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Topics - littleman

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Water Cooler / Sears in an alternative universe
« on: October 16, 2018, 02:34:25 AM »
I remember thinking in 1993 that it was a mistake for Sears to discontinue its catalog.  In 1995 eBay and Amazon both launched.  I remember thinking around that time that they should bring their catalog back and put it on the web.  Sears really could have been a (maybe THE) dominant player if they just had more persistence and vision.

From back in 2012:
Sears, which opened for business in the late 19th century, called itself “The Cheapest Supply House on Earth,” and, in its heyday, dominated home delivery with 75 million catalogs distributed each year[!], bringing goods to far flung farms, towns and other locations. But today’s customer, who can browse the Sears website but not order from its catalog service, which was dropped in the early 1990s, is likely to be ordering from Amazon’s marketplace instead.

“Amazon is the new Sears,” says Robert Spector, a retail historian who wrote Get Big Fast, and other books on retailers. “It’s also the new Walmart, the new Barnes & Noble and the new Best Buy.”

Sears (shld, -17.69%) has not retooled its venerable brand for the technology age, which was underscored this past holiday season when retail sales rose, and Internet sales soared, but the venerable store racked up such poor sales that it announced that it will close 120 stores, and projected that its earnings are likely to sink more than 50% for the most recent three months — usually the time of the year that retailers rake in their biggest revenues.

Sears, says Spector, “tried to hold onto what they were rather than trying to invent themselves. Like Kodak, Sears did not leap forward when it needed to do so.”

Water Cooler / Core continuing commitment to health and fitness
« on: October 08, 2018, 03:11:16 AM »
Just check in once a week to let us know what you are doing, even if that isn't much.

This week I went to the gym 4 times.  I've also been getting a little cardio teaching my 6 y.o. to learn a bike.  I've spent about an hour a day chasing after her and making sure she doesn't take a spill.  As of yesterday she's fine on her own, so I've just been playing roller tag (not literally) with her on he bike and me on a skateboard.

Edit: fixed some really bad structure issues.

A patent Amazon has received would pair humans and machines. In this case, the humans would be in a cage.

Illustrations that accompany the patent, which was granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office in 2016, show a cage-like enclosure around a small work space sitting atop the kind of robotic trolleys that now drive racks of shelves around Amazon warehouses.

The patent was called “an extraordinary illustration of worker alienation, a stark moment in the relationship between humans and machines” by researchers who highlighted it in a study published Friday.

Water Cooler / I live in a silly place
« on: September 03, 2018, 08:14:49 PM »
The local rec-center is offering a class in: Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga

How did we get here? :o

Facebook lost about $119 billion of its value on Thursday, marking the biggest one-day loss in U.S. market history.

The company's shares plunged $41.24, or almost 19 percent, to $176.26 a day after the social media giant reported disappointing results. The slide is the largest decline in market capitalization in history, exceeding Intel's $91 billion single-day loss in September 2000, according to Bloomberg data.

Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg saw his fortune drop by $15.9 billion to roughly $71 billion. His personal loss alone, if only on paper, exceeds the value of companies such as Molson Coors and Macy's, which have market values of $14 billion and $12 billion, respectively.

Investors were spooked by Facebook's forecast showing that its number of active users is growing less quickly than expected, while the company also took a hit from Europe's new privacy laws.

While it was an incredible drop for a single day I think we all saw FB's fall from grace coming.  I guess the question now is will this spill over to the rest of the tech economy?

Traffic /
« on: July 17, 2018, 11:17:43 PM »

Top result:

Search 'idiot', get
Trump: how
activists are
gaming Google Images

It is like that scene in Being John Malkovich where he is looking through his own head.

Consumer prices rose 2.9 percent in the year since June 2017, a five-year high, while hourly wages fell 0.2 percent in the same period, according to federal data released Thursday.

So, a net burden of 3.1% for the wage employee.  It will be interesting to see how things shake out in the next 6 months.


It’s not surprising, but Apple has indeed cut off support for the first generation Apple Watch (often called Series 0). Spotted by Kyle Gray, watchOS 5 will require a Series 1, 2, or 3 device.

As the first gen. Apple Watch was released in April of 2015, users will have had just under three and a half years running current software. This includes anyone who shelled out $10,000-$17,000 for an Apple Watch Edition.

Mac products are pretty antithetical to the way I roll, I'm posting this from a 10 year old hand-me-down Dell running Debian, but damn, a semi-useful gadget that costs more than $5.6k/year borders on offensive.

A beginner’s guide to Mastodon, the hot new open-source Twitter clone

There are several Android clients.

Mastodon has microblogging features similar to Twitter. Each user is a member of a specific Mastodon server, known as an "instance" of the software, but can connect and communicate with users on other instances as well. Users post short messages called "toots" for others to see, subject to the adjustable privacy settings of the user and their particular instance. The Mastodon mascot is a brown or grey Proboscidean sometimes depicted using a tablet or smartphone.

The software seeks to distinguish itself from Twitter through its orientation towards independently operated small communities and hence a community-based, rather than top-down, moderation and service operation. Like Twitter, Mastodon supports direct, private messages between users, but unlike "tweets" posted on Twitter, Mastodon’s "toots" can be either private to the user, private to the user's followers, public on a specific instance, or public across a network of instances.

Mastodon servers run social networking software that uses either the OStatus protocol or the newer ActivityPub standard. A Mastodon user can interact with users on any other server in the Fediverse.


Chinese direct-to-consumer US sales are being bolstered by subsidized shipping that makes it cheaper for businesses in China to ship light products to homes in US than s domestic supplier can send the same package across town.  The subsidy partially comes from the US taxpayer and increased rates for US domestic shipping.

With all the trade-war talk, this seems like it would be an easy thing to fix have a positive impact.

Economics & Investing / trade war
« on: May 31, 2018, 06:44:41 PM »
I'm watching the Canadian response now.  Looks like an exact proportional measure.

Water Cooler / The $70 laptops are here (sort of).
« on: May 24, 2018, 11:21:35 PM »
I bought one of these Viking tablets + keyboards for my mother and she loves it.

Technical Specifications:

    1.3GHz Quad-Core processor
    1GB DDR of system memory
    10.1" touchscreen, 1280 x 800 resolution
    Built-in WiFi and Bluetooth v4.0

Additional Features:

    Back 2MP webcam and front 1MP webcam
    microUSB 2.0 port, USB 2.0 port, miniHDMI port, headphone jack, microphone jack, DC-in jack
    32GB onboard storage memory, additional memory via microSD card slot
    Up to 6 hours of run time on a full charge
    Weighs 1.15 lbs; 10.2" x 0.39" x 6.5" dimensions

Nothing fancy, but good for checking emails, surfing the web, or watching an occasional video.  My mother isn't what you would call technically adept, but she took to Android pretty quick after I showed her the basics.  At that price its not that big of a deal if she breaks it -- which is a real possibility. 

I'm seriously considering getting myself one for travel.

My dad's dad came out to California during WWII, but before that his family apparently lived in NC since 1660.  Odd, CoreCon was the first time I've ever been to that part of the country.  Apparently, I have a bunch of cousins there I know nothing about.

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