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The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees

Kergan Re:Remember the guy who hired a Chinese programmer (263 comments)

There was more to that story though.

The guy was pretty good at managing his Chinese programmer. I've rescued enough projects that were initiated by clients who hired cheap coders to suggest that your average non-techie manager is not going to succeed at doing the same.

So it's really a story about the rare breed of local programmers who are able to make $20k/year code grunts produce useful things instead of spaghetti. The savings aren't that spectacular upon factoring that in.

Oh, and there are intellectual property considerations to factor in as well. When selecting the very cheapest labor, you occasionally run into full time employees who are in fact working two or three "full time" jobs in addition to the occasional eLance jobs and what have you.

about a week ago
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The Slow Death of Voice Mail

Kergan Re:youmail (237 comments)

Sadly, though, not all carriers offer to disable voice-mail.

about a month ago
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An Automated Cat Litter Box With DRM

Kergan Re:Rolls Royce of cat litter boxes (190 comments)

...I realized that Walgreens makes better prints than my inkjet printer can at less cost.

Yeah, just be careful with the baby pics

Sheesh... The US gets crazier by the year...

about a month ago
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Librarians: The Google Before Google

Kergan Here's why (94 comments)

The reason it's special is because it was social. Had you worked prior to the internet being mainstream, you'd fully appreciate how going through your network of contacts and various venues for information can yield tremendous other contact and business opportunities.

Google may have simplified the process of locating information online, but at the same time it *decreased* the amount of social interactions, to a point where the typical 20-something youngster is scared sh*tless of picking up a phone to call someone.

about a month ago
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Airbus Attacked By French Lawmaker For Talking To SpaceX

Kergan Re:So it is official. (168 comments)

It actually has to do with keeping know-how in-house. Consider Airbus, then consider Boeing. One is all EU-based. The other outsources in Asia. Wanna take a bet on who goes bust first?

about a month and a half ago
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Renewables Are Now Scotland's Biggest Energy Source

Kergan Re:Problems with renewable sources (235 comments)

Looks prettier than Canadian tar sands imho. And I imagine less harmful than hydraulic fracking.

about 2 months ago
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Google Told To Expand Right To Be Forgotten

Kergan Re:The EU and the US (193 comments)

Companies are already applying US and EU laws and norms every day. Because, well... taken as a single entity, the EU is actually a bigger economy than the US, and the US is still significantly bigger than China -- whose laws a whole slew of firms comply with as well.

Truth is, it doesn't really matter if your laws don't apply globally in theory when you're a big economy. Firms will apply your laws anyway.

about 2 months ago
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Interviews: Ask the Hampton Creek Team About the Science and Future of Food

Kergan Re:false advertising (145 comments)

Most of them are made with natural, plant-based ingredients.

Cyanide is present in apricot, apple and peach seeds -- it's a natural, plant-based ingredient. That doesn't make it healthy.

An egg, in contrast, contains everything you need to turn a single cell into a grown chick. It's probably healthy.

about 2 months ago
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Interviews: Ask the Hampton Creek Team About the Science and Future of Food

Kergan Since when are eggs unhealthy? (145 comments)

"Hampton Creek is a food technology company that makes food healthier by utilizing a specially made egg substitute in food products."

Why would an egg be unhealthy? Leaving anecdotical and not-so-anecdotical data aside, that little shell arguably contains every nutrient needed to turn a single cell into a full blown and healthy chick.

"Hampton Creek's latest product is called, Just Cookies, which is an eggless chocolate chip cookie dough"

Sounds like something sugary... That would be healthy?

about 2 months ago
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Amnesty International Releases Tool To Combat Government Spyware

Kergan Sure way to make the government block their site? (95 comments)

Wouldn't the target government's obvious reaction be to block Amnesty International's site? Or worse, to masquerade as their site in order to distribute spyware?

about 2 months ago
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Atlanta Man Shatters Coast-to-Coast Driving Record, Averaging 98MPH

Kergan Re:When will he be arrested? (666 comments)

If speed limits were uniformly and strictly enforced (rather than an occasional tax on the driver), there would likely be enough outrage to repeal them.

In some EU countries, they're uniformly and strictly enforced by automated radars. Think France, for instance. Best I'm aware, there's little outrage -- except from a very vocal group of reckless drivers.

Speaking for myself, I find it interesting that new generations of automated radars are becoming smart enough to reliably detect when a truck or a bus is speeding when their speed limit differs from those of automobiles, or when drivers fail to respect safety distances.

about a year ago
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Smartphone Sales: Apple Squeezed, Blackberry Squashed, Android 81.3%

Kergan Re:Apple Window Dressing Figures. (390 comments)

Puzzled here... How can an incredibly profitable product line be... "weak"?

about a year ago
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Ikea Foundation Introduces Better Refugee Shelter

Kergan *Cough* Ever heard of statelessness? (163 comments)

Six months sounds good enough, to me. That's longer than I would want to live in a temporary shelter. Much longer and you're not so much providing humanitarian aid, as you are shipping-in prefabricated houses for many thousands of people. (...)

After 6 months, you should be building-up an economy... Paying some of those local refugees (a truly tiny amount of) money, to construct real homes for their fellow refugees, and hopefully even a few commercial structures.

You don't seem to realize that there are millions of stateless people out there in the world.

Consider the breakups of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia for but recent examples. Not one of us says one country; not born here says the other. Stateless. Dramatically so when they end up in refugee camps, as was the case the Balkans.

What it means in practice: no citizenship in their home country; no citizenship in the country they're refugees in; no passport; no State willing to give them a passport; no State rushing to give them asylum; no right to work, let alone to travel; essentially no rights at all, in fact; nothing; zip. Just the right to sit there and wait in a camp. Sometimes for years.

Anyway, yeah, you're right on paper. It would be a lot better if you could just give them some money to move on with life. In practice, you'll find that they're simply not welcome to settle anywhere -- not even home.

about a year and a half ago
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Student Project Could Kill Digital Ad Targeting

Kergan Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (177 comments)

Seriously, WTF people?

On top of that, all these extensions to block ads are going to end up backfiring in a huge way. When sites start to lose significant amounts of money, they're going to move to more and more annoying and integrated ads, until the ads become indistinguishable from the content itself. That's just making the web worse for everyone.

So block the annoying ads, let the non-annoying ones through, and don't destroy the internet.

Meh. Too late. AdBlock Plus is already receiving sponsorships/bribes to let "quality" ads through:

http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=de&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.horizont.at%2Fhome%2Fdetail%2Fgoogle-ist-geldgeber-von-adblock-plus.html&act=url

about a year and a half ago
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Biologists Program E. Coli To Patrol For Pathogens

Kergan Re:Was this publicly funded research? (38 comments)

- If so, why the fuck am I prompted to pay/log in to download the full text?

- And if so, why the fuck are these parasite website like Springer and ACS still allowed to paywall publicly funded research??

Because you only funded the research, and they're publishing the results?

Or perhaps because they need to pay for staff, keep the website alive, and send prints to the handful of universities. You know, logistics, distribution.

Oh, and they admittedly need to make boat loads of money, too. Publishing is still a great business to be into -- there probably wouldn't be any copyright laws without them.

Whichever it is, methinks it's less noteworthy than public research ending up as patent applications. (Especially when they're filed by drug companies, which rarely fund more than the last round of tests for things that public research has proven to work for all intents and purposes, the patent application, and the marketing.)

By the way, researchers with a sense of decency will post a late draft somewhere on their site. Just google its title:

http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/75839

about a year and a half ago

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