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* Posts by Trevor_Pott

3636 posts • joined 31 May 2010

Not even 1.4m users can save 4Chan founder Chris Poole's startup

Trevor_Pott
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Re: I think I see the problem...

Sure. Google bought Youtube on the same basis. Several years later, Youtube is a profit center. Capturing users actually is the hard part. When you move to monitisation you follow the 80/20 rule: keep the 20% of your users that are willing to pay and cut the 80% of dead weight off. Oddly enough, it actually works.

A good example here is Dropbox. Would "most" Dropbox users pay for the service? Hell no. Most people would move on to the next cheap whatever. There are a lot, however, that if Dropbox said "tomorrow we are going to start charging $X/month" they would get out the credit card and just whack the mole.

About the only place this doesn't apply is social networks. Here you aren't offering a product to be consumed or used. You are offering a communications system, and that means that the value of the platform to anyone is directly proportional to how many people are on the system. (More accurately, how many people that individual user actually cares about are on the system.)

A phone network that only reached 1 in 10,000 people wouldn't exactly be worth a hell of a lot of money, unless those 1 in 10,000 people had something in common and a reason to establish a communications system that only encompassed their group.

So the fundamental model of "get a bunch of users, get venture capital, cash out and let a trained CEO take the venture to profitability" is not fundamentally broken. It is, however, something that only really applies to certain types of products and doesn't apply at all to social networks.

Instagram is another example here. The Instagram thing wasn't about the "social network" element. It was because it offered a platform for online imagery collection with a large userbase. Now the trick is to convince photo labs around the world to accept orders via Instagram and convince users to pay for photographic products.

Ultimately, Instagram will expand to allow professional photographers to mount galleries as online proofs with integrated ordering (Similar to ImageQuix.) This is where the real meat-and-potatoes will come from, as the "art"-class prints can run quite a bit of money. A 40"x30" mounted on canvas and properly sealed is something a professional photographer can sell for $3000 in the right market. Metal prints or backlit acrylic stuff can go for even more...and there is always some swank office tower somewhere looking for a nice picture of the skyline for their lobby.

So Instagram will take several years to follow a Youtube trajectory. Gradually offering more and more professional services. Advertising, lab integration, etc. Ultimately, they'll get click charges on orders or even % of total transaction setups. The name cache of "Instagram" will have value. The average punter knows what Instagram is. They haven't the foggiest clue in hell who ImageQuix let alone the lab-branded online galleries.

At least, that's the theory. Whether or not Facebook has the nous to pull it off is an entirely different story.

Startups, eh? *madness*

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Hey, G20. Please knock it off with the whole tax loophole thing - we're good guys, really

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Well of course they are

And what we're saying is that the SCOTUS decision is - to put it mildly - fucked up beyond all repair. Other countries get along just fine without corporations being persons. Other countries get along fine without corporations having the right to unlimited campaign contributions, or the right to a "religion" or any of the other bullshit that the USA has come up with in this regard.

You can create a legal category for "non-person entity" that means the entity can be sued for doing bad things without that entity having to be a person or having the protections of a person. Your arguments are simply flawed from the outset, Tim.

There is no rational reason to apply the human rights - such as free speech - to a corporation. A corporation is merely a means to shield entrepreneurs from certain legal consequences so as to reduce risk and better encourage entrepreneurship within a nation.

This legal shield - like patents - is a compromise. It is taking something away from society as a whole - the ability to hole to account those who run a corporation under various circumstances - in order to encourage a specific behavior. For a society to function properly, corporations themselves must not be viewed as "persons" unto themselves.

A patent grants a person a monopoly over an implementation of an idea for a fixed period of time in order to encourage people to invent. So long as the balance is carefully nurtured and maintained this ends up with a net benefit to a society. Similarly, a corporation grants an individual immunity from the debts accrued by a corporation from becoming their personal debts in order to encourage entrepreneurs to risk their personal capital and found a new business.

Both concepts can go horribly sideways and be misused. In the United States this has happened quite dramatically. Worse: the USA has started treating corporations more and more as though they have most of the rights of natural persons but none of the responsibilities.

What benefit to society is there in creating a separate class of "persons" with nearly all protections of society, a strong incentive to behave like complete sociopaths regarding the health and welfare of others, the influence brought about by concentrated capital, but meaningless levels of social responsibility and ineffectual enforcement of what little regulation exists?

The USA's approach to corporate personhood is both morally and ethically bankrupt. None of the extraneous crap that has become layered on top of corporate personhood needs to exist to accomplish the original goal of providing a firewall between debt collectors and entrepreneurs so as to encourage increased entrepreneurship.

A corporation must be viewed as an extension of the people who own and run it, not as a person in and of itself. It is an extension with limitations, but it is an extension nonetheless.

That the USA - via the SCOTUS, amongst other decision-making organs - has decided they want to take their society into an ever more polarized hell typified by increasing class strife and plutarchy does not make is right. That something is legal does make make it moral or ethical. Similarly, it can be - and increasingly is - entirely moral and ethical to do things that are illegal.

The USA has lost it's way and in no single instance is this more evident than the SCOTUS decision behind Citizens United. That is what people are discussing here, Tim. Our unease and outright hostility towards that decision. The fact that the society the USA is creating is emphatically not the society we want to leave to the next generation.

I don't expect you will ever be able to understand any of that...but maybe if you analyze the thread a little then in the future you'll be able to better separate a discussion about facts from one about morality and ethics. Nobody is here is debating the facts. We all agree on what has happened.

We simply don't agree with the rationale as to why those decisions were taken, nor do we see them as positive today, or for the future of our society. That's the bit you all to frequently miss, sir. The humanity of the situation.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: "Taxes need to be levied where the money is"

"You can also wait and tax inheritances." Which can be gotten around in a dozen different ways. Even I can think of methods to dodge inheritance taxes. I'm pretty sure a bunch of on-the-ball tax lawyers would know that one cold.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Well of course they are

"Given this would you prefer that corporations were not legal people?"

Yes. Corporations can't go to jail. They only very rarely see the corporate veil pierced and see directors or executives go to jail. Corporations have a long, rich history of committing crime after crime and getting away with it, or getting hit with little more than a slap on the wrist.

When I compare that nonsense to the damage they have been able to do to the US (and frankly, Canadian) political, social and economic landscape through unchecked (and uncapped!) political donations I find that the greatest good for the greatest number is in taking the powers and privileges of personhood away from corporations as it has been demonstrated repeatedly and disastrously that they absolutely cannot use them responsibly. (And now corporations are allowed to have a religion?!? The fuck, what?)

Corporations should not be legal persons. If they break the law beyond what would be considered a minor breach of protocol/paperwork or a very minor misdemeanor (I.E. things that are understandable to have screwed up because our legal system is incomprehensibly complex) then the corporation should simply be dissolved.

Those who run and own the company are to act with honour and the best of intentions or they lose the privilege of running a corporation. Period.

As part and parcel of this, corporations lose their ability to bribe politicians and quangos outright. Any attempt to donate goods or services to a political campaign by a corporation should result in the immediate dissolution of the corporation and locking away the brass hats that run the thing for a very long time.

One vote per natural person. Period. None among us should be allowed to purchase influence with money.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: an example....

"corporation tax is unfit for purpose and should be replaced"

Replaced with what? Seems to me the proletariat can't afford more of a tax burden than they suffer now, and there's no way on this earth you'll a G20 country is going to raise capital gains by a meaningful amount.

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Trevor_Pott
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Tax the proletariat, you mean. After all, it's only fair, right? Goods and services taxes are fair, no? Progressive taxation is bad. Evil! Why should we tax the rich more than the poor? That's discrimination!

Then you can get into the fallacy that the rich will pay more tax in a GST scenario. Though they rarely do. After all, the rich only eat so much, only have so many cars, only need so many clock-radios, etc. And the tax shortfall that occurs when you move to regressive taxation? Just up the rates! After all, it's fair, isn't it?

That person making $20,000 a year should be paying out a good 30% of that - at least! - in goods and services taxes. That person making $2,000,000 a year should only pay out a good 0.3% of that in goods and services taxes. It's only fair!

Businesses are where the money is concentrated. Unless you are willing to dramatically reform capital gains taxes as well as move to a proper progressive system, then saying "no business taxation" is the same as saying "tax the poor, not the rich."

Taxes need to be levied where the money is. No matter how hard you try you just can't tax the destitute enough to keep your roads and sewers and private-terminal-equipped airports running.

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Just as Google, Microsoft catch up with Amazon cloud prices, Bezos whips out the axe on S3 again

Trevor_Pott
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Premise: the cloud is ideal for small businesses.

I'm going to use my home storage as a template here. It is similar in size to many of the 25-seat SMBs I work with.

Home lab + media + house files = 16TB home storage

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Amazon costs:

$0.06 x 1024 x 16 = $983.04 /month

$983.04 x 12 = $11796.48 /year, not including bandwidth costs or Amazon Transit costs.

Synology Costs:

Synology DS1513+ 5-bay NAS $900 x 2 = $1800

4TB Western Digital RE 7200RPM SATA $453.50 x 10 = $4535

$1800 + $4535 = $6335 for 16 TB at RAID 5 + RAIN 1, shipping, power and setup costs not included.

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Backups are required in both scenarios, as neither setup protects against fumblefingers or "oops." You can make the Synology setup virtually indestructible by swapping out one of the 5 bay devices for a 5-bay IOsafe for a few hundred dollars more while preserving the RAIN capabilities.

Once set up, a Synology RAIN pair requires virtually no maintenance. The Disk Warranty is 5 years long. Let's do some maths.

Assuming the Amazon costs drop by 10% year on year we have $11796.48 + $10616.83 + $9555.15 + $8599.63 + $7739.67 = $48307.76 total Amazon cost for 16TB over 5 years, not counting the cost of bandwidth or transit.

Assuming we opt for an IOsafe/Synology pair (and that IOsafe commands the MSRP $800 premium) we have $6335 + $800 = $7135 total Synology cost for 16TB over 5 years. Shipping, power, and setup costs not included.

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Let's make things interesting and assume that we need as close to zero repair time as is practicably possible for our RAID + RAIN IOsafe/Synology setup. That means we need spares on the shelf.

So let's say we go for three IOsafe 1513s (3x $1700 = $5100) for the NASes and we buy two spare disk drives to cope with RMA lag, bringing out total disk cost up to $453.50 x 12 = $5442. That should see us through 5 years with room to spare. I have many such setups in the field and can say pretty confidently that they eat about $100 per year in power each; that's $200 per year for the pair or $1000 over 5 years.

That makes Amazon's $48307.76 versus the "IOsafe/Synology RAID 5 + RAIN 1 with cold spares on the shelf" approach which costs $11542. Over the course of five years Amazon costs $36765.76 more.*

The argument for the cloud is that it lowers your total cost of ownership by removing the onerous costs of paying nerds to know and fix things. This means that Amazon is adding $36765.76 worth of value above the $11542 cost of the raw hardware approach I described.

Could someone please explain to me how SMEs can afford to pay $36765.76 in "added value" to set up and run 16TB of storage? I'm quite obviously missing a very fundamental piece of economics.

Some of the top minds in our industry adamantly proclaim that all SMEs should be using public cloud services exclusively. The only conclusion I can draw from this is that I do not charge anywhere near enough money for my services.

*The cost of bandwidth and transit over those 5 years isn't part of this calculation, nor is shipping for the Synology set. The bandwidth will be expensive for most people - and could be disastrously costly, depending on your ISP and data caps - while the shipping will for most people be insignificant.

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VMware blows $1.5bn gobbling AirWatch to boost mobe wrangling

Trevor_Pott
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My email to VMware on the topic: "VMware bought Airwatch. Does this mean we're finally getting a real mobile hypervisor? The one VMware's been sitting on forever?

Enquiring minds want to know…

--Trevor"

VMware's response: "Guess you will have to wait and see :-)"

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LogMeIn: We're stopping our free offering from, errrm, NOW

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Shock, horror

Who is outraged that we are asked to pay? Nobody I know. There's outrage at the lack of time given. There are a lot of folks considering moving to alternatives because the premium offerings don't match up. I don't know of anyone saying "I deserve to have a free offering forever."

"24 hours notice is a dick move, guys" is a valid complaint for the free-tier users to level at the company.

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Trevor_Pott
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Gotta join the "happy Teamviewer customer" crowd on this one. Couldn't live without it.

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No one's likely to get rich selling disks in '14... but it won't stop 'em trying

Trevor_Pott
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I think the key thing to bear in mind is simply this: one size does not fit all. There has been enough technology developed around dynamic, programmatically configurable (software-defined) storage that now virtually any niche can have their needs met without tossing virgins into Mt Erebus.

This is terrible news for EMC, as it means that their stranglehold on the market will disintegrate...but it also means that vendors are now fighting both on fitness for purpose and price at the same time. Gone are the days of overpaying for storage or overpurchasing by 50%+ the amount you need. Whether your bottleneck is raw capacity, redundancy, replication, IOPS or some combination there is a vendor out there that has exactly the product you need for to get the right ratio of features for a price you can afford.

The wailing and gnashing of teeth taking place is the howling of the entrenched against commoditisation. The overwhelming applause is the rest of the world, cheering and hollering: "about frakking time!"

Compute is a commodity. Storage is a commodity. We need to get dynamic networking into the same state and then we can move off infrastructure and towards the commoditisation of industry-specific software applications. Silicon Valley is chalk full of wild-eyed bright young things, all looking to make their millions. They are doing so by ruthlessly and relentlessly decimating the monopolies and margins of their predecessors.

2013 saw the beginning of the end of the storage monopoly. Good riddance.

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Hacker breaks into ThrustVPS, launches phishing attack from firm's own servers

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Bravo!

Indeed. Companies that behave honorably but occasionally screw up are preferable to companies that are hostile towards honourable behavior but screw up ever so slightly less.

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HP sticks thumb in Microsoft's eye, extends Windows 7 option for new machines

Trevor_Pott
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Re: A Linux User Just MAY Buy a New HP PC To Get the Last of the Real Windows OSs.

Lenovo has heavily advertised Windows 7 support for some time. IMNSHO, this is the reason Lenovo has been kicking everyone else's ass during 2013.

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Trevor_Pott
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@Ken Hagan

I still can't say the same for Windows 8.1. Even with a Start Menu replacement, there's still hotcorners making remote support and/or remote access in a windowed client a flipping nightmare. Controls and settings are hidden, illogical and non-unified. Worse, they've replaced menu + toolbar with ribbon bars all over the OS. These are functionality and usability issues that make Windows 8 AND 8.1 a no-go for me.

That's before we get to the aesthetic issues of the Metro UI, especially as it applies to the desktop. Flat, featureless chrome just doesn't work for my brain. I need to see my click/touch targets. The inability to revert Windows 8 to classic mode is a real issue for me: my brain has trouble instinctively finding which button to push to make the necessary events occur, because it's all flat. I actually have to think about where to click and what to click on, something that slows down my day-to-day interaction with the PC.

In the end, there are a bunch of "minor" changes to the UI that cumulatively result in an OS in which common tasks that were so ingrained as to be autonomic take me longer to accomplish than in the previous incarnations of the same OS.

Why the would I pay money for that? 8.1's additional button or no?

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: I like it but I can sympathise.

"Quick POP QUIZ: List the way(s) in which Windows 7 differs from XP, visually without having to cite the Aero Interface. Which is just XP Task Bar with a Translucent Alpha Chanel and a gimmicky 3D Task Switcher? ...."

The poxy whoresons took away my up arrow. 5 years of use, and I still loathe "breadcrumbs". End up installing classic shell on all my long-term Win 7 systems just to get the up arrow back.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: I like it but I can sympathise.

Amorous Cowherder: I think I'm going to use that comment in an article. Your story is a great description of exactly how software transitions should be managed. Where the existence of choice creates options that lure individuals away from existing installs, not where users are forced without recourse. We may disagree about the utility and usability of Windows 8, but the concept of mobility between systems is important.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @AC 101 06:51

"Hypocritically, these are generally the same people who boast about how many 3rd party GUIs there are for Linux"

"Linux" is a kernel. Technically, every GUI for Linux is a "third party GUI." I believe that Linux supports boast about the fact that the OS they use respects end-user choice...a concept towards which Microsoft is quite openly hostile.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Microsoft and movie sequels

Empire.

Blasphemy!

Empire had the better ending! I mean, Luke gets his hand cut off, finds out Vader's his father, Han gets frozen and taken away by Boba Fett. It ends on such a down note. I mean, that's what life is, a series of down endings. All Jedi had was a bunch of Muppets.

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FCC net neutrality blueprint TRASHED by US appeals court

Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

Well, if that was indeed you and you were intending to communicate something different than I interpreted, I do apologize for that. I also recommend that you take remedial English as you suck at communicating. Regardless of your intent you really did come off as an anti-natural-person right-wing libertarian, at least to me. If it makes you all angsty that I have zero respect for individuals with that ethos, too bad.

Also: please go to Somalia simply on account of you being a huge douche, regardless of your personal belief systems. There now, can we haz be friends nao? Cheers.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

It is always possible I misread something. The forum gives the fellow the ability to come in and correct me if I misread him. Rereading what he wrote, I still stand by my original interpretation of "status quo good, pro-citizen regulation bad." If that wasn't the view he intended to communicate then I have to say he sucks at communicating.

Subsequently there were no comments by the OP attempting to say "hey, you've misinterpreted me, I actually think regulations that prevent corporations from screwing over an entire nation are probably a good idea." Instead there was a truckload of right-libertarian crazy careening around drunkenly with it's brakes cut.

If I did misinterpret the OP, well shucks, sir, I'm sorry. I'd be interested to know what you intended to write in a better communicated and more detailed post. If, however, my assessment of the OP as defending the status quo is correct, then I don't apologize in the least and I hope he's the first to have his bill raised and his access restricted when ISPs realize they have carte blanche to wreck the market.

Wibble wobble wubble.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: These corporate executives take everything if they are not stopped

"We've already got an open accessible internet and we don't have net neutrality regulations."

No, we don't. we have a highly regionalised internet. One in which data from different sources is treated differently, where telcos can - and do - pick winners and losers, where artificial scarcity drives up prices - and barriers to entry - and where both private businesses and nation states snoop on traffic and even censor access to information.

That's not an "open accessible internet" at all. We had an open, accessible internet. It hasn't been such for some time now.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

No, it went more like this:

OP: "Net neutrality is completely unnecessary regulation, as the existing non-"open internet" regulations (which basically gives telcos carte blanche regarding data services) are just fine."

Me: "You are advocating getting rid of - and preventing in the future - regulations that are good for the overwhelming majority of people so that Telcos can erect barriers to entry, create artificial scarcity, drive down quality and reduce innovation...all in the name of profit. That's pretty goddamned shortsighted of you. You should really look at Somalia - a nation with no government regulation - to see how well that sort of idiocy works out."

Several libertarians: "regulation is the devil! It is what causes all of the world's problems!"

Me: "Incorrect. Here's why. Here is what you need to do in order to prove me wrong."

The OP did not call for stronger business regulation at all. The OP called for significantly less business regulation and a maintenance of the status quo...a status quo that is emphatically not favourable to the average punter.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

@Anonymous Coward

You espouse belief in magic: that a lack of government regulation will somehow make everything better...yet you offer no proof...while those who argue that regulation is necessary can offer centuries of economic evidence.

Given this, I fail to see why you wouldn't want to go to Somalia. It is a country that is currently experimenting with your philosophy on a grand scale. There's nothing "moronic" about it; it is currently the best example of a country without government regulation.

If someone told me that they want a nation where religion what predominant and that doctrine superseded science as the basis of decision-making I would tell them that Iran is a great example of where this occurs today. Similarly, there are several other countries in the Middle East they could visit to see how that works out.

Meanwhile, as someone who believes in secular, evidence-based legislation in a society whose goals are based on the tennets of social democracy, I too have exemplar nations. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Estonia and several others.

I then judge economic and cultural philosophies by looking at nations that are the purest examples of those philosophies as currently applied. The current purest example of the libertarian anarchist ideal is Somalia. I hold that up to the current "purest" example of a social democracy (Denmark) and choose social democracy.

You are free to believe in what you wish, though I fail to understand why you believe turning a nation towards Somalia rather than Denmark is somehow appealing.

Nor, for that matter, have you answered any of my questions or challenges to even begin to prove that your libertarian anarchist ideology would not result in Somalia when applied to a nation. You simply call people names and continue to assert that your belief system is true. That's religion, no matter how you dress it up. Faith, not fact.

And since you seem insistent on turning to faith in order to combat fact, then I must declare your faith null and void, as the One True Faith is that of His Noodly Self. I suggest you familiarize yourself with it.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

"it seems obvious that giving every human being on the planet a good quality of life is the most important goal"

The problem is that libertarians don't share this goal. For all too many the goal is to enhance their personal quality of life above that of others, even if - sometimes all the better if - that leads to enslavement, torture, maiming, rape and/or death of those other individuals.

There are people who seek to create a rising tide that lifts all boats and then there are people who seek dominance. Never the twain shall meet.

Given that I've not got a yen for subservience, I think that I'll resist those who desire dominance. No matter what it costs.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

"trev, you don't know what a monopoly is do you? its regulation in favour of a firm or a number of firms,"

No, a monopoly is when one firm has control of an entire market. A cartel is when a small number of firms work together to divvy up a market amongst themselves and act in a concerted fashion to control it. Both monopolies and cartels artificially inflate margins, viciously oppose change and erect massive barriers to entry.

Monopolies can be created by regulation. Monopolies and cartels are far more often created by market forces, as they are the inevitable end result of unfettered capitalism.

"social democracy is merely 50%+1 might is right."

Incorrect. Social democracy observes protection mechanisms to ensure that "the tyranny of the majority" does not oppress the minority. It also attempts to employ mechanisms to ensure that "the tragedy of the commons" is avoided; something libertarian capitalists are adamantly against.

"[Social democracy] can't because it hates heresy or choices."

Social democracies are typically secular, so heresy means nothing to them. (Versus several capitalist nations which are either official or de facto theocracies.) As for choice: social democracy embraces choice in a way that capitalism never can, because it regulates against monopolies and cartels and works to lower barriers to entry into markets.

"How does it drive margins down?"

Social democracies drive down margins by lower barriers to entry into markets and preventing abuse of market dominance via regulating against anti-competitive practices. Social democracies are strongly against cartels; they do not allow companies to carve up a market and act in a concerted fashion to artificially inflate margins or create artificial scarcity.

Social democracies drive down margins by ensuring competition. They work en see that "any kid in his garage with a good idea" can enter a market and disrupt it, even if there is only one real incumbent who has functional market dominance. This is achieved by limiting the anti-competitive measures they can enact as well as government funding of research, small businesses, education and more. Even centralized funding of health care is a massive boon to entrepreneurs as they then do not have to bear that burden themselves.

"Globalization, zero regulation by the state are postive boon IMHO and the last is problem caused by the state's monopoly over money and the financiers utilizing that monopoly to their own advantage."

Then you're an idiot. Globalisation never benefits the proles. Wages go down to the lowest common denominator while prices end up regionalised. Globalisation is all about ensuring multinationals can obtain labour at the lowest rates and materials from countries without ecological regulation (i.e. they have no regulations to prevent tragedy of the commons.)

Nowhere does it bring benefits to the regular punter. That new iPhone made with slave labour and by poisoning a province of China is not cheaper because it was made with that slave labour or because the tragedy of the commons was ignored. No, siree....you pay extra deluxe margin because you live in a "first world" nation (I use that term very loosely when referring to the USA.)

Zero regulation is something we can see the effect of by looking at a real world practical example. The nation is called Somalia. That is a country with no government, thus no possible government interference. It is hardly a juggernaut of economic might.

So I am going to have to conclude that you simply don't know what you are talking about. I am going to leave you with two goals you must meet in order to prove to me that your point of view is anything other than abject lunacy:

1) Prove to me that "tickle down economics" works. This is a fundement of unfettered libertarianism capitalism as the philosophies of zero regulation and globalisation do not allow for a means of addressing the wealth gap other than "trickle down economics." Prove that it works. Not fairly fairly dreams, wishes and beliefs. Cite at least three real world examples that involve populations of at least 15 million individuals.

2) Prove to me that deregulation increases competition in the long term. CIte at least 5 real world examples of industries that achieved commoditisation and then did not undergo natural collapse into a monopoly or cartel. Explain how these industries managed to keep the barriers to entry low and competition was maintained despite increasingly thin margins. History for those markets should cover at least 50 years to ensure that we have a long enough economic sample size to judge to the trends related to commoditisation.

Cheers.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

"I look at this this way. Capitalism is "Winner Economics": Economic Darwinism, in a sense."

I don't disagree. I simply don't believe this is a good way to run a society.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Trevor_Pott: What have you been smoking?

"Massive competition leads ineluctably to monopoly"

Capitalism is unfettered competition without regulation. Monopoly and cartels become the norm. Capitalism has led to massive amounts of human misery in the form of globalisation; slavery by another name, but wrapped in comforting words like "profit" that make libertarians feel good with themselves.

Social democracy is competition with regulation. It restrains monopoly and encourages competition. It causes producers to drive margins down and down and down...until they reach the lowest sustainable margins possible. That is good for society as a whole.

Things that are bad for society as a whole:

1) Globalisation

2) Zero regulation

3) Massive and increasing wealth gap

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the you. No matter how important you think you are.

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Your squirty insecticides make bumblebees SHRINK, warn boffins

Trevor_Pott
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A significant chunk of the world's ecosystems will collapse without bees. That means not just a loss of things plants we eat, but a loss of plants that our prey eats. Worse, the ecosystem change may well be large enough to drive climatic shifts (via changing of hydrology due to alteration in ground cover) which could result in massive changes in "what is arable land."

Short version: humans may survive without bees...but if so, there will be a hell of a lot fewer of us, and I doubt our civilization would make it through the bottleneck. Long version: it would precipitate a mass-extinction event. An even bigger one than we as a species are already responsible for.

So here's a thought: let's just avoid running the experiment, and keep the bees, eh?

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Hmm...

"What is in no doubt is that with no bees, we are fucked and with no means to control pests we are as fucked anyway..."

Bullshit. Without bees we are royally, completely, hopelessly, eternally fucked. Without a means to control pests our crop yields will be lower and we will be less profitable.

Do not conflate the two, they are not remotely equivalent.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: OY You lot, over here.

That's because the idea of cell phones harming bees is utter bollocks. There is no scientific evidence for it. There isn't even a theoretical mechanism of action! Every hypothesis I've read on the subject is facile and easily debunked.

That's a ridiculous as "cell phones give you brain cancer." And frankly, if you believe cell phones give you brain cancer you know so little about science that I demand you isolate yourself on a lonely island north of Ireland and never interact with humanity again. The ignorance of such an individual is a far greater risk to our species than non-ionising radiation emissions ever will be.

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Ancient carving of 'first human-built holy place' = Primitive Vulture Central

Trevor_Pott
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Scorpion

The explanation of the scorpion is here.

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Smog-hit Beijing shows sunsets on a giant TV to remind people what the sun looks like

Trevor_Pott
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Environmental protections are for hippies. If you're rich enough you can afford a great excursion suit for those rare times you have to leave your hermetically sealed vehicle, office or house. The markets do solve the problem: you just don't like the solution.

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Google cleared to land in private terminal at Silicon Valley airport

Trevor_Pott
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That's a long bus ride for San Jose airport to the Googleplex. I hate that drive. I guess it's more palatable if someone else is doing the driving...

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China in MASSIVE rare earths industry consolidation

Trevor_Pott
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Re: A monopoly is all we need

"Which sounds like an excellent idea really. There's a limited amount of capital in the world, profit is the measure of how much value is being added by deploying that capital. Thus we *want* people to be deploying their capital where it makes the largest profits."

No. That's what sociopaths who only care about profits want.

Human beings capable of emotions like sympathy, compassion, curiosity and wonder want investment to be made where it makes the greatest benefit for the greatest number. Profit generation does not meant he greatest benefit for the greatest number. Profit generation usually means finding regulatory loopholes and dumping externalities onto citizens.

The tantalum mine thing is a great example. The fact that a tantalum mine exists which could extract tantalum doesn't make it equal to the next. There are all sorts of considerations beyond the mere availability of ore. What's in that ore? How does that affect the cost of refining it? Where are you getting your labour (both for extraction and refining) from? What is the environmental impact of extracting and refining the ore? What is the stability of the country, the labour force, the regulatory environment, etc?

These are all factors that have effects on both profit and the ethics of making that profit. Both things - profits and ethics - are very important to those of our species that aren't sociopaths.

Of interest to me also are the two mines you mentioned. Tanco and Sons of Gwalia.

Sons of Gwalia was both a gold mine and a Tantalum mine. The company operating it mad a bunch of really stupid hedges and stock market moves and gold volatility subsequently tanked the property. Demand for tantalum had nothing to do with it: greed and ineptness ensured the downfall of that property independent of any other considerations.

Currently, there are a lot of people trying to get the red tape resolved ASAP and willing to sink a fair amount of money into that mine to get it back up and running. The demand is there for the tantalum it produces. The dog and pony surrounding getting it back up is another story.

Tanco is a completely other issue. The tantalum that comes out of there isn't exactly top quality, nor is the mine set up to be a tantalum mine. Tantalum is an afterthought: the real goal is cesium. The tantalum there has a lot of radioactives and refining it is a bitch and a half. Every gram of refined tantalum coming out of that mine would end up costing about double what the blue river mine would be producing it for.

Tanco is still an operational concern. They just don't feel that hauling tantalite out of the ground at scale and then refining it is worthwhile, given the costs of doing so from that source. Which is - quite frankly - more than fair enough. As mines go, it's an expensive, messy proposition to mine that ore in a safe and environmentally acceptable fashion. To say nothing of the cost of refining. Put bluntly: Canada has a lot better properties for getting Tantalum.

If all we were concerned about was profits then we should just be raping and murdering our way across Africa and using Tantalum from there. It's cheaper than anything any western or eastern mine could produce. For that matter, why don't we just go back to slavery? It's economically efficient. We should jettison environmental regulations and consumer protections...the list goes on.

There's more to it than "the greatest profit." There's obtaining an ethical profit. Ensuring the long term stability of your revenue stream. There are environmental considerations. Labour considerations.

You say "get the most profit possible for your investment." I say "get profit from a stable source that does the least possible amount of damage, even if it isn't the highest profit you could obtain."

Now, admittedly, I'm not a billionaire industrialist so it's easy to argue that my opinion is completely invalid in the context of making money. On the other hand, I'm also not someone running mining/drilling/venture companies into the ground with stock market (or materials market) manipulation schemes...something that seems to be standard operating procedure for the overwhelming majority of companies in the mining industry, including the owners of one of the mines you mentioned. (Sure as as hell stock market scams and manipulations are a very prevalent part of the Canadian minerals scene.)

Thus I come back to my original statement: there's a perfectly good mining property here that could produce all the tantalum anyone could want. It can do it cheaper than any other except the African rape-and-murder mines. It would do far less environmental damage and occurs in a place where the regulatory and labour environment are stable. It just wouldn't produce enough profit, and so it isn't of interest to the very same people screaming loudly that "there isn't enough rare earths availability."

In other words: the greedy sons of bitches screaming about rare earths availability can shut the fuck up. They can have all the rare earths they want as soon as they decide to obtain them. They can even have them at decent prices. Their whinging isn't about availability or even source. It is about their constant desire to increase profits, no matter the human, economic or environmental costs.

I hold those people - and anyone who defends their way of thinking or behaving - in nothing but the absolutely highest of contempt.

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FCC boss: I get knocked down, but I get up again. You're never gonna keep net neutrality down

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Doesn't it depend what you mean *by* "net neutrality" ?

@Steve Knox A slippery slope is not always a logical fallacy. It is only a logical fallacy if the individual using the argument can demonstrate a clear means by which one could "tumble down the slope." I think the means - and the motives - are clear in this case, making the slippery slope argument valid.

Also: if you prioritize one packet then by definition you are deprioritizing all others. Inspecting the content in order to prioritize a packet A) is a massive privacy violation and B) doesn't remove the original dilemma that by prioritizing "the chosen 1%" you are forcing "the other 99%" to make do with fewer resources.

More to the point, the current trend is to encrypt everything (and that's a fantastic thing.) No method by which you can snoop on content. (Unless you're the NSA and have compromised everything.)

That means you can only reliably prioritize based on source/destination. Pray tell, why not prioritize packets from white neighbourhoods above those of black neighbourhoods? Or from political campaign contributors above those of political opponents.

Oh, you find that suggestion illogical? I feel the same way about saying we should prioritize packets from those with more money over those with less. That's what this all boils down to, at the end of it.

Are we to build an equal society - digitally as well as in the real world - or not? I believe we should. You don't seem to. Never the twain shall meet.

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'Toothless' environment protections in secretive global trade pact TPP leaked all over the web

Trevor_Pott
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Re: U.S. Citizens

My own country's economy would be severely shaken by this effort. The world would have to scramble to cope with any such major change.

It's a sacrifice worth making.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: U.S. Citizens

War is unnecessary. I do, however, advocate global abandonment of all free-trade treaties with the US and a series of economic blockades be established until they get their shit sorted. Plutocracy is no better than theocracy.

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Trevor_Pott
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The USA is supposed to put the interests of it's citizens above that of it's plutocrats. That means things like pushing for strong economic protections, sane copyright laws and trade agreements that promote global harmony.

Trade deals like this need to enhance all party nations so that long-term relations are maintained and that the citizens can derive benefit for generations. They emphatically must not elevate the corporate interest of a small group of plutocrats above the interests of regular citizens or harmonious cooperation. That isn't good for the citizens of the USA...and the citizens are the ones who are supposed to be benefiting from all activities their elected representatives - or the appointed staffs they oversee - engage in.

The TPP does not benefit the citizens of any member nation. It benefits only the plutocrats. Why should the citizens - or governments - of any nation support it?

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Trevor_Pott
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NDP, card carrying for 15 years...but next vote is for Trudeau. I don't care about the "dynasty" nonsense. He's the halfwit I think will do the least amount of damage.

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Trevor_Pott
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30% of Canadians will vote Tory until the day they die. When confronted with the actual policies enacted by the Tory government, however, over half of those individuals regularly decry them.

The other 70% of Canadians are vehemently opposed to the Tory government and it's policies. Opposition to the TPP treaty is strong in and organized here...but since the Tories managed to gerrymander enough ridings to get a majority, they have carte blanche and we're screwed.

Steven Harper and his government do not represent anything close to the majority of Canadians. We are forced to obey because men with guns make us, not because the majority asked for him to lead us.

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Trevor_Pott
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The TPP is a bad treaty for everyone but the plutarchy. Which is, of course, why the US and the desert-island-filled-with-monsters US wannabe are all for it.

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NSA: It's TRUE, we grab 200 MILLION of your text messages A DAY globally

Trevor_Pott
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Pint

If you have nothing to hide you probably don't have enough beer. :)

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Boffins hampered by the ampere hanker for a quantum answer

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Nail that Electron

Reroute the EPS flow through secondary relays and cycle the pattern through the cargo pad buffers. Once there, you should be able to get a lock on the pattern in the cargo pad buffers by using a second annular confinement beam.

Just make sure you track both beams and re-integrate them, otherwise you'll clone whatever's in the buffer.

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Top patent troll sues US regulators for interfering with its business

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Venue

The court evolution to process patents faster came after the patent cases moved there en masse. It really started with the jury pool. From there, screwing the average guy became a big money industry.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Venue

The downvotes are because you are wrong. People choose East Texas because it contains a bunch of highly pro-business hicks. These people are easily bamboozled by the patent lawyers and there is an entire industry built up around understanding the local cultural moores to better appeal to them and get them to "vote" your way.

East Texas is chosen because of the "quality" of it's jury pool. Nothing more.

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Chuh! 'Grossly inadequate': Time Warner Cable rejects $62bn hostile takeover bid

Trevor_Pott
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Re: There is always a bit I get confused by ...

Because your analogy sucks, good sir?

This is more akin to a property being owned by an elderly out-of-country couple and managed locally by a hired property management firm. A property developer comes along looking to buy up all the houses in a given subdivision so they can raze the whole lot and rebuild.

The developer submit an offer to the property management firm in question and ask them to pass that information up the stack to the property owners. The property management firm for whatever reason says "get stuffed". The developer says "I don't think so," then goes and pulls the property records from the local city hall and sends the offer via certified mail to the elderly out-of-country-couple, bypassing the property management firm.

That is a far more accurate analogy for this situation.

Offer made to the elderly couple - in this case, the offer presented to the shareholders directly at a shareholder's meeting - the "owners" then have their chance to say "get stuffed" or accept. The opinions and desires of the management company - in this case, the board of directors - are completely irrelevant; they are hired only the manage the asset. Their feelings about who can or can't own it simply don't matter.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Fiber Internet

You're funny. That would be good for the customer. ISPs don't ever do anything that might potentially benefit a customer.

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Basho throws life raft to organizations pummelled by unruly Riak DBs

Trevor_Pott
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Sysadmins in "not getting funding for 5 nodes when it is technically possible to make the bugger work on one node" shocker.

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I found an asteroid! yells revived probe NEOWISE. Boffins nod politely

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Did they call the AA out?

The telescope only needed be cooled down so far in order to see dim ultra-dim objects; think brown dwarfs. Running at a hotter temperature doesn't allow it to see these objects, but would allow it to see brighter ones.

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