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Topics - grnidone

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - States have broad authority to force online retailers to collect potentially billions of dollars worth of sales taxes, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, siding against e-commerce companies in their high-profile fight with South Dakota.

Marketing / The two-pizza rule and the secret of Amazon's success
« on: April 26, 2018, 03:59:36 PM »
Amazon is good at being an e-commerce company that sells things, but what it’s great at is making new e-commerce companies that sell new things.

The company calls this approach its “flywheel”: it takes the scale that can smother a typical multinational, and uses it to provide an ever-increasing momentum backing up its entire business. The faster the flywheel spins, and the heavier it is, the harder it is for anyone else to stop it.

Perhaps the best example of that approach in action is the birth and growth of AWS (previously called Amazon Web Services).

AWS is large enough that in 2016 the company released the “Snowmobile”, a literal truck for moving data. The companies that work with AWS move so much information around that sometimes the internet simply cannot cope. So now, if you want to upload a lot of data to Amazon’s cloud, the company will drive a truck to your office, fill it with data, then drive it back. If you need to upload 100 petabytes – that’s roughly 5m movies in 4k with surround sound – it turns out there’s no quicker way to do it than driving it down the freeway at 75mph.

Marketing / BJ Fogg - How to Hack Human Behavior
« on: April 20, 2018, 08:14:39 PM »
This is an hour long talk (bottom of the page) that has some good insights.  Some notes:

The size of the success doesn't matter to the human mind.  The only thing that really matters is that there ~is a success.  As people do small behaviors and feel good about doing them, there is a breakthrough and they will do something bigger.

Match the target behavior to the level of the motivation of the user.  The level of motivation is KEY to a user's action at any given time.

Simplicity always wins.  When in doubt, make something easier to get people to take an action.

Water Cooler / AirBNB host fees of "generally 3%". WTF DOES THAT MEAN?
« on: March 07, 2018, 08:48:48 PM »
    Host service fees AirBNB

    We charge hosts a service fee (including taxes, if applicable) every time a booking is completed. The amount of the host service fee is generally 3%. Hosts in Italy or hosts with a super strict cancellation policy might have a higher host fee. The host service fee is calculated from the booking subtotal (before fees and taxes) and is automatically deducted from the payout to the Host.

    To see the host service fee amount charged for a particular booking:
        Go to Transaction history on
        Next to the reservation you want to review, click the reservation code
        Under Payout, you'll see Airbnb Service Fee

    You'll also be able to view the host service fee in the message thread with the guest under Payments.
    Guest service fees


Generally 3%?  WTF?  You can't tell me what the exact percentage so I know what I'm paying for?

Call with Customer service was basically like this:

Me:  "I don't understand what 'generally 3%' means in the wording."  *reads paragraph*  "What exactly is the percentage?"

CS:  "Well, if you charge $100 a night, then it's 3% of $100.  If you charge $200 a night, it's 3% of $200."

Me:  "So.  Is the fee 3% all the time or not?"

CS:  "Well, if the help file says it's "generally 3%" then that's what it means."

Me:  "But.  WHAT does that mean?  Is it sometimes 2.9%?  Is it 3.1%?  What is the percentage?"

CS:  "Well, you'll know it when you download your reservations and see."

Who the F*ck does business like that?  Tell me what your service costs.  Don't make this like American health care.  I want to know what the service costs BEFORE I do business with you.

The last time Jerry and Marge played Cash WinFall was in January 2012. They’d had an incredible run: in the final tally, they had grossed nearly $27 million from nine years of playing the lottery in two states. They’d netted $7.75 million in profit before taxes, distributed among the players in GS Investment Strategies LLC.

Hardware & Technology / Drone racing...
« on: January 30, 2018, 03:58:44 PM »
The teeny little WHIRRRR of the fast little drones makes me giggle:

Hardware & Technology / Ten cool things to do with a USB drive...
« on: January 27, 2018, 04:32:54 PM »
Yes.  It is a list story, but there are some good things here.  I like the "Tails" one where it will erase everything you've done on a computer.

Really interesting story from Vice News. 

And then, one day, sitting in the shed I live in, I had a revelation: within the current climate of misinformation, and society's willingness to believe absolute bullshit, maybe a fake restaurant is possible? Maybe it's exactly the kind of place that could be a hit?

I gotta say, this is ... concerning. 

Otonomo, which began in 2015 and calls itself the “first connected car data marketplace,” partners with major automakers that give Otonomo access to their raw driver data, the company said. Otonomo takes that data, analyzes it, “cleans it up,” and then sells the information to third parties, helping automakers commercialize their data, Rosner said.

It's been a thousand years since I've had to script anything, and basically, I'd have to relearn everything.  Is there a software I can use that is simple and will allow me to quickly script and automate tasks?

I need to scrape google, but I want a bit more than an out-of-the-box scraper.  Ideally, I'd like to be able to make the script quickly.  GUI format preferred because I'm too damn lazy to get the *nix vi book out.

I'm going to try to hack Automator for Mac OSX, but I'd like to be able to do on a PC as well.

Don’t ask me why, but one afternoon I had the desire to prototype a vehicle-mounted license plate scanner that would automatically notify you if a vehicle had been stolen or was unregistered. Understanding that these individual components existed, I wondered how difficult it would be to wire them together.

But it was after a bit of googling that I discovered Victoria Police had recently undergone a trial of a similar device, and the estimated cost of roll out was somewhere in the vicinity of $86,000,000. One astute commenter pointed out that the $86M cost to fit out 220 vehicles comes in at a rather thirsty $390,909 per vehicle.

Surely we can do a bit better than that.

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