I wonder how much similar (or worse) errors exist in the metric shitload of device drivers distributed by the ODMs, OEMs and the white-labelers.
Everyone adds their crap onto the device and then wraps it up for sale, with no one having real responsibility on what actually ends up being on the device.
Given common code quality I really wonder what nasties are hidden in stuff like Embedded Controller firmware, the drivers for stuff like "special keyboard hotkeys" and similar. All places to hide a nice kernel level exploit in (or in case of the EC, full HW backdoor).
I have no idea how the dysfunctional wasteland that is the windows consumer ecosystem can survive. Microsoft has actually cleaned up it's act quite well and seems to be producing quality software compared to, says, the Win 98 days. But OEMs and their crapware...? I recently used someones new Lenovo notebook and you couldn't get work done for ten minutes without some sort of popup breaking your concentration. Not even the same, possibly important one, repeated over and over. No, there were 15 third-party items in the system tray vying for my attention with updates, warnings, status informations etc.
I seriously wonder how people can work for these companies. Not that they're terribly evil (b/c, after all, this rant is pretty much the definition of a First World Problem). But in that I couldn't spend the majority of my waking hours for an organization that has so little taste.
Speaking as one in the trenches, it survives by the sheer will and determination of the enthusiasts, and the slavishly hard work of various IT departments, as well as the Linux community by and large being arrogant and rude, and the fact that Mac's are expensive.
Film (and games) classifications are practically useless these days. Even when I was a young kid I had practically unlimited access to all kinds of porn and gore, either directly through the Internet or via friends. And hey, I turned out to be a pretty decent human despite watching literally months of stuff that conservatives label as "it makes your kids go full-blown Taliban/amok runner/sex addict/rapist".
It is always a matter of education, and those who believe the "system" should take over the responsibility of raising and educating their kids should be relieved of their children. For the safety of the children, because kids never exposed to anything "out of the order" do not grow up to be independent, robust adults.
I am FUCKING SCARED what happens when the current generation of kids, raised by helicopter parents and unable to withstand ANY KIND of external stress, grows up and loses the support of their parents.
It's bad when it's enforced privately too. 'AO' is the rating for games equivalent to 'NC-17' for movies. You'd think they're be treated similarly, but no console manufacturer will license AO games for their platform, nor will most stores carry them. This has created a de facto ban. There are literally only 27 games that have ever been rated AO , because the only real choice a developer has is to censor the game enough to release at a lower rating.
Sure, movies do censor themselves for financial reasons too, but they may later release an uncut edition. For games, even that is simply impossible.
Yeah, this seems pretty reasonable. If someone wants their kid to 'play violent games' or 'watch adult movies', then let them, that's called letting parents decide how to raise their kids. Heck, the whole 'mandatory' ratings thing isn't even that useful in general, since the parent just ends up going in on their own and bringing the game/movie/whatever back to their kid regardless of any 'restrictions'.
Heck, it's even more pointless with the internet and no way to verify who anyone actually is.
Likewise. When I had a child it was a useful guide to suitability.
We used the rating system to warn him of the things that disturbed him. He knew he had bad dreams based on some of the films he watched so we discussed with him that films with an 18 rating could provide him with an experience he wasn't fully prepared to process and this is what causes such disturbance.
That we, as adults, didn't concoct the whole certification scheme just to annoy children. Once he got used to the idea and was able to articulate how he felt when presented with 18 rated material by friends, he agreed that the system was a useful framework for himself.
Now, I would also argue that the certification process is not perfect and does have nannying built in. Some films have failed to get certification for general release. I am against banning forms of culture and expression. There is plenty of material I find distasteful and unpleasant such as animal torture.
I am subscribed to /rr/watchpeopledie on reddit and find it educational. Narco blunt blade beheadings and ISIS executions on video certainly provide a reality check that is missing from news reports. That my govt. chases beheading videos off Facebook is ridiculous. I don't want a nanny state like that.
> It’s curious we’ve allowed capitalism to become all about shareholders.
For god's sake I hope this view becomes more prevalent.
Viewing economy only through shareholder's eyes leads to a focus on only short-term gains - which might destroy the company in the future but who cares when stock goes up 10% in a quarter?
Fuck this shit. The economy would fare a LOT better in my eyes if any investor over a certain threshold (10k?) was forced to hold the stock in question for 12 months at a minimum, similar to the waiting periods startup founders/co-owners have to endure before they're allowed to sell their stock.
Such a move would instantly kill off those greedy funds which make a company go deep into debt, pay the money from these debts to the shareholders (i.e. the fund(s)) and then go bankrupt.
edit: also, such a move would prevent people from investing in crapps like Yo, which got at least $2.5M in funding...
Thank you for the simple, coherent rebuttal to what has become my least favorite anti-corporate illogic. The "all companies are in it for the short term" argument makes as much sense as "weed will never be legal because they can't tax it."
Hypothesis: Few investors (even the ones that see some long term opportunity) want to hold stock for a very long term. This is for a variety of reasons, including liquidity, individual opportunity costs, risks, individual lifetime (if you're old you may be uninterested in a 20 year bet), obsolescence, etc. In the end that horizon dictates of the actions of a shareholder controlled company.
So if the majority of the capital [holders] on the stock market are looking for near/medium term gains, you'll see boards that "maximize shareholder value" populated by those individuals. Their actions will maximize near/medium term value without much regard to long term. That the company could tank doesn't bother them; few investors in the market will be willing to go on a very long term bet against this stock, per the hypothesis, so the stock will do just fine in the near/medium term as a self-fulfilling prophecy; eventually those decisions may catch up and tank the stock, at which point most will jump ship with comfortable profit.
It's well known that having a long term interest yields much better results on the stock market (viz Buffet, other large investors that control companies). Not every investor has this luxury.
So I agree that it may be a good idea to change corporate structure if
1) the hypothesis is good
2) we want to see companies succeed more on long time frames (one might not necessarily want this, maybe with Darwinist ideals, or favoring rapid technological/structural change)
In fact I've seen some companies recently do just that: deliberately neglect shareholder micromanagement in favor of the long term. Companies that retain founders or have CEOs with a strong vision are the ones more able to do this.
What is your definition of destroying long term company value? Every action has an element of risk - companies can be riskier than others and in effect artificially inflate value, but destroy long term value with a bad bet.
Valeant's price is pretty damn low. It's possible their real value is zero (part of the reason the price is so low), but not likely. I'd bet their long-term value is higher than their current market value.
Are you claiming that Allergan's proposed merger is going to destroy their long-term value? Why?
Allergan: After Allergan's previous merger with Actavis they gutted the R&D department to cut costs to justify the merger. They layed 70% of their discovery team, including all but one of their med chemist.
This team and company were not bloated either: They had consistently produced promising drugs over a period of 60+ years. The stock had risen by 500% in five years and posted atleast double digit returns for a decade. Most unfortunate is that Allergan had several promising drugs in the pipeline, but the majority of early phase development got canned. It really was a unicorn that was destined for great things, but got consumed by the latest craze of "don't do R&D just buy companies and raise drug prices by 1000%". Also, recall that the company did not want to merge, but was forced to by the hostile takeover attempt by Valeant. Interesting to see Valeant stock plunge: The new Allergan CEO (Brent Saunders) and the Valeant CEO (Michael Pearson) have similar philosphies and used to work at the same consulting agency. I think Allergan will still do well, but long term they are going to miss out on massive growth potential. IE: Short term cuts to appease shareholders that limit long term growth.
Valeant: Okay the price is currently low, but this correction is after riding a 700% wave fueled by short term decisions. If you are massively in debt and your only growth vectors are creative accounting, buying ever larger companies, and raising your prices, the writing is on the wall.
Yes it is hard to find them, but looking for companies with a high short ratio  is a good place to start. Looking at the top 50 short ratio US companies, MannKind jumps out at me as a stock I would not want to hold .
There are probably different kinds of investors with different financial philosophies. To make this statement any more meaningful we'd need quality quantifications; this is an empirical question that a firm or someone with access can answer.
But modelling long into a market's future in a way that is more accurate than other models, and with appreciable effect size, is probably way harder than short-term predictions. We should expect any approximate model to drift over time.
So if you have confidence in short-term modelling, then of course you're going to engage in behavior that is profitable to you in the short-term, even if that causes detriment to the company in the long-term. I don't know if there's enough long-term investor money to counterbalance short-term investors money. But this is an empirical question, and we need quantifications to advance the conversation.
I'm not sure if my view on this is complacency, fatalism, or somewhat valid, but I disagree. (I agree that it's broken, I don't think there's a good fix)
A) we already have such an incentive in the form of long/short term ownership and tax benefits. It hasn't helped (in the sense that this behavior still exists)
B) There's always a loophole. You're required to stay in 1 year? Your shares get converted to those of the company that survives. Or they structure the deal such that a holding company is created on day 1, the profits pass through, and the debt issues don't come through until day (requirement +1).
Every control on financial deals comes a day late and dollar short - we can't penalize the crooked deals after the fact, and we can't predict what the financial industry will concoct until they do.
Further, every law passed will be worked around anyhow because you can always structure a deal to create a loophole. The laws only force ever more creative products (read: complex and fragile).
The only simple solution I see is to only allow a subset of deals, with contracts, terms, and arbitration set by the government. And that will never happen (nor be effective really, for the above).
The reason people view the economy through the shareholders' eyes is because very many of them are shareholders and count on the stock market to pay for their retirement. It's also the opposite of looking only for short-term gains.
With some notable exceptions, in general, shareholders are not patient people. Their horizon is usually the next quarter's results. After all why keep your shares in a company that is not making a "good enough" return, when you can easily them to the next company that is due to make outstanding returns.
I worked in the investment banking industry for many years, on both the buy and sell side and believe me - "long term" is not in most shareholder's vocabulary.
If you work in the industry where you're talking to people who buy or sell, of course most of the people you meet will be the ones who buy or sell frequently. You'd never even know the buy-and-hold investors existed, because they're not the ones talking to an investment bank.
I do, as part of a diversified portfolio. I couldn't find an ETF with reasonable fees that provides the make-up I wanted: long-term history of dividend growth ex-cigarettes/pharma. This dividend stream will provide a meaningful percentage of the income in retirement. It is presently being reinvested for compound growth.
I'm not sure how most shareholders think, but if it were me, I would certainly not be counting on stock for retirement. I would be looking to increase stock earnings in order to purchase capitol and create business and research opportunities, all of which are things that you don't want to wait for retirement to do.
Yes, this legal situation brings about lots of unwelcome outcomes, environmental and social impacts often have to be put aside by a 'caring' company as the law dictates they must do whatever is legal and best serves the interest of the shareholders. The UK has a relatively new entity that can avoid this and still operate with most of the benefits of a regular limited company, a 'Community Interest Company', the 'community purpose' is regulated.
A slightly off-topic aside, but tangentially related... I find promise in the 'Economics of Happiness' and GNH work, it's an emerging term and field attempting to measure human happiness in a consistent manner, this would allow any proposed action to have a line item on the costings with a figure that is derived from the amount of 'happiness' that would be created, or destroyed, as a result.
> Oddly, no previous management research has looked at what the legal literature says about the topic, so we conducted a systematic analysis of a century’s worth of legal theory and precedent. It turns out that the law provides a surprisingly clear answer: Shareholders do not own the corporation, which is an autonomous legal person. What’s more, when directors go against shareholder wishes—even when a loss in value is documented—courts side with directors the vast majority of the time.
As long as you realize your gains before the stock tanks, why do you give a fuck? The only people affected are the employees, the customers, and the mugs who invest for the long term.
If you expect to make your gains on the stock price (not, say, dividends), it's a perfectly rational strategy. Of course, it leads to things like IBM borrowing money for stock buy-backs to pump the price to make the numbers, which will be a long term disaster...
No it's not, your argument excludes factors that are huge in reality. For example, these executives that find themselves in a position to do that usually have only found themselves in that role after an extensive amount of time (10+ years) working for not only that industry, but that company, building their entire reputations.
Many of these guys also continue to rely on their network for further opportunities and support. Their network would cut them out like gangrene, just like the old Enron titans, as to maintain their own good standing they couldn't be affiliated with somebody who clearly blew up their past company. That would be bad business, and that type of behavior would have prevented them from reaching those positions in the first place.
It's unfortunate that going public is viewed as the endgame goal by so many. The best work environments I've been in were private companies. One went from great to awful in a matter of weeks after being acquired by a public company.
> No, sir, we'll take today's latest SoC, wire a few extra devices wherever we can find some hole in the address map, put a castrated u-boot on it, and today's stable Linux tree, and here you go, here's your ``platform''. And people cheer.
today's stable Linux tree? Shit people still ship 2.6.x kernels these days because they don't want to invest the engineering resources to keep their vendor-specific customizations accumulated over YEARS in the same processor family up to date.
Same here. What I'm fantasizing about is a kit with a set of compute modules in a "tower stack" with a power supply, with horizontally oriented boards stacked on the height, with all compute modules connected to ports in the tower.
And you could choose where the pin-outs leads - either straight out to connect to some electronics on the outside, or straight down to a router in the bottom.
Then you could dedicate some pins on all boards to link to the router, making for a small compact HPC setup (easy to ventilate too) and connect stuff like per-module LED rows for module status info and whatever else you might like.
Agreed for a supercomputer design it would be awful, but for a stereotypical 99.9999% CPU idle applications, the big win would be total cost of ownership / capex.
On a long term view from many decades of observation, the digital world is bifurcating into one world thats 100% utilized all the time in data centers or real time control or video gaming, and another world that's 99.999% idle but when its active the users want it infinitely fast. And the two worlds don't talk or cross pollinate and are gradually using separate hardware.
Having spent some time in electronics labs, given experimental results with smoke emitting diodes, and given the GPIO ports, there is minimization of the total cost of hardware experiments. If you assume 5% of boards will be destroyed per PID/motion control lab, then minimization of board cost is key to minimization of cost of running the lab. Implementing a PC that costs 20 times as much but provides 100 times the performance would only result in increasing the cost of the lab by 20 times.
There is also a total wattage ecological argument. I have a pi running a 3-d printer and it works great and only draws a couple watts, but the web application is extremely fat and pointlessly featureful "because the cycles are there so may as well use them" and its not like installing a 100 watt PC would make better prints, it would just make an even more elaborate UI to use all available CPU cycles thus burn more coal. A 300 watt tor node doesn't really do anything a 3 watt tor node does, other than burn 100 times the coal.
Most of this is the case for using one Pi, but not a stack of Pies. Unless you have some sort of micro-AWS which turns off the 99% unused ones. Ten boards drawing 100mW at idle are the same as one board drawing 1W at idle.
I would expect the complexities of distributing a workload over 10 boards would result in downtime far exceeding that of a single more powerful machine left doing its thing, for all but a few highly battle tested applications.
A fair accounting includes the fragility of software, not just hardware.
Google for PC/104 its exactly what you're looking for although its aimed at industrial control users (and unfortunately priced accordingly)
Of course if you could guarantee a production run of 5 million then a contemporary PC/104 board could probably cost as little as a ras-pi.
Note that there's PC/104 the concept and form factor, and another concept with the same name was a 104 pin header that was vaguely a PC/AT bus. After all, S-100 can do almost anything so an extra 4 pins shouldn't hurt anything LOL. Anyway my point is if you find references to the 80s era 286-AT level of performance bus, don't worry for a decade there's been stackable PCI equivalents and all that.
Something to think about WRT "limited" PC/104 bus speed is its not like spec-ing gamer graphics cards... if the purpose of the bus is to connect a 4 kilosamples/sec 12 bit A/D converter, even something as slow as RS-232 would not be a limiting factor, for example.
Neat. Not exactly what I imagined but probably a lot more practical OTOH. I'd just like a standardized high speed interconnection port with power supply and a shared router of some form.
Probably would be more plausible when high speed optical links becomes cheap and ubiquitous enough so that a single thin cable can be drawn from each module to an PoE equipped router, so there's not a large mess of wires. Then the on-chip pinouts could be used independently of the networking.
I have. I bought a replacement magsafe from one of those little outfits that buys "old macbooks in any condition! ca$$h today!" and refurbishes them. I paid almost full price for it thinking it was OEM, but when I got home and matched it up to my extension cable, it was obviously a cheap knockoff. Worked well enough even though it was unsightly and difficult to use (the extension cable was really hard to slide on and off), but at $85 compared to OEM at $90, why bother?