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Verizon About To End Construction of Its Fiber Network

west Re:I thought they're making money... (194 comments)

Understood. So whining *but building anyway* makes sense.

But in the end, they want to make as much money as possible. Which means if they choose not to build, it means they think they can't make back their investment, even at the unpleasantly high rates they charge!

3 days ago
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Verizon About To End Construction of Its Fiber Network

west Re:I thought they're making money... (194 comments)

Wouldn't they just borrow and invest in the infrastructure? Given that interest rates are incredibly low, *any* money-making opportunity that's reasonably safe should be exploited using borrowed money.

3 days ago
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Verizon About To End Construction of Its Fiber Network

west I thought they're making money... (194 comments)

I'm certain that I've read on Slashdot that given how much the ISPs charge, providing high-speed Internet service is this *huge* cash cow that the Internet providers milk for all its worth.

But now we're finding out that it's not financially worth-while for them to even construct the cash-cow?

This doesn't bode well. Surely it can't be that building and servicing the infrastructure for high-speed Internet is simply bloody expensive compared to revenues?

3 days ago
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Japanese Nobel Laureate Blasts His Country's Treatment of Inventors

west Re:Poor delusional old man (190 comments)

That seems a pretty reasonable way of doing things, and covers most of my fears. But looking at the numbers, does it really come close to covering fees?

I've no personal experience with this, but one keeps reading that even seemingly simple defenses end up well into the 6-figures, while this seems to cover ~$10K. But again, maybe one only reads about the absurdly costly cases.

4 days ago
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Japanese Nobel Laureate Blasts His Country's Treatment of Inventors

west Re:Poor delusional old man (190 comments)

So in other words, if you win, you're great, but if you lose (and there is always some danger of losing, no matter how straightforward it seems), then not only do you lose your patent, but you also lose your house, your savings, and your pension. (Yes, here's the bill for $5 million dollars we spent suing you.)

I'd guess that simply the threat of suing would make most people collapse. After all, a company could easy spend several hundred thousand dollars in prepping for a suit that you could be on the hook for. If you wait until you find out if they have a case or not, you're already down a fortune if it turns out they do.

about a week ago
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Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others

west Re:I have grown skeptical of these experiments. (219 comments)

The variability in skill set, the varieties of skills needed to complete the project is not fully addressed.

This is a good point. But I'm looking at a lot of businesses that are essentially de-skilling their work environment in order to increase worker fungibility. Any design that cannot be meaningfully understood by 95% of the team is sent back to the drawing board. It's a bit frustrating to have to leave elegant, efficient, but complex designs on the table, but businesses that are doing so seem to be beating everyone else in their market.

(Note, this doesn't really apply to the very few companies where technology *is* their product. But for 90% of the companies/jobs out there, technology is simply the tool towards running the business. For them, reliability is far more important than being a little ahead of the game and being able to make all workers fungible is an important step towards that goal.)

about a week ago
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Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others

west Re:Greatness is due to the ingenuity of individual (219 comments)

Very good point. Unfortunately for men, reliability seems to end up far more important for long-term viability, which is why most businesses have been de-emphasizing the super-star approach over building lower-skill fungible teams. (And, to be honest, it seems to be working for them.)

about a week ago
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Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others

west Re:Significant correlation? (219 comments)

And just to make it clear, r = 0.25 is pretty darn strong, especially for anything involving as many variables as human interaction.

I'm quite amazed it's this large, but then again, it matches my real life experience for complex team-based problems (rather than combining parallel single-person tasks, which is more common, but not nearly as tricky).

about a week ago
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Education Debate: Which Is More Important - Grit, Or Intelligence?

west Re:Phenmomenal raw intelligence got me through sch (249 comments)

Intelligence stays with you as long as you are above ground and cannot be taken away.

You're not 50 yet, are you?

That razor sharp intelligence is only marginally less fleeting than beauty.

about two weeks ago
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Professor: Young People Are "Lost Generation" Who Can No Longer Fix Gadgets

west Re:Its a cost decision (840 comments)

Ah, but did you factor in the several hundred hours involved in obtaining enough competence in minor engineering repair so that you could in fact diagnose, order and repair the appliance?

I will repair (or more often, destroy while *trying* to repair) things around the house, but I carefully avoid calculating how much time it costs me. As soon as I start calculating hours spent taking things apart, diagnosing, ordering replacements and attempting repairs, the cost/benefit equation goes out the window.

The analysis might be different if one was naturally handy (for one, the success rate might be a lot higher than my 50%). And if it could be considered mildly entertaining, then it becomes a totally different matter.

about three weeks ago
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Better Learning Through Expensive Software? One Principal Thinks Not

west Re:A Big Money Pit of Dubious Value (169 comments)

If we are going to be reduced to resorting to "facts" and "reason", we might as well throw the entire educational research establishment away completely.

about three weeks ago
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Professor: Young People Are "Lost Generation" Who Can No Longer Fix Gadgets

west Re:Its a cost decision (840 comments)

Absolutely. With manufacturing costs crazy low, fixing things is a huge waste of time and effort *unless* you really enjoy having brought something back to life, in which case, good for you! From a straight economic decision, why should people want to spend time learning to be good at fixing things instead of using that time to learn other productive skills?

Someone needs to be introduced to the concept of "opportunity cost".

about three weeks ago
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Out With the Red-Light Cameras, In With the Speeding Cameras

west In Ontario's experience, speed cameras work... (335 comments)

Ontario had vans with speed cameras in them, and I'd estimate that they knocked about 10km/h off the average speed of highway drivers, reducing speeds to about 2-5 km/h over the limit.

When a new government eliminated them, speeds went back up to the 12-15km/h over the limit over the next month or so. As expected, accident and mortality rates went up as well. Faster cars = less reaction time.

However, nobody was willing to seriously ask the real question. Is freeing up 5-10 minutes of a large number of people's day worth a few lives lost?

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Tech Companies Won't Be Around In 10 Years?

west Re:Apple IS a software company (332 comments)

Their hardware is nothing particularly special. A Mac is barely different from a Dell hardware-wise and if you put Windows on the Mac you can't tell the difference. Nobody would pay a premium to Apple for a Mac with Windows on it so the difference MUST be in the software because that is all that is really different.

Actually, given the number of people I know who bought Apple laptops and run Windows almost exclusively, I disagree at least on degree of hardware equivalence (or at least on people's perception of hardware equivalence...).

However, in general I think you're right. It's the software more than the hardware.

about a month ago
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UK Man Arrested Over "Offensive" Tweet

west Re:Political Correctness Disease (360 comments)

- Let's start with the effing muslims. They are not British.

Three points for single-handedly making the anti-censorship side almost as unpalatable as the government's actions.

about a month ago
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What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

west Re:Old (628 comments)

With each technological iteration, we have fewer and fewer who can find productive use of their talents in society. Both physical, and now mental talents are being superseded by machine. Take a look at the total workforce participation, and yes, you will find with each passing year, more and more people are driven out of the workforce because they possess neither physical or mental skills that cannot be reproduced by a machine.

Here's a graph from the Federal Reserve of male (to avoid discrimination effects in early years) from 1950 to present:. Drops from 87% to 69% from 1950 to present.

And with each passing year, the number jobs that machines cannot do goes down.

One well-known economist, Tyler Cowen, talks about the 15% whose productivity will soar because machines become a productivity multiplier, while for remaining 85%... well, tough luck for them...

The robot revolution will be a slow moving one, taking decades as every day a few more jobs are eliminated. But like a glacier during an ice age, even if you can't see it moving, it *will* crush everything in its path.

about a month ago
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NetHack: Still One of the Greatest Games Ever Written

west Re:Don't foget (186 comments)

Well, I think most of us can guess which took more time and effort.

about a month and a half ago
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The Sony Pictures Hack Was Even Worse Than Everyone Thought

west Re:What's the bigger picture? (528 comments)

No matter what you think of Sony, this will not be good for the productivity of the corporate working world.

You are absolutely correct. However, perhaps it's time to acknowledge that much of the productivity increases that the Internet brought to the workplace are only possible because systems could be built that didn't assume that the company was under constant assault - a condition that is very likely no longer true.

My guess, however, is that real security won't happen until there's significant loss of life when real infrastructure gets borked by hackers (likely freelancers hired by a government vastly less efficient (and thus much more robust) than our own).

"Wow, every traffic light in Los Angeles has just gone green."

about 2 months ago
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The Sony Pictures Hack Was Even Worse Than Everyone Thought

west Re:Good God! (528 comments)

> If you are talking about strategically stored data and not user home folders, the signal/noise ratio is significantly better.

Not in any business I've worked at. Anything that is slightly valuable goes to the central data store so it will be backed up, and then never gets deleted because who knows when you just might happen to need it.

Sort of like what happens on my home system too.

about 2 months ago
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Electric Shock Study Suggests We'd Rather Hurt Ourselves Than Others

west Re:Needs larger sample set. (123 comments)

Agreed, but it takes a hell of a lot money for most people to give up their self-respect. There's lots of cases of people dying for it.

Choosing to shock someone else for a few bucks, is, as the article suggests, so detrimental to one's self-respect, that it is relatively rare.

about 2 months ago

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