember a story when I worked at Microsoft.. (257 comments)

There was an April, 2007 article written by analyst Roger Ehrenberg called "When Will Microsoft Own Up To The Xbox 360 Bomb?". Essentially, he ran the numbers for the divisions of Microsoft where they'd stuffed their console business, and determine they'd invested over $21 billion (at that time) in the console business, and had earned a whopping $5.4 billion of cumulative operating losses in return. That didn't fully account for the Red Ring Of Death either, which apparently cost them another $1 - $5 billion.

They have had profitable quarters since then, but as far as I know they haven't come anywhere close to earning $26-$30 billion just in order to break even on their investment in the console business.

Consoles have been a money pit for Microsoft.

Worse, in order to remain competitive with Nintendo and Sony, they're going to have to sink billions more into the next-generation of consoles if they want to stay in that business (and pride pretty much dictates they have to stay in that business).

It's likely they'll never break even on their investment. They may have blocked Sony or Nintendo from becoming the de facto home entertainment hub, but it isn't clear to me that keeping their options open in that space has been worth close to $30 billion. There's also the considerable threat that Apple will waltz into that space with a compelling new offering and blow most everybody else out of contention (while spending far less than $30 billion to do it). Google and Amazon are disruptive threats as well in that space.

Ironically, Apple spent far, far less than $30 billion developing the iPod, iPhone and iPad, combined - a combo that's proven a money machine for Cupertino almost since the day the products were released into the market. Each one of those products could have come from Microsoft - they were certainly years ahead of Apple at one point when it came to smart phones and tablets. Redmond took their eye off of that space while chasing the console business, a decision which I think will go down as one of the biggest misallocations of resources any corporation ever made.

about a year and a half ago

Ouya Consoles Will Start Shipping On December 28th

sunspot42 Re:Sturgeon's law: 90% of games are crap (121 comments)

I think you've nailed it - the lack of any sort of quality control will cause this thing to flame out pretty quickly. The hardware also strikes me as ridiculously anemic.

However, I could see both Apple and Amazon releasing similar devices, based on Apple's iOS and Amazon's customized version of Android respectively, and tied to their existing online stores. They could sign deals with top developers to produce software - software that could also run on their tablets in theory - and act as a filter to keep their game stores from overflowing with crap.

Their gadgets would have to sport more advanced hardware than the Ouya, but both Apple and Amazon should be capable of convincing enough people to shell out, say, $200-$300 on a console / media center to make such a platform viable.

If Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo aren't very nervous, they should be. The barriers to entry in the console business have clearly gotten a lot lower in the past five years, and there are at least a couple of large players now in a position to challenge them quite effectively without investing the billions MS, Sony and Nintendo have spent establishing their current position.

Come to think of it, Samsung is another potential threat. They don't have the online distribution power of an Apple or Amazon, but they could churn out the hardware cheaper than anyone, and they know Android inside and out.

about 2 years ago

Project Orca: How an IT Disaster Destroyed Republicans' Get-Out-The-Vote Effort

sunspot42 Republiclowns (578 comments)

I thought these Republican idiots were supposed to be great businessmen and job creators. So how is it the Kenyan socialist communist fascist Marxist Muslim empty chair community organizer ran a campaign that outfoxed and outplayed them at every turn, even without having an entire media empire (Rupert Murdoch) spewing favorable propaganda 24/7 for free?

You'd almost think these Republican business geniuses were really a bunch of incompetent, thieving rich idiots who couldn't run a successful taco stand without help from their daddy's buddies and generous taxpayer subsidies coming from people who, you know, actually work for a living.

about 2 years ago

All of Nate Silver's State-Level Polling Predictions Proved True

sunspot42 Re:Math (576 comments)

>This puts this 2.5% victory as the 6th smallest out of 14 elections

In other words, it's in the middle of the pack.

about 2 years ago

All of Nate Silver's State-Level Polling Predictions Proved True

sunspot42 Re:Math (576 comments)

Whoops, got that EC count totally wrong. Obama's the first Dem since Roosevelt to be re-elected with more than 50% of the popular vote. All of the Dems who got re-elected won more than 300 votes in the EC (although Carter got elected on just 297).

about 2 years ago

All of Nate Silver's State-Level Polling Predictions Proved True

sunspot42 Re:Math (576 comments)

>2.4% *is* a small difference.

By the standards of modern Presidential elections it's not that small. Bush won in 2004 with only a 2.46% margin - lower than Obama's 2.5% now being reported - and had the audacity to call his re-election a "mandate". Of course, this is the same guy who "won" with a -0.51% margin in 2000.

Carter only won with a 2.06% margin. Nixon came into his first term on a 0.70% margin. Kennedy bagged a 0.17% margin.

At the other extreme, Nixon blew away McGovern with a 23.15% margin, although that second term didn't exactly turn out the way the Republicans expected...

about 2 years ago

All of Nate Silver's State-Level Polling Predictions Proved True

sunspot42 Re:Math (576 comments)

>That doesn't take away from Silver's math, though, considering that the polls all had Obama and Romney
>neck and neck and Obama won by a huge margin.

Uh, I'm sorry, but "all" the polls did not have Obama & Romney "neck and neck". Gallup and Rasmussen had them neck and neck in the national polls, but we don't elect Presidents via national polls, we elect them via the Electoral College on a state-by-state basis. And virtually all of the polls in most of the swing states showed Obama leading by comfortable margins greater than 2% throughout the past few months. It was only truly close in Florida (where Obama managed to squeak out a win) and North Carolina (where Obama remained behind though close in the polls in the weeks leading up to the election). There was a dip in the swing state polls after the first debate, but that quickly evaporated and by the time of the election Obama was about back to his polling peak on average.

Obama won the Electoral College by an enormous margin. The popular vote he only won by about 2%, which is a respectable margin but not as impressive as the roughly 60/40 split of votes in the Electoral College. That having been said, I believe he's the first Democrat since FDR to be re-elected with more than 300 votes in the Electoral College, and likely a harbinger of things to come for the Democratic Party, especially since the Republicans seem to be doubling down on the stupid.

about 2 years ago

Romney Campaign Accidentally Launches Transition Web Site

sunspot42 Re:"Fortunately" (185 comments)

>It is really telling how close to lunacy the Republican party leadership is.

It's really FRIGHTENING how close to lunacy the Republican Party leadership is. They clearly believed their own B.S. These clowns aren't just liars, they're delusional. Like, Baghdad Bob delusional.

I guess this is what happens when a major political party is comprised of fundamentalist religious fanatics with an average IQ of about 80, the senile, and a small crust of wealthy inbred fools who've never worked an honest day in their lives and couldn't run a successful taco stand without daddy's money and connections.

about 2 years ago

Hyundai Overstated MPG On Over 1 Million Cars

sunspot42 Re:MPG testing (238 comments)

Something's gotta be wrong with your car. I have a 2008, and get 25mph and higher in city driving. And I floor it from stoplights and seldom gradually coast to a stop. The 2011 got better mileage than the 2008 IIRC.

Maybe its your tires?

I'd try taking it to another dealer and have them check it out.

Do you drive it with the A/C running a lot of the time, either for cooling or defogging? I've found the A/C in mine isn't terribly effective, although I haven't noticed it being a huge gas suck.

about 2 years ago
top's Benioff Disses Windows 8, Oracle

sunspot42 Re:Yeah well... (182 comments)

>Yeah, get back to us when tablets have more than 64GBs of storage, and don't need to be tethered to a wifi to get things done.

Wireless connectivity is almost ubiquitous at this point. I have high-speed connectivity at home and at the office. The era of the desktop computer is rapidly drawing to a close. The cloud is obviously supplanting it. I wouldn't be surprised to see the desktop PC completely replaced within 5 years by a tiny Apple TV-sized box you plug into your monitor. It'll communicate with whatever other devices and interface gadgets (keyboards, mice, motion control, voice) you happen to have on hand, and with your cell phone and tablets. It'll sport advanced voice control, like Siri but far more capable, all powered by the cloud. It'll do games too, via a service like OnLive, and media, and if you want to run high-end software like Photoshop that'll be available to subscribe to for $20 a month if you're a professional or maybe $5 for a one day one-off use. It'll all be running on incredibly powerful virtual machines out in the cloud, so folks won't need to blow $1,500 every few years upgrading their computers to run the latest & greatest software. You'll buy a $200 Apple TV like box, a phone and a tablet or whatever and subscribe to whatever level of service you require beyond that.

Ubiquitous connectivity changes everything. It's essentially headed toward Star Trek technology, where you say "Computer" and tell it what you want it to do and it does it. "Computer, book me a flight to Boston on August 23rd. I can't spend more than $350." "OK, do you want an exit row seat like you usually request? And I won't search United because you hate them."

Also, shifting processing to the cloud offloads a lot of battery burden from these increasingly tiny mobile devices, saving power for their wireless radios. In the business world, it gets companies out of having to pay the Microsoft tax every three years and deal with the hassle of swapping out expensive machines. If everything lives in the cloud, managing the dumb terminals becomes a lot easier.

about 2 years ago
top's Benioff Disses Windows 8, Oracle

sunspot42 Re:Yeah well... (182 comments)

Intel has the best fabrication facilities on earth, bar none. If they can't make it selling x86 chips, they could always open the floodgates to manufacturing ARM-based chips for Apple. There's more than enough demand there to soak up all of Intel's excess manufacturing capacity. It would dent their margins, but they'd still be enormously profitable.

If PC sales continue their recent tailspin, Intel may be left with no choice. They're counting on Atom-derived low-power x86 chips running Windows to save their platform's bacon. We'll see if Microsoft can deliver with Win 8 everywhere. My guess is it'll be a fiasco, but then Microsoft convinced plenty of idiots to buy that terd Vista, so who knows...

about 2 years ago

Why Apple Replaced iOS Maps

sunspot42 Re:Here is more from John Gruber of Daring Firebal (561 comments)

I'm loving the new Apple maps, at least here in the US. Seems to have no problem finding addresses, and features spoken, turn by turn instructions. Used them extensively this weekend. Huge upgrade over the old Google maps.

Now, apparently the default maps app sucks - at least for the moment - in many countries overseas. China oddly enough not being one of them. The Chinese are apparently marveling at how much better Apple's map app is than Google's. Go figure.

Seems to depend a lot on the quality of the map database Apple bought in each country. In the US they bought their data from Tom Tom, which is pretty high quality (for driving, anyhow). Overseas looks like it's a crap shoot.

I think a lot of users are going to read the hysteria surrounding Apple's maps, then have an experience similar to mine and wonder what the Fandroids are all smoking. Apple's critics keep doing this ("Antennagate" being the best example), and come off looking like idiots as a result.

about 2 years ago

Warp Drive Might Be Less Impossible Than Previously Thought

sunspot42 Re:I'll believe it when I see... (867 comments)

>Everyone they left back home will be dead and buried

Not if they've found an effective way to extend lifespans, or just back up consciousness and plop it into a fresh body as needed. Technology could make virtual immortality possible.

After a few millennia of immortality, you might want to hop into a starship traveling at 80-90% the speed of light and head off into the universe just to get away from your relatives and your ex...

about 2 years ago

High Tech Companies Becoming Fools For the City

sunspot42 Re:Ghost town (276 comments)

Downtown LA is positively jumping after hours now compared to about a decade ago.

I lived in downtown LA in 2003-2004, and it was d-e-a-d dead after about 7:00PM every night. But I stayed there last summer for a week and its changed dramatically. A bunch of new apartment complexes have gone up on the edge of downtown, and a bunch of old office buildings have been converted into trendy (and surprisingly affordable, post real-estate meltdown) lofts. There are now pedestrians out wandering the sidewalks after 9:00PM and a slew of busy (in fact packed) restaurants like the vast Bottega Louie and Mas Malo draw in patrons from the entire metro area.

New bars, restaurants and clubs are opening all the time. At this pace within a decade Downtown LA could become the next Sunset Strip. All Los Angeles really needs to do now is attract a few hot tech firms to downtown. I wouldn't have thought that possible in 2004, but I could certainly see it happening now.

about 2 years ago

GUI nostalgia draws me back to ...

sunspot42 Re:GEM (654 comments)

Yeah, I stuck with my Mega ST 2 until *1995*, finally replacing it with a Dell when Win '95 came out. The funny thing is, up until the last couple of years I didn't feel terribly limited, although the STs never got a decent word processor.

Of course, once Word 6 came out the best word processor on the PC went to crap, so moving to the PC and Offal 95 wasn't as much as an upgrade as it could have been.

One of the reasons why I was able to deal with having an ST as my primary machine for so long was a great little program called DC Desktop. It pretty much replaced the stock GEM desktop with a much sweeter interface, including a slew of custom icons, plus it sped the interface greatly. I was always surprised Atari didn't buy the company and incorporate the product into TOS...but I think we were all surprised by pretty much every boneheaded move the Tramiels made at Atari. I could never figure out how they could have gotten a machine that decent and that cheap out the door that quickly, and then bungle pretty much every single subsequent move.

I still miss my ST from time to time. Simpler but in many ways more productive interface than Windows 7, especially with all of the pointless, confusing changes Microsoft made in an attempt to "simplify" the user experience. To this day I haven't figured out the stupid "Libraries". Seems like they just invented another way to lose shit in the vast wastelands of your terabyte hard drive...

more than 2 years ago

Why Intel Should Buy Nokia

sunspot42 Re:Mobile losers club? (200 comments)

That should read "Shipments != sales". Apparently the technological wonder known as Slashdot can't handle greater and less than signs properly.

more than 2 years ago

Why Intel Should Buy Nokia

sunspot42 Re:Mobile losers club? (200 comments)

Shipments sales.

RIM shipped a lot of crap, too. But nobody could sell it, so it ended up being shipped back or given away.

I've never seen a Win 7 phone in the wild. It's all Android and iPhone here in California, with iPhones becoming more common in the past year or so after a big Android flood the year before.

Plus a lot of residual RIM suckage, of course. But nothing new.

more than 2 years ago



"Burning" Saltwater

sunspot42 sunspot42 writes  |  about 7 years ago

sunspot42 (455706) writes "From the too-good-to-believe file comes this AP story. Pennsylvania cancer researcher John Kanzius claims that hydrogen can be cracked from saltwater using nothing more than radio waves. A demonstration for the US Departments of Energy and Defense is scheduled for later in the week. Assuming this process puts out more energy than it costs — a big assumption — it could turn the most plentiful resource on the surface of the earth into an almost limitless, reusable source of energy."


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