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  • Raising the bar
    to walk out of college and become millionaires without actually knowing much if any computer science After a few years of the real IT world they either switched fields or kept doing work they hate becoming bitter toward the IT industry and writing forum posts about its doom Around the same time that all of these people flooded the job market with poor skills in practical software development or systems administration most internal software development for proprietary in house applications the majority of software development work moved from C to Java and NET Hardware speeds and capacities skyrocketed as prices plummeted so the main disadvantages to these managed languages became irrelevant for most applications As a result the majority of software development became easier Smaller teams with less skilled workers can be far more productive with Java or ASP NET than they could ever hope to be with C Therefore a lot of this development can be and has been outsourced to cheap overseas programming farms But there are many disadvantages to outsourcing including often poor code quality difficult maintenance over time and limited communication between the local and offshore businesses It s much easier to coordinate a project with the people down the hall than with a firm halfway around the world whose programmers don t share your native language and whose teams cycle out every few months It s hard enough to maintain communication with local workers who telecommute from a few miles away But for a lot of programming work it s so basic and boring that these limitations are acceptable It s this type of work that s being outsourced Make a J2EE web front end to these database forms Here are the complete specifications Don t think for yourself Good developers usually found this work

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/179 (2016-04-30)
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  • Video isn't the next big thing
    you spend watching video on a computer how many minutes do you spend listening to music The problem with video Text based media such as web pages newspapers and magazines are much more flexible than audio and video because they don t have a fixed timescale The consumer sets the timescale arbitrarily If you only want to devote a few seconds to reading a web page you can just skim over it and still get a useful amount of information Video and audio are fixed timescale media The content will take a fixed amount of time to consume and skipping around within it doesn t give a useful summary Plus it s more difficult to index sort and archive their content automatically with computers These aren t big problems for popular audio content because it s mostly music and most people don t listen to music as a primary activity It s a background task used to enhance their primary tasks such as reading text But to get value out of video content it needs to be your primary activity Digital video is produced like television it s designed to be watched while you re not doing much else You need to pay attention This is fine if you re watching TV on the couch But watching video on a computer is painful the physical setup isn t optimal and there are distractions everywhere Ding I ve got mail Pop New IM from Dan The second I get bored of a video I start browsing web pages My boringness tolerance is much lower for computer video than for TV because there are so many easy alternatives on the computer I can be doing something more interesting with a single click I m expected to sit in front of a computer

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/178 (2016-04-30)
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  • The Sandwich Boundary theory
    s price among consumers is important You might be able to sell 100 units at 10 but 800 units at 5 Why isn t it linear People have different perceptions of different price levels That s why financing is such an incredible money maker a person might happily pay 19 per month for 24 months without thinking about it but would carefully debate paying 299 immediately for the same product There are five categories of purchasing decisions Throwaway People are willing to drop this amount of money into a tip jar leave it behind in a cashier s penny tray or give it to a bum It s guaranteed to be a complete loss High Risk People are willing to spend small amounts of money without any guarantee that it will be worth it such as tickets to an unknown movie or food at a new restaurant Moderate Risk People might be willing to spend more but would feel more comfortable if they re given some assurance that their purchase will be worthwhile If a video game costs 50 many people would want to play it first or read reviews before buying it Low Risk Very few people will want to take chances on products in this price range such as cars No Chance People absolutely won t buy your product in this price range because they simply can t The Throwaway category isn t very important here because it would be nearly impossible to make a decent living selling software for pennies If you can accomplish that you clearly don t need to be reading this Now the part about sandwiches The Sandwich Boundary is the approximate price of a great sandwich for your potential customers Depending on who you target this is probably between 5 and 8 It defines the High Risk category from which all other categories are defined This is very important People don t think twice about spending money for a great sandwich even if they ve never tried it before At that price level people are generally willing to buy a product without trying it first or considering the financial consequences It s a frequent purchase How often do you buy something for 5 to 8 If you saw an item in a store that looked interesting for 5 99 would it take much convincing for you to buy it Would you hesitate to sign up for a useful service that cost less than one day s lunch each month Below the Sandwich Boundary it s difficult to make enough money But for each order of magnitude above the Sandwich Boundary the number of paying customers will drop significantly The longer your customers need to question their purchase the longer they ll have to convince themselves it s not worthwhile and walk away And the more questions they need to ask themselves or their loved ones or business partners need to ask them the longer it will take This is why salespeople are always

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/177 (2016-04-30)
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  • DreamHost
    The largest constant use of my bandwidth is someone s MySpace profile leeching the 3 minute video in my Ocean s Twelve review You may have seen ads or spam about them They offer a commission whenever someone refers a new customer so you ll usually see people posting DreamHost signup URLs containing rewards cgi or r cgi Recently DreamHost started allowing customers to create their own coupon codes so people have started to spam those everywhere too I find it dishonest for people to sell others on DreamHost without disclosing their potential financial gain so here s mine My coupon code is MARCO and if you use it you ll get the first year for 29 and I ll get about 6 It probably won t work after I cancel my account so another popular one is SUPER777 although I m not sure who owns it and benefits from its use There are many similar coupon codes out there No links in this review contain any referral information Anyway back to the review You re not going to find anything better for a price anywhere near theirs but only if you use the coupon codes The regular price of 10 per month is unimpressive and unless you create a second account which you can do if you don t mind your site being down for a few hours while you transfer it you ll have to pay the regular price after your discounted first year I don t have much to say about their support I m not a typical shared hosting customer I ve never contacted DreamHost s support to ask how to set up my Outlook or install a blog or forum package Based on reports I ve read from others they re average in that regard

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/176 (2016-04-30)
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  • How Google is vulnerable
    t even use the address bar they slowly type www hotmail com into the search query box and click on the first result This is surprisingly common The Internet MSN didn t get big because many people think it s much better than Google or Yahoo It got big because it s the default it s passable and tons of computer users don t know how to change it or even that alternatives exist This is a great business move by Microsoft and before using it for MSN similar moves served them well for Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player Before the Firefox homepage deal Google didn t have anything like this They never did any advertising What made them so big It didn t take much to attract the tech nerds and power users Quick searching of a large index with a fast loading uncluttered text only layout that delivered satisfactory results from a company that wasn t big and evil The alternatives had huge colorful ad spaces surrounding everything marketing overloaded copy and results of questionable quality and integrity The nerds and power users spread the word Remember this demographic controls a lot of websites Then whenever the college kids would go home to their parents and grandparents computers they d switch the default homepage to Google Their parents and grandparents of course didn t notice If Google s user loyalty weakens any competitor can step in and take a large marketshare by attracting the nerds and power users These are the seeds if you get their attention they ll do the rest of the work for you How do you do that 1 Don t be evil Power users are smart or at least think they are and they don t appreciate having the wool pulled over

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/175 (2016-04-30)
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  • The fantasy of the GoogleOS
    probably won t do it themselves If Windows Vista doesn t support a customer s awful Visioneer scanner from 1996 he ll make a very angry phone call but not to Visioneer Run all sorts of software including applications which depend on bugs in previous versions of the operating system Present an attractive easy to use interface to the user that protects them from complex details unless they re power users who will flame you if you do this Many people think they re power users when they really aren t so you have to find a balance that won t anger the real power users but won t let the fake ones cause too much damage Make all of this work for every country in every language Accommodate right to left text non Roman character sets number formatting i e 1 000 instead of 1 000 timezones and time date formatting i e 1 00 PM or 13 00 1 30 06 or 2006 01 30 Ensure that every system dialog box and window will look right under every combination Properly accommodate for users without perfect hearing sight or fine motor skills even when application writers won t Don t break under unexpected extremes such as a user setting all system text to 72pt Wingdings or making the taskbar fill half of the screen the left half Now let s see what Google does Index and search web pages Maintain a handful of simple online applications Sell a lot of advertising on other people s websites Google search result pages and Google web apps such as Gmail or Maps Local There s not much overlap Microsoft is a really big company with a lot of money and solid dominance in many saturated markets with huge barriers of entry They

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/174 (2016-04-30)
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  • It's the "How did Alito Rule?" Game!
    it is not a school sponsored activity The superintendent rejects this request Child Evangelism sues saying that its free speech rights are violated Is Child Evangelism likely to succeed on its claim How did Alito Rule See 386 F 3d 514 4 Xiu Ling Zhang a Chinese citizen has three children Unsurprisingly this does not sit well with China s one child policy Zhang sought asylum in the United States She brought with her records of 1 a fine for the unauthorized removal of an IUD 2 a fine for attempt to give birth secretly 3 a record of an allegedly forced Abortion Operation and IUD installation and 4 a notice that she was required to pay another large fine and appear for a sterilization procedure or we will be force d to complete the sterilization operation and punish severely as well These documents were not authenticated by the U S Consulate in China because as the immigration judge said it s almost impossible to get that actually done The immigration judge later denied her application for asylum because her testimony was unbelievable Zhang now claims that the immigration judge did not properly consider her documentary evidence There is no stated reason for doubting the authenticity of the records Should Zhang have another hearing where her documents will be considered How did Alito rule See 405 F 3d 150 5 Cai Luan Chen is the fiancé of a woman who was treated similarly to Xia Ling Zhang above Here the immigration judge granted the asylum request for his fiancé but rejected it for him because they were not actually married Mr Chen argues that he would have married her except that China had denied his marriage application because he was younger than 25 The Board of Immigration Appeals rejected his application for asylum Was it reasonable for the BIA to deny his petition How did Alito rule See 381 F 3d 221 6 Dennis Blackhawk owns two black bears which he uses in Lakota religious ceremonies Pennsylvania law says that you must have a menagerie or exotic wildlife dealer permit to keep the bears on his properties This permit costs 200 a year although the fee is waved for most zoos and where hardship or extraordinary circumstance warrants Blackhawk pays the fee under protest one year When his request for waiver is denied the Game Commission filed charges and Blackhawk was fined 178 400 which was later reduced to 6 442 The bears were taken away but in the process one of them managed to bite a Game Commission official The Game Commission tried to have the bears decapitated for a rabies test but a court stopped them and ordered the bears return Blackhawk has sued asking for 1 a waiver of the permit fee and 2 damages from the people who took the bears away Does the permit fee violate free exercise of religion Is Blackhawk entitled to damages from the Game Commission officials How did Alito rule See

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/173 (2016-04-30)
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  • Predictions for 2005 revisited
    As this scenario is exactly what al Qa ida has lived and died for for over ten years there will not be any significant terrorist attacks inside the United States for fear of disrupting the unfolding of this plan Iran will submit to the West exactly as much as is required to keep them from war so that they can take advantage of the situation They may become more brazen once Iraq is in their pocket The fall of Sa ud will wreak havoc with the oil markets 2006 will be marked by a great deal of geopolitical turmoil as the New World Order falls into place I m getting ahead of myself but some of this might be towards the end of 2005 depending on how quickly the situation unfolds in Iraq Jason I was off by timing by a lot though I d say that s still the direction of things just over much more than one year Tim Iraq stabilizes a great deal but many US troops are still there keeping peace The election is a success electing someone that both the US and Iraq can live with Terrorists lose popular support Massive tsunami relief is a great aid in improving international tensions Nothing noteworthy happens in North Korea or Iran Jason Every single foreign affairs prediction Tim made was completely wrong Marco Iraq s elections will be held on January 30 to fulfill the promise by the Bush regime to hold them in January Unfortunately because the country is obviously not ready for elections they ll be a disaster that will probably result in a lot of violence and fraud Nobody will respect the outcome Wrong We will still be in Iraq on December 31 2005 and we will not have made any significant progress toward stabilizing the country and getting ourselves out Correct Technology Mark Identical to 2004 except without any good games I m distraught about the utter lack of innovation by Microsoft these days and I expect nothing from them no Internet Explorer 7 no 64 bit Windows no Longhorn This year will suck for mainstream computing All the advances will be in open source software like Linux and emulation Mostly correct but 64 bit Windows was released Most users didn t notice and support among applications and drivers remains poor I will go out on a limb after more than half a decade of vaporware I predict Team Fortress 2 will come out this year It will be a Source Engine expansion released for Half Life 2 and we will hear nothing about it until the day before it s released I make no predictions about how good it will be Nope sorry Sausage There will be a new alternative to the pirate thief vs pay 17 for a CD controversy Most computer literate teens will continue to be against the man but more adults will start participating in this option my guess is a pay per month for all the music

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/172 (2016-04-30)
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