Friday, August 26, 2011

Disparate business models

I'm struck by the stark contrast between Comcast and Netflix. Without getting into a bunch of details I lack the time to provide I'll just say the following. My relationship with Comcast feels like an abuse cycle. We have a billing fight, they try to increase my rates, I threaten to leave, they cut me a deal for 6 months and we repeat the dance.

Netflix is all happy and chipper that I'm cutting back on services (going streaming only), customer service answers my question right away and even gives me the old rates until the end of my service cycle despite changing their rates on September 1st. Not because I asked for it, but because that's the way they roll. Comcast on the other hand happily charges me a higher rate for a reduction in services partway through my billing cycle. Who does that to their customers?

The really scary part is that they are now a conveyer of content and a producer of it--I'm sure I'll be able to trust them to push my Netflix streams as fast as the Today show because they're so magnanimous.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

CPU bottleneck since 2004?

So there seems to be a 6Ghz upper limit on processor speed that we can't break through since clear back in 2004. How did I miss that? As a result we've moved to doubling down so to speak with dual or quad core processor machines but only a handful of applications actually take advantage of that by offloading processes to multiple processors.

This seems like it prefaces a day of the designer, in which software engineers will have to be even more lean and mean than usual. As a side note, STATA (my favorite stats package ever). Offers licenses that take advantage of this but they want to charge for it. Who wouldn't right? It also prefaces a day of computing really starting to suck. We're supposed to double capacity every 18 months. I'm looking at buying a new macbook pro with a dual core processor that's pretty similar to what I have now and is almost 3 years old. Am I missing some nuance here?

Thursday, March 10, 2011


So I haven't been this excited about an alternate field of study in some time but just spent a couple of days with people who do work in sustainability. This would be things like designing urban renewal projects, fighting poverty or aids, or creating composting plans for a college campus. They are much more complex than that but that's the gist. They do a lot of work with teaching learners how to frame problems, design problem solutions, and execute problem solutions and they are using project and some problem based learning.

They deal with major complexity. They deal with almost any discipline under the sun. They are 10 years into being a field. They have so much energy they are their own renewable power source.

They make me tired. The oddest part is one of the big programs in this field is in Arizona. It would be like having the DNC headquarters in Logan Utah.