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Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

ALeader71 Re:He's right! (578 comments)

True, coding is not for everyone. Just as welding, writing, and accounting aren't for everyone. However, people don't understand the tech they use on a daily basis: i.e. Snopes Microwave Article. People don't need to know how to write software anymore than they need to know how to assemble an engine, or build a stove. They do need to understand that it isn't a magic box. They do need to know how to spot bad science and emotion targeted arguments. The coal miners Bloomberg would put out of work would be screwed. Not only would they have to move to a new state, they would have to start over with an entirely new set of skills while having expensive responsibilities most of us didn't have when we were starting out.

I should point out: Coal itself is playing out in several parts of the US. Coal, like pop music, is eating itself.

about a week ago

Damming News From Washington State

ALeader71 Re: WTF? (168 comments)

Agreed. There are supposedly well educated people who believe none of the public works projects like Hoover Dam used private companies to build them. Thankfully a simple search proves them wrong.

about a month and a half ago

Damming News From Washington State

ALeader71 Re:O.M.G (168 comments)

So we should follow North Korea's example and have a government enforced "lights out" policy? No thanks. I prefer the 21st century over the 18th.

about a month and a half ago

Face Masks Provide Chinese With False Hope Against Pollution

ALeader71 This used to be us (156 comments)

This is what US and most European cities looked like in the 19th century. It's the face of unfettered capitalism.
Any activity that enables our baser nature is destructive. It's what I believed in back in the 90s but after Bush and Obama, don't believe in now. Bush started it when it became clear that while we were willing to accept another quick mid-east war our leaders largely didn't care how long we stayed, Obama showed me how hollow and phony our two party political system is by continuing most of the same Bush policies knowing people would stop complaining once he moved into the White House.

about a month and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: What Software Can You Not Live Without?

ALeader71 My favorite apps (531 comments)

Firefox, Chrome

Terminal, Outlook, Word and Excel, Dropbox, Evernote, Geektool, todo.txt, Rido

Feedly, Maps, Beat the Traffic, Evernote, bar code scanner, my grocery store's app, Rido, Sonos

Windows 7:
Putty, WinSCP, Notepad++, Rdio, Sonos Linux: vim, terminal, ssh, keystore, apt-get, yum, the list goes on.

about a month and a half ago

Apple Urges Arizona Governor To Veto Anti-Gay Legislation

ALeader71 Re:First blacks, (917 comments)

Personally, I think allowing businesses to post anti-gay signs will make them easier to boycott and drive out of business. Let their imagined victory be the yoke that drags these businesses into the grave.

As for Americans and racism. At least ours is out in the open. France bans Arabic head scarves in schools. Former Warsaw Pact countries are full of centuries old hatreds and revenge fantasies. Yugoslavia. Hungary. Europe buries it's hatred and covers it up with not so polite humor.

The US has somehow manages to isolate it's most vocal racists in tiny enclaves. Even the Tea Party, for all of it's bluster and nearly Christ free Christianity, found its power limited by the very Constitution they claim to uphold. The Defense of Marriage Act is the latest example. A Supreme Court with several GOP appointed justices struck this law down. We've allowed women on Navy ships and combat aircraft since the 90s and women (officially) in front line combat roles today. We aren't perfect but we are progressing. Our system is designed to prevent one person or group from obtaining too much power but it also means change happens slowly, and that's a good thing. A nation the size of the United Sates shouldn't be turned on a dime. It happened in the Weimar Republic in a destitute Germany and look how that turned out. Imagine a newly elected radical President with the same authority granted to him or her that was given to Hitler.

about 2 months ago

The Internet's Network Efficiencies Are Destroying the Middle Class

ALeader71 Buggy whips anyone? (674 comments)

Seriously, when will this thread end? Look I grew up in the 70s and 80s with a series of doomsday scenarios including nuclear war. Believe me, the middle class isn't threatened by technology. First off, the middle class isn't anyone with a job. The middle class is classically composed of non-labor intensive skilled employment. Yes technology has replaced some of those jobs. When was the last time you raced to the bank because you needed cash for the weekend and the teller windows were closing? Does anyone want to go back? Apparently this Joe Nocera does. Look the sad truth is, most people stumble through life. Even those who see the curve in the road ahead lack the ambition to turn the wheel. It's easier to stick to what you know and tell yourself "oh they can't do away with my job." Well they can, and they will. So what do you do? Watch, listen, and most importantly learn. It's why Pittsburgh will never again be Steel Town USA, and "what's good for GM" will not be good for America.

Oh the article makes for a good heart-felt rant. It plays on our tender hearts, implores us to feels awful for the plight of our nation and the dark, hopeless future that awaits. How could our bleak future compare to the challenges of any other age!? Get over it. I'm 42 and I've changed careers three times. I grew up with regular newscasts on shows like 20/20 which told me how I might survive a nuclear attack. At one point, we thought Japan would purchase the entire United States and turn us into slaves. Guess what? I've not only survived, I've thrived. Most of us will adapt and live on, no matter what this so-called journalist says

So quit letting this NTY prophet of doom get you down and get back to building your future.

about 3 months ago

Samsung Ordered To Pay Apple $290M In Patent Case

ALeader71 Fire up the dumptrucks! (219 comments)

I feel a parking lot full of loose change in Apple's future. Maybe this time it will happen!

about 5 months ago

Airline Pilots Rely Too Much On Automation, Says Safety Panel

ALeader71 Re:In the SIMULATOR? (270 comments)

It depends on the simulation. If you are training for a cross oceanic flight, you would simulate switching out flight crews and long periods where you would normally use auto pilot. The simulation would toss various problems at you to break up what is normally a dry, boring routine so you know how to handle different problems.

Personally, I think we're just a few years away from a fully automatic flying experience.

about 5 months ago

Winamp Shutting Down On December 20

ALeader71 Would you fork a Lama? (400 comments)

Does anyone think WinAmp is a good open source candidate?

about 5 months ago

Microsoft Donates Windows 8.1 To Nonprofit Organizations

ALeader71 Re:How white of Microsoft! (224 comments)

So the often out-of-date workstations that fill libraries can now be overloaded with Windows 8. The librarians can spend hours training the public to use Windows 8 instead of helping them find books and information. Notice MS Office isn't included.

about 5 months ago

4 Prominent Scientists Say Renewables Aren't Enough, Urge Support For Nuclear

ALeader71 Re:Energy shouldn't be cheap. (776 comments)

The problem with your theory is that it hits the poor the hardest. The wealthy get all of the energy they want. The middle class, well they get squeezed. "Sorry son/daughter, college isn't in the cards for you. Maybe you could join the service and get used as a tool of foreign policy. Hand me another blanket, it's gonna be cold tonight." Jacking up energy prices doesn't lead to greater efficiency. Offering discounts on energy efficiency however DOES lead to greater efficiency, and makes higher cost improvements cheaper as more competitors enter the market and existing manufacturers learn how to make the same products for less money. Eventually you won't need the discounts as whatever technologies you promote become commoditized. Discounts drive consumers. Punishment/taxes discourage consumption.

Unfortunately, this doesn't hold true for apartment complexes. They have little incentive to modernize. Taxes however are an even bigger disincentive to apartment complex corporations than they are to home owners. The discounts must be created to benefit these kinds of businesses. The poor of course will be the last to benefit as they have the least to spend. The way out of that is education and opportunity. We won't eliminate poverty, but we can elevate what is defined as poverty. A poor person of 40 years ago had a lot less than a poor person does today in part due to commoditization.

Finally, if the means of wealth generation are placed well out of reach, then invention is retarded or halted completely. The IT revolution of the 90s and the on-going Big Data revolution can only exist in a country where electricity is both affordable and plentiful. Make turning on that computer or light a major cost decision and you'll loose those driven individuals that are creating the next economy.

about 5 months ago

Lenovo Want Ashton Kutcher As More Than Just a Pretty Face

ALeader71 I didn't know that (101 comments)

I didn't know that Ashton Kutcher was a tech investor. Too bad we don't know how large or how deeply he was involved with the companies listed. It would be useful information to gauge this new endeavor. I wonder though, does Lenovo need technical assistance, or an artist? Technical specs are fine (and the Yoga tablet doesn't sound like a power house) but an ugly interface is the kiss of death. People spend far too much for Apple products. Why? They work well (enough) and they like the interface (Apple haters excluded). I use a Nexus phone because I don't like vendor loaded crap, but I will acknowledge the Note as one pretty phone.

about 6 months ago

Dell Is Now a Private Company Again

ALeader71 Private Equity (151 comments)

This is a good move for Dell, provided they can adopt to this new market. Dell should focus on the back end of the cloud. They make good servers. They just need to cut off the consumer arm and let it drift into the ether. They lost the consumer market a long time ago and like IBM need to focus on what they (still) do well.

about 6 months ago

The Pentagon May Retire "Yoda," Its 92-Year-Old Futurist

ALeader71 Re:Predicting The Probable (254 comments)

I grew up in the 70s and 80s. I never thought we would see a Communist state abandon the Planned Economy and embrace the Free Market. If you brought the idea to me when I was 18 or 25, I'd have thought you were nuts. What Communist wanted to give up that much power over the individual? How could a nation, so accustomed to marching in lockstep with it's leadership handle economic freedom? Russia wasn't doing so well after Communism and China was reportedly employing one third of this population to spy on and control the remaining two thirds. Today, many people wonder if the government's form really matters when Communist nations like China and Vietnam are creating a strong middle class while few Democracies are facing a future where its children are worse off than their parents.

about 6 months ago

RIAA Targets 21 Sites For Shutdown

ALeader71 RIAA still exists? (140 comments)

Didn't Apple (mostly) kill music DRM by proving that people will buy digital music if it isn't a major pain in the ass to purchase, store, recover, or access? Hasn't the rise of streaming services like Pandora, Rdio and Spotify places the final nails in RIAA's coffin?

Isn't the lack of live, streaming NFL and NBA games cable and satellite's last hope for DRM laced video? More and more people prefer NOT to sit with a bunch of self absorbed phone addicts in a dark theater to watch a crappy movie.

about 6 months ago

Google: Our Robot Cars Are Better Drivers Than You

ALeader71 Autonomous Cars - not for the open road (722 comments)

Self driving cars aren't meant for longer highway speed driving. They are meant for highly congested roadways which rarely get much over 45 mph anyway. I live in just such an area. The biggest traffic tie ups are always at the merge points. Why? People are terrible at merging, and everyone merges differently. Some follow the driving class' rules and drive to the end of the on ramp. Others find a hole and dive in. Others slowly sneak out. Some only recently started driving or moved into the area from a place that didn't have traffic congestion.

Shows like Top Gear will argue that self driving cars ruin the driving experience. Personally, I don't consider my morning commute a worthwhile experience. It's merely a less time consuming method than riding the bus. If I could let my car handle the daily commute while I grab a nap or read my RSS feeds, I'd leave the driving to Google or whoever. Leave the highway miles and scenic road ways to me. Leave the drudgery to the machines.

about 6 months ago

Jeffrey Zients Appointed To Fix Healthcare.gov

ALeader71 Re:It may all be for naught (250 comments)

I read the same thing on Wonk Blog. However the law also allows states to default to the Fed's exchange. That's what happens when you rush a Bill through the system instead of writing and tweaking the Bill while you run for office.

The problem with healthcare.org's site is implementation. Any moderately trained person can build a web site. A skilled artistic type can make a pretty website. To build something with the size and scope of healthcare.org, you have to set a few rules. First, you create an API for insurance companies, and you base the API around the ACA's rules and whatever federal rules already exist. Then you publish that API using whatever open source license you prefer. Let interested coders make better mousetraps and propose the improvements via GIT. In order to sell health insurance on healthcare.org, require some sort of long and difficult to crack encryption system...currently certificates are popular. If a poor encryption scheme is adopted, the self-interested coders will point that out and the more motivated ones will propose a solution.

So how do you keep the trolls and the bots at bay? Require proof, say Captcha and a sample code submission. Let the community identify the paid posers and kick them out of the system.

How not to do it? Develop the system in a vacuum. Give insurance companies an out by delaying their entry into the site as a provider. Worry more about governmental oversight and less about the end product. Develop the front end, but don't focus on the back end. Keep the Administration in the dark so it turns in to a big fiasco.

When the ACA was a Bill I often asked people "Why do you think the Government would do a good job providing healthcare or insurance?" The answers I got depended on political affiliation. Obama supporters looked at me like I asked a good question, but they refused to process the information as it was easier to respond with "well, the have it in Europe and I believe their system is perfect." Non-Obama supporters answered with their own talking points: Obama's a socialist/communist, Obama's not a US citizen, Obama . Now here we are with a half baked site and a lot of disappointed people who were already disappointed with Obama's adoption of Bush's platform, lack of openness, and the number of scandals that were suddenly popping up all around him.

Well, the ACA is law and it won't be repealed any time soon. The question I really want an answer too is: Does anyone think the government has it in them to do a good job now that the site's failures are impossible to hide from the public?

about 6 months ago

Is Google Building a Floating Data Center In San Francisco Bay?

ALeader71 Re:"Secret" (115 comments)

If it was my project I'd use extendable plastic pipes to circulate the cooling liquid and let the colder sea water carry away the heat. It's certainly more efficient than air, and San Francisco Bay's water is pretty cold to being with. It would take a monumental amount of heat to alter the Bay's ecosystem.

about 6 months ago

Google Offers Cash For Security Fixes To Linux and Other FOSS Projects

ALeader71 While they're at it (94 comments)

Could they fix the on-going problems with the Intel chipsets that now inhabit nearly every laptop sold? How about the Ralink WiFi chipsets that can't maintain a reliable connection?

Oh and the touchpad drivers -- I should be able to automatically shut the thing down when I plug in my external mouse.

about 6 months ago


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