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In a Self-Driving Future, We May Not Even Want To Own Cars

Afty0r Re:Flawed, 'cos... (453 comments)

2. Consumers want reliability and 100% availability. Consider Uber and Lyft that promise this, except during surge pricing periods. People hate this. It's economically correct in the case of Uber and Lyft, and an obvious idea, but surge pricing during rush hour isn't going to work. People will still own their own cars.

It depends on the alternatives (public transportation, flexibility of demand to go one hour earlier or later, and telecommuting etc.) but surge pricing makes a whole lot of sense. Especially when working on a scale where the surges will be known in advance, can be pre-booked etc.
It will be fine to charge 2x the "base price" for an 8.30am commute if that is what people are expecting to pay. Current hostility to surge pricing seems to be based mostly around the lack of clarity as to the actual price.

3. Personalization and customization. Hey, I like my cars stock, but I still have my stuff in the center console, my presets on the stereo (yes, 760 am in the morning, I'm a dying breed), and my iPhone paired to Sync.

This is already partially solved, Spotify will sync with your uber to play your desired party playlist on the way to the party. In the future, this kind of interoperability will become more ubiqitous.

4. Toy haulers. You're not going to call Uber or Lyft to tow your trailer to a state park or tow your boat to a launch. And this isn't 99%'er speaking, this is blue collar worker in my part of the country.

While some very specialist tasks might not be suited to a "time share" model, as the world moves to such a model it will become MUCH more economically costly to run your own vehicle - so the price point at which a specialist time-share service for minority use-cases will move down significantly.

2 days ago
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New Book Argues Automation Is Making Software Developers Less Capable

Afty0r Re:Testing (212 comments)

projects are FLOODED with automated testing tools to ensure their code works. And sure enough, every bug that I submit has an "automated test" that didn't test that particular condition

THIS THIS THIS

As a software engineer (now half-suity) of twenty years, I am constantly frustrated by those newer to the profession who got caught up in the whole "Unit Tests are Sacrosanct" philosophy. I have worked with multiple engineers who value "testability" over "working".

Unit tests are convenient, a handy tool for programmers, but in my experience they have close to zero inverse correlation with the number of bugs in the programmers output. Any programmer who can think of the right cases for his unit tests is also capable of considering those same cases when writing his code - the correlation between [Experience and Ability] and number of bugs is the biggest one out there.

Know what I favour? Readability and simplicity over pointless abstractions. Functioning, working applications over "90% code coverage". Things that fail at compile-time over things that fail at run-time. And when I press these principles onto more junior devs I always get push back about how "that's old fashioned" or "that needs extra lines of code" - they seems to complete disbelieve, and then they wonder how the hell I write and manage multiple web sites in my spare time that are generally more complex and reliable than any of the commercial sites I've worked on (with one or two notable exceptions).

KISS applies to everything, and unit tests do not adhere to this principle. They have a time and a place when they start to show their value - and that time and place is when SOME of the following are true:
-] Codebase is expected to be maintained by a large team, or eventually by persons who were not involved in building it
-] Codebase will be architected by senior staff, and then maintained by more junior staff
-] Codebase may be sold to, or extended by, third parties (open source is big on this)
-] Codebase is difficult to read/pick-up and has high levels of abstraction
-] Codebase is expected to change significantly in the short or medium term
-] Team involved is junior or inexperienced in one or more significant factors (in general, language, app domain)

Outside of some of these scenarios (I may have missed some, please do comment) you should be seriously considering how much of your investment you place into Unit Tests. I have seen some companies/teams/individuals spend more time writing unit tests than they did functioning code - that's negligent in some cases. If your team had double the velocity on new features by simply writing features instead of upping levels of code coverage, your company/owners/shareholders would have twice their return on investment...

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Data Warehouse Server System?

Afty0r You are looking for the wrong product/service (147 comments)

We are trying to find a good data warehouse system to host and run analytics on

You're asking the wrong questions.You should start higher up the chain in business-value land - WHYdo you need a data warehouse system (to run analytics)... great WHY do you need to run analytics (to discover XXXXX from the data we generate/own/handle). OK now you're getting closer... now, armed with the knowledge about what data you will be storing, and what kind of insights you would like to generate, you need to approach a specialist data analysis & insights company who can help you to select the correct products and platforms for your data storage, processing and analysis needs.

The way you have phrased the questions in your post makes it obvious you don't really have a lot of experience in this arena, and this is not a decision you can afford to get wrong. This company may also be able to offer consultancy about generating your queries, reports, and carrying out some of the data analysis, but it sounds like you want to do this yourself - now that's actually quite reasonable to attempt in-house.

about three weeks ago
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As Prison Population Sinks, Jails Are a Steal

Afty0r Re:great news. (407 comments)

Wow that's pretty harsh. Do you mind if I ask (as a non-USian) what amounts you had on you? Such drugs are illegal where I live, but being caught with small amounts usually results in a minor punishment, and no "record for life".

about a month ago
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Fighting the Culture of 'Worse Is Better'

Afty0r TLDR (240 comments)

"Technical Debt is a thing, people"

about a month and a half ago
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After Dallas Ebola Diagnosis, CDC Raises Estimate of Patient's Possible Contacts

Afty0r Re:I feel like we are living in an 'outbreak' movi (258 comments)

H1N1 was the flu - flu makes a lot of money through flu shots, "treatments", symptom alleviation meds. By alerting the population, the sales of related product go through the roof. How many big pharma lobbyists do you think pushed the government to scare the population as much as possible in order to drive up sales?

Ebola, on the other hand, does not have a wide array of products from big pharma that the population would be *likely* to go out and panic buy/stock up on. So no-one is telling the head honchos in government to get the bullhorn out. Consequently, no big noise...

about 2 months ago
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Comcast Tells Government That Its Data Caps Aren't Actually "Data Caps"

Afty0r Re:come on Google Fiber (341 comments)

Is Google Fibers current operations profitable?

I'm curious. If it sounds too good to be true... maybe it is?

about 2 months ago
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New EU Rules Will Limit Vacuum Cleaners To 1600W

Afty0r Wow (338 comments)

vacuum cleaners ... produce more emissions than dishwashers and washing machines.

Wowser, I feel better about my laziness already. My room might have a 3/4" layer of dust on the floor, but I'm saving the ice packs one lie-in at a time!

about 3 months ago
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NFL Fights To Save TV Blackout Rule Despite $9 Billion Revenue

Afty0r Re:Why would anyone go willingly to the stadium? (216 comments)

You are clearly one of a VERY small minority of people who prefer to NOT socialise.

Most of the rest of us enjoy doing things in groups, it's a primal thing and appeals to our base urges, especially if we get to be all tribal about it.

about 4 months ago
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The ESports Athletes Who Tried To Switch Games

Afty0r Re:eSports aren't like regular Sports (146 comments)

Keep counting...

A significant portion of my friends from my late teens are now employed not in *making* games, but in casting, organising, events management, marketing and more for eSports events... The growth is beyond phenomenal.

I believe a League of Legends event recently sold out the Staples Centre faster than any other event in history...

about 4 months ago
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Activist Group Sues US Border Agency Over New, Vast Intelligence System

Afty0r TIA (83 comments)

The AFI, which was formally announced in June 2012 by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), consists of "a single platform for research, analysis, and visualization of large amounts of data from disparate sources and maintaining the final analysis or products in a single, searchable location for later use as well as appropriate dissemination."

Sooo errr.... Total Information Awareness then?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T...

about 4 months ago
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Renewable Energy Saves Fortune 100 Companies $1.1B Annually

Afty0r Re:Saved? (116 comments)

$2.2billion, annually.

about 5 months ago
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In a Hole, Golf Courses Experiment With 15-inch Holes

Afty0r Expensive Middle Class Sport Losing Patrons (405 comments)

Wonder why - the most expensive popular sport in existence is losing millions of players, right around the time that the income of the group most associated with playing golf is dipping dramatically...

Maybe if Sherlock were here he could figure out why?

about 7 months ago
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Your Car Will Tell You How To Hit the Next Green Light

Afty0r Making waves in traffic (364 comments)

So correct me if I'm wrong, but if all drivers adopted this, wouldn't it result in traffic in a lane approaching a light from converging together into "clumps" or "waves"?

Cars near the front of any given clump would be slowing down in order to arrive at the light after it has stopped being red and become green. (Close) Behind those cars would cars which would have passed through during the green interval regardless of this system. At the back of a clump would be cars who are speeding up to attempt to "get in" on that same green signal.

Ultimately it would result in cars travelling very close together, with huge spaces between "convoys". It might even be more efficient, so sure - but while there are still humans behind the wheel, this seems dangerous as everyone will always be "tailgating". Once CPUs are behind all the wheels, it will be trivial to implement using the "Internet of Things".

about 8 months ago
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TSA Missed Boston Bomber Because His Name Was Misspelled In a Database

Afty0r Re:Helpful links for intelligence community devs (275 comments)

Having worked in this arena, I can also say that Engram (or Qgram) analysis is excellent, and can be written in common SQL servers and perform very well compared with bit-shifting code methods.

about 8 months ago
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Operation Wants To Mine 10% of All New Bitcoins

Afty0r Re:I admire their spunk, but... (275 comments)

Why do you believe "unlike gold, the users can just up and quit Bitcoin forever"?

I don't use, mine, or own Bitcoin - but it's fairly obvious that beyond the use of Gold for conducting materials, it has little to no intrinsic value - it's almost identical to Bitcoin.

Everyone invested in Gold could decide tomorrow to shift their investments to Aluminium...or Dogecoin. This would leave Gold almost worthless. The same is true of Bitcoin - but why do you feel one is more likely than the other?

I think you do not understand how currency works...

about 8 months ago
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Walmart Unveils Turbine-Powered WAVE Concept Truck

Afty0r Re:Trailer strength (242 comments)

By the time this concept is rolling off a production line, what makes you think a human will be operating the forklift?

about 9 months ago
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Good Engineering Managers Just "Don't Exist"

Afty0r *All* the benefits? (312 comments)

The best engineers get all the benefits of being leaders

*All* the benefits?

I don't think so, I think it's just inertia. Our industry pays middle management comparatively poorly. In software engineering / web development which is my line of work, manager get paid barely more than senior engineers. Now I'm not one of those people who feels it's wrong to have an engineer making more than his boss (I've managed people earning more than me before, they were all awesome) but if you want the best people to step up and take a lot more pain you need to pay them a lot more.

In most other industries managers earn significantly more than their reports. Take a look at retail, at sales and many other professions. Someone in retail in the UK earning £16k/annum on a checkout line will have a manager who earns around double that - 30k or so. Same for customer services.

So, take a software engineer earning 55k/annum in London - his manager probably earns around 65k-70k, and has a MUCH more stressful and less enjoyable job, and almost certainly longer hours. His pro-rata take home is probably only around 5% better.

So how about we pay our Development Managers 100k? I bet you'd have a few more of the stronger candidates stepping up to the plate.

Yours sincerely, a (fairly, IMHO) good Development Manager in London - considering taking a step down or sideways because the money just doesn't justify the extra hassle...

about 9 months ago
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Cops With Google Glass: Horrible Idea, Or Good One?

Afty0r Re:Judging Performance (192 comments)

Selective enforcement of the law is one of the most harmful possible aspects of policing - the sooner we are rid of it, the better.

Instead, for small crimes which are rarely prosecuted (because the punishment is crazy high, like littering) we will instead prosecute all instances, and by popular demand reduce the fine to something more palatable....

about 10 months ago

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