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Calif. Court Rules Businesses Must Reimburse Cell Phone Bills

Moof123 Re:Salesmen (156 comments)

The best defense against employees stabbing you in the back as they leave, is to not ever stab them in the back. Employees who were treated well and treated as human beings are much less likely to be jerks towards the company after they leave.

A disgruntled employee is not going to be dissuaded from screwing you simply by the fact that they have to hand a phone in.

I've had a couple companies treat me evilly, and to this day I look extra hard for alternatives when they are a prospective vendor, and I make FULL use of their support guys when they manage to get in-house. Bugs I would normally just report and work around get turned into monthly tracked items that require corrective action and root cause reports. I don't cross the line, but I share as much of my insight as I can without actually crossing the line. Companies that have treated me well generally get the benefit of my doubt.

9 hours ago
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Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year

Moof123 Re:$230 (454 comments)

How much stuff have you bought due to ads? Zero here. I usually get ads for places I just shopped at, which is really closing the barn door after the cows have left, and often results in me thinking twice about going there again.

I'm convinced that ad based funding is a bubble waiting to pop. I would be very interested to see the analytics supporting the notion that people were clicking enough ads (or influenced by the ads) in Flappy Birds to support the 50k/day payout the author was getting (and that was just his cut).

I pay for Hulu, and I wish there was a slightly higher cost ad free option.

I'd also be open to paying $20/month for a completely ad free internet where the ISP's and content providers figured out some miraculous revenue sharing agreement (good luck with that).

My problem with the current pay-wall route is that too many places have just a few articles I want to read occasionally, nut they want to do yearly subscriptions, which is a no-go for the amount of stuff I want.

As a result I do ad-block, and also avoid a lot of sites. Mandatory video ads almost always makes me leave. I almost never watch anything on youtube anymore.

10 hours ago
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Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'

Moof123 Stopping staring at your navals (637 comments)

I'm a fairly savvy guy, but my background is in RF&Microwave engineering, not computer science or IT. I should be low hanging fruit for Linux. I don't do a lot of programming, but have done some assembly, C, Matlab, Vee (shudder), etc.

So why don't I run Linux?

Every couple years I try. Most recently I put a Linux Mint installation on a virtual machine and gave it another pass. No go. Getting the monitor resolution right took a bunch of googling, tracking down some arcane text file to edit, restart, finally get to select the right resolution. Halfway through I remembered I had to do the same BS when I put Ubuntu onto a partition a couple years before (still there, couldn't easily figure out how to get the boot-loader going on the new machine, so it just sits there on my second drive). It's the fricking 21st century, it should just work!

The more you dig in, the more you are confronted with vast wasteland of fragmented BS.

I also tried a pre-canned distro called CAE Linux a little while back. I hit a road block trying to run some of the tools when I found that only about 3/4 of the needed pieces have english localizations, and I don't speak French. The other problem was that a lot of the naming within the main toolset was cutsey crap that was not intuitive, so it made a hard learning curve worse. Linux is rife with such dumbass naming conventions (WTF does "Grep" have to do with searching?!). I was hoping to keep the company from pouring money into a grossly overpriced thermal simulator. Sadly for an engineering group it was clear that Linux and those tools were just not adequately usable.

So unless you are installing Linux for a home user to surf the web and little else, I just don't see the current philosophy of Linux ever getting broad penetration on the desktop. There is a thin veneer of polish for Office and web, but anywhere off the beaten path, even a little, requires a deep dive into jargon hell.

yesterday
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If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

Moof123 Ready in 30 years (294 comments)

As it always has, and likely always will be.

2 days ago
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Selectable Ethics For Robotic Cars and the Possibility of a Robot Car Bomb

Moof123 Not so fast (239 comments)

It sure seems like such selectable ethics concerns are kind of jumping the gun. Regulatory behavior is going to clamp down on such options faster than you can utter "Engage!". Personally I would want my autonomous car to be designed with the most basic "don't get in a crash" goal only, as I suspect regulators will as well.

Far more important is the idea that we will have at least an order of magnitude or two increase in the amount of code running a car. If Toyota had trouble with the darn throttle (replacing the function of a cable with a few sensors and a bunch of code), how can we trust that car companies will be able to manage a code base this big without frequent catastrophe? Adding extra complexity to tweak the "ethics" of the car just sounds like guilding the lilly, which increases the opportunities for bugs to creep in.

3 days ago
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The Flight of Gifted Engineers From NASA

Moof123 Re:Another sign NASA is circling the drain ... (160 comments)

Wow you are ignorant.

Yes, the average federal worker makes double the average salary across the US. However, most federal employees have to have a college degree, which makes a comparison between a Federal employee and a Walmart employee pretty meaningless. My guess is you already know this and are likely either a mindless Fox watching drone, or a paid shill.

When skills are normalized, federal workers make substantially less (http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/01-30-FedPay.pdf). The very top of the federal pay scale is under 150k (and the DC area is very pricey to live in), compare that to silicon valley or Wall Street.

NASA has been starved down to a rotting skeleton, as it is an easy punching bag for the right.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

Moof123 Re:Beards and suspenders. (637 comments)

In all seriousness, at my office the office director just yesterday made the comment that most of our programmers are EE majors, as he tends to find they make much better low level programmers than CS grads. We make test and measurement equipment, and our office does a lot of the firmware and measurement "personalities". Our equipment measures things that most CS majors wouldn't even understand in the first place, so this makes some sense.

The result is we have a lot of gray haired engineers, a kilt wearer, but only a few with suspenders.

about two weeks ago
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Harvesting Wi-Fi Backscatter To Power Internet of Things Sensors

Moof123 Image a pretty lame world then? (138 comments)

"Imagine a world in which your wristwatch or other wearable device communicates directly with your online profiles, storing information about your daily activities where you can best access it..."

My friends don't need to know about my wrist's daily life. Adding sensors for heart rate, glucose level, and so on would make me even less inclined to want my wrist to be ratting me out constantly to Facebook.

Call me a curmudgeon, but I see all this wearable tech crap as a passing fad at best, and more likely just a load of baseless hype.

Write me an app that lets me spend more time with my kid, or get to a campground more often and we can talk. More gadgets to clutter my already hectic life just has no appeal to me.

about two weeks ago
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CIA Director Brennan Admits He Was Lying: CIA Really Did Spy On Congress

Moof123 Cynical (266 comments)

It is getting really hard not to be cynical about our whole governance.

The conspiracy nutjobs have been made to look as fools not for making outlandish claims, but not making outlandish enough claims to match the audacity of these agencies.

I worked for one of the 3 letter acronym agencies for a short stint, and it struck me how you had a large group of folks paid to be underhanded and devious, and this crept into the collective psyche. So dealing with other departments to share resources was a cat and mouse game itself. Professional liars just don't know how to turn it off after a while.

Our government leaders can't figure out how to pay to fix roads and bridges, yet can't figure out how not to build tanks that nobody wants.

The election system is just so badly corrupted by the rich and powerful that I see no real path to get leaders in place that are not already owned by masters other than the electorate.

How's the weather in Canada these days?

about three weeks ago
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Amazon's eBook Math

Moof123 Re:Bricks and Mortar? (306 comments)

Come to Portland, experience Powell's Books.

about three weeks ago
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Amazon's eBook Math

Moof123 Disengenous (306 comments)

When I read through Amazon's logic, they wanted to single-handedly re-write the relationship that already exists between the author and the publisher. It is a very thinly veiled move to try and cutout the publisher. While I abhor middlemen, it really struck me as not being Amazon's place to stick their nose into. I have less and less sympathy for Amazon. It is clear they want to be the 800 lb gorilla on too many fronts for my comfort.

about three weeks ago
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Verizon Now Throttling Top 'Unlimited' Subscribers On 4G LTE

Moof123 Small effect? (274 comments)

So if it only hits a handful of folks, then the overall improvement on the network will be minimal, right? So what the heck is the point?

Why not take the buttloads of profit you a-holes are making an build out your network instead of coming up with this Rube Goldberg throttling crap?

about a month ago
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eSports Starting To Go Mainstream

Moof123 Lame. (116 comments)

Regular sports are already a pretty obnoxious part of our society. Fandom brings out an ugly semi-repressed tribal side of people. Most sports themselves are lame and boring to watch on TV,especially when the wanker of an announcer just can't shut up and has to drone on with endless repeats of some anecdote.

Sports, like electronic games, can be a lot of fun to play, mostly awful to watch.

Stay off my lawn too.

about a month ago
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Finding Life In Space By Looking For Extraterrestrial Pollution

Moof123 Re:Major disappointment... (95 comments)

What is striking to me is that SETI is mostly looking for spikes in the background noise, but our communication standards have rapidly moved away from such signals ourselves. AM, FM, and VSB+C (old analog TV) were all relatively inefficient ways to transmit information, and often had a large center carrier that sticks out like a sore thumb, which makes for a nice way to detect a transmission.

Most digital transmissions now use various methods that do not need a center carrier, and look very much like amplified noise to outside observers. Our period of transmitting the types of signals that SETI is most looking for only lasted 100 years or so, and most new standards would be very hard or impossible to detect at interplanetary distances. Once can only assume that other cultures smart enough to make radio transmitters would also have similarly short periods during which inefficient methods would be used. Basically it might limit the window of detectability to the brief period between inventing radio, and when Moore's Law makes powerful signal processing very cheap.

about a month ago
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US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers

Moof123 Re:Free market economy (529 comments)

Wrong. There is much more to it. It is hard to hire programmers in North Dakota for example. Industries have a lot of synergies that make it more practical to hire good skilled workers where they are already at than to try and create a workforce from scratch. The result is localized concentrations of related companies and like skilled workers. Wages have to be MUCH cheaper to make it worth a companies while to fire up a new plant or office in a location without an existing set of workers doing that exact thing.

A race to the bottom by removing all border restrictions, tariffs, etc is a perilous move, as we continue to find out. Rather than cut our taxes and slash our social welfare, we could spend that money on research and education. Novel concept, I know...

We will never be competitive with Bangladesh for sewing jobs, but so what? I'd rather see us lead on semiconductors, and design jobs.

about a month ago
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FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars

Moof123 Drug smuggling (435 comments)

I would have thought they would be worried about drug smuggling. Being able to pack up a stolen self driving car with drugs would really take the risk out of smuggling. With cars that follow all laws, the odds of it getting intercepted go way down.

about a month ago
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US Tech Firms Recruiting High Schoolers (And Younger)

Moof123 What about their next job? (253 comments)

It may not have changed his earning potential, but it greatly improves his opportunities if your company lays him off, goes bust, or just sucks. Having a degree on your resume is often needed just to get past the HR filter. I've met several folks who did very well despite their lack of degrees, and all want their kids to get one. You have to really sell yourself and rely on luck much more to get that next good job if you do not have a degree.

about a month and a half ago
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Coddled, Surveilled, and Monetized: How Modern Houses Can Watch You

Moof123 So confused (150 comments)

Call me a curmudgeon, but I just don't see the need for most of this crap. Why even have a light switch that even has the capability to report you back to galactic central?!

My manual light switches (horrors!) work just fine. I don't see it as even a minor burden to flip them on-and off. Heck my 22 month old has managed to figure them out, and actually finds them fun (actual horrors!). Only a couple of them have required a hardware upgrade in the last ~35 years of their operation (how many web-connected things can claim that!).

My thermostat is mostly on a basic automatic cycle to be cool at night and comfy during the day. We don't find it to be a big deal to set it to manual or off when we are gone for a while. We chose to live in a moderate climate where further optimization would net us less than our rounding error every month (heating and cooling are 2% of our gross income).

I just see most of this auto-magic web based crap as an attempt to fix problems that don't exist, or are so minor they aren't worth fixing. In my mental calculus is the likelihood that these things will have bugs, break, and require a lot of tinkering to keep them in a hassle-free operating condition long enough to have a positive ROI.

But again, I am a curmudgeon.

about a month and a half ago
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Airbus Patents Windowless Cockpit That Would Increase Pilots' Field of View

Moof123 Re:Removes an important failsafe (468 comments)

Actually no. If the navigation system failed, having a wider field of view through the display system with the described system would make terrain navigation easier.

However, if you had a double failure of both the display system AND the navigation system, the yes you'd be SOL and have to rely on air traffic control's radar and radio commands to keep you pointed in the right direction.

What if your flight had been at night? Would you have died? My guess is that your were on a pretty rot-gut plane that was in such disrepair that it would not have been allowed to fly in the US or EU (why was there no redundant navigation system?!).

Planes have many redundancies, and the FAA would put this system through the ringer as well before allowing it. I would guess that redundant backup screens and camera's would be required. Just like the redundant radios that are required in all IFR flights, among many, many redundant backup systems that keep planes as safe as they are now.

about a month and a half ago

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