15 June 2012

Nokia, then and now

“Our fundamental belief is we would have difficulty differentiating. The commoditization risk was very high.” — Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, 2011. “We need to compete with Android aggressively. The low-end price point war is an important part of that.” — Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, 2012. That’s right — Android would have be a race to the bottom, so Elop decided to go with an OS nobody wants and try and dig to the bottom even faster. ... Read more

11 June 2012

Uncommon common knowledge

Inspired by a Reddit thread, here’s a list of things I’ve learned over the years which I think everyone should know. Canceling or stopping a lost check is expensive, around $20 per check. Also, it doesn’t actually prevent the check from being cashed — if the check is cashed quickly (in under 24 hours), or slowly enough (not cashed for 6 months), it goes through anyway. Therefore, if you lose your checkbook, you are basically screwed. ... Read more

4 June 2012

Well-kept gardens also die from activism

Over at lesswrong.com a posting titled Well-Kept Gardens Die By Pacifism makes the case that “Good online communities die primarily by refusing to defend themselves”, and that moderators are necessary. That may be true, but it’s also the case that moderation can kill communities. Any community that really needs to question its moderators, that really seriously has abusive moderators, is probably not worth saving. But this is more accused than realized, so far as I can see. ... Read more

2 June 2012

Google ruins Places

Google doesn’t get social. They really, really don’t get it. I’ve come to realize this because of the latest update to Google Places. I’ve been a fairly frequent user of Google Places since it was launched. It used to be great—tap restaurants, get a list of restaurants nearby. Select one, get directions, menus, opening hours. Once there, enter a quick review and rate the place. No more. Today I went to find a restaurant for an impromptu gathering and the Places icon had entirely disappeared from my phone. ... Read more

23 May 2012

A back of the envelope calculation

I was watching my budgies the other day, and had a thought which led to a brief online investigation, followed by the following back-of-envelope calculation: According to a Boeing presentation on airline fuel efficiency that I found on the Internet, a 1% reduction in landing weight gives about a 1% reduction in trip fuel. A Boeing 747’s operational empty weight (with equipment, flight crew etc) is 390,700lbs. Subtracting that from its Maximum Zero Fuel Weight (max weight allowed before fuel is loaded) gives a maximum value for passengers and cargo of 144,300lbs. ... Read more

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