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When Customer Dissatisfaction Is a Tech Business Model

RabidReindeer Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (157 comments)

What do they mean "tech companies"?

The abuse began back when telephone menus replaced human operators, music-on-hold by the hour became the norm ("Please stay on the line. Your call is VERY important to us.") and service in general became self-serve or no-serve.

And hasn't been solely a tech company thing. It's been an every company thing.

In fact, I dropped a pest control company in favor of a competitor because the competitor didn't run me through phone menu hell just to get them to come out, inspect, and get paid.

2 hours ago
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The 2014 Hugo Awards

RabidReindeer Re:You cant make much writing Science Fiction (172 comments)

It's different. Although one of the things that's a little annoying is that while he implies that a lot of the damage to the world's food supplies may be deliberate and ongoing, he never has anyone actually say that or even grumble, accuse or try and fight back. The closest approximation is where Thailand isolates itself and does internal purges.

The kink-spring concept is original, but nobody seems to have a clue about other renewable energy sources. He apparently never saw the YouTube video where someone took the fresnel lens out of an old flat-screen TV and used it to smelt metal. You could probably refine silicon for solar cells that way. Then again, since everybody seems to be running on the ragged edge, maybe they just can't spare the extra effort.

yesterday
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The 2014 Hugo Awards

RabidReindeer Re:4th Doctor is BEST Doctor. Scientific fact. (172 comments)

Well, given the era in which it was produced, the Tin Man sure looks like a robot. That should count.

Actually, he does qualify as a cyborg or something like that.

He was built by a sort of reverse-Cyberman upgrade process. Limb by limb.

yesterday
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China Pulls Plug On Genetically Modified Rice and Corn

RabidReindeer Re:Wow (147 comments)

And they would leave the company with a $25M golden parachute. Because we're a meritocracy.

yesterday
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Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'

RabidReindeer Re:Infrastructure? (686 comments)

The difference is that Linux desktop comes running out of the box.

I had to use Windows 7 the other day for the first time in 6 months, repairing someone's failed Windows Update.

After the system was all cleaned up, I clicked the login button. And waited. And waited. And waited. And watched the disk drive light flicker like nobody's business. And waited. All those "essential" accessories starting up, disk scans, mysterious machine-eating magic, all shouldering themselves between me and being able to do anything.

I'm not in love with the current crop of Linux desktops, but at least I can begin using the bloody things within a few seconds of logging on.

2 days ago
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World's First 3D Printed Estate Coming To New York

RabidReindeer Re:Huge? (105 comments)

That was my first thought. 2400 square feet is hardly a "huge" "estate". I grew up in a 2,250 square foot house. 3 bedrooms, bonus room, and large living room. It didn't have a parlor, music room, den, study, library, conservatory, servant's quarters, etc.

How perfectly horrible. How did you manage?

Did you camp the servants out back in the garden?

2 days ago
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Your Phone Can Be Snooped On Using Its Gyroscope

RabidReindeer Re:So? (96 comments)

The point of all this isn't to record phone conversations. Some of the agencies likely to exploit this particular weakness have more than enough clout to tap the main communications channel for that.

The accelerometer exploit is a very low-quality audio sampler. Sample range tops out at about 200/second, IIRC. Enough to get a muffled audio, but nowhere near opera-quality.

However, it's something that someone could do to monitor room conversations when the phone isn't on a call. And current access controls don't provide enough protection. One of the most promising solutions is simply to limit sample rates to something relatively useless like 50/second.

Then again, if all you want is to detect basic acoustical vibrations, even that would be enough to tell people to turn on their "houseplant audio monitors".

You can also get good audio off the reflections of a tinfoil hat.

2 days ago
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Your Phone Can Be Snooped On Using Its Gyroscope

RabidReindeer Re: A profitable business idea ... (96 comments)

Just don't use that device anywhere public. Or on a public network because they can snoop on you that way.

Yes, I'll just go home and surf. I'm sure I'll be perfectly safe from spying there.

After all, I trust my ISP so much that I don't even consider them a "public" network anymore. They gave me a custom home page that goes right to THEIR website, so it must be private, right? And look here, this systray icon even has their logo! I am so loved I'm practically an employee.

Mine too! https://room614a.att.com/ . It's SSL, so I know I can trust it!

2 days ago
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Solar Plant Sets Birds On Fire As They Fly Overhead

RabidReindeer Re:NIMBYs? Crackpots? (503 comments)

Actually, roof-mounted solar swimming pool heaters are extremely common around here, and domestic water heaters are making a comeback. I'm told by a local old-timer that that's how he originally got hot water.

Putting a black tank in a greenhouse would reduce its effectiveness, though. The main advantage of the greenhouse would be as air insulation.

2 days ago
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60,000 Oculus Rift DK2 Orders, 20,000+ Units Shipped, New Orders Ship In October

RabidReindeer Re:I guess that means (67 comments)

You can already get 3D print files for Oculus-like DIY sets.

But I suspect that it might be just a little bit cheaper for them to injection-mold the plastics once you deliver them pre-built in the tens of thousands.

about a week ago
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60,000 Oculus Rift DK2 Orders, 20,000+ Units Shipped, New Orders Ship In October

RabidReindeer Re:It's a Samsung Note (67 comments)

> Well done Facebook. It's taken you a year to put a Samsung note display in a plastic box, and add extra cables.

FTFY.

Yeah. I hear that one all the time.

"All You Have To Do Is..."

about a week ago
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Cisco To Slash Up To 6,000 Jobs -- 8% of Its Workforce -- In "Reorganization"

RabidReindeer Re:While Buying Back $1.5 Billion In Stock (206 comments)

A lot of things are inefficient. In fact, one of the great weaknesses of today's economy is arguably too much efficiency. Where we have calculated things out so nicely that the least little unexpected thing can leverage into a massive wreck. And has.

Not all capital is invested productively. A prime example would be someone who buys land or shiny stones and doesn't do anything with them.

But this is more than mere envy, I'm referring to. Granted, that if the entire population of the Earth had waylaid Bill Gates in a dark alley, taken every cent he owned and divided it up equally, a fairly large number of those people would consider it as 2 days income, but the point isn't to kill the geese that lay the golden eggs. Or anyone else, for that matter. That's an absolutist solution, and we both know that absolute solutions are almost invariably not going to work. We'll live them for the pimply-faces dweebs who live in mommy's basement (literally or figuratively) and never have to come head-on with problems in practical day to day terms because the really hard problems in their case were handled by mommy.

It is, however, blatantly obvious that things are changing and that things need to change. On the one hand, even without stretching efficiency to the limits, we're so efficient at so many things now that some believe that the absolute need to work is soon to be a thing of the past. On the other hand, people who do work are feeling pinched by job insecurity, accepting lower wages, longer hours and all the other badges which by rights should be indicative an economy that cannot produce enough, even though in actuality it's the opposite. But what good is a 72-inch TV for $1.99 when you don't have $1.99? And what good is being able to produce a 72-inch TV for $1.99 if no one's going to buy it? We already know that "trickle down" only works to the extent that you can row a boat by pushing it with a rope - we've have 30 years of that particular experiment and it has yet to produce the promised prosperity no matter what type of administration is in charge. Ergo, it's either a failure from the ground up or it's so fragile that it's useless for real-world application.

The increasingly wide gap between a few "haves" and the many "have-nots" is not healthy. You cannot drive an economy when virtually nobody can (or at least dares) to buy anything. You cannot have a healthy society when a large segment is fearful or insecure. If someone has a better solution than falling back to the types of taxing and regulation that we managed to be historically prosperous under, I'm willing to hear it, but it had better be a demonstrably practical one, not one that "should" succeed because ideology. We've had entirely too many of those, and enough is enough.

All I can say is that I wasn't 1%, but I was a helluva lot more prosperous when my own personal tax rate was 35%, lived a lot more comfortably, and fed a lot more cash into the general economy - not just government coffers.

about a week ago
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Cisco To Slash Up To 6,000 Jobs -- 8% of Its Workforce -- In "Reorganization"

RabidReindeer Re:While Buying Back $1.5 Billion In Stock (206 comments)

Broken window fallacy, or robbing the Dog in the Manager?

That money might just as easily have been taken from someone who never worked a day in their life, just like the undeserving poor. Except for having been born to the right parents. You know, the ones that can afford to spoil them with toys instead of teaching them to take care of themselves.

As for me, I have "earned" more money getting other people to work for me than ever I did by working myself.

The point is, if wealth is tied up in static resources, it hurts the economy, and if you hurt the economy bad enough, even rich people can suffer. A society filled with envy is not a stable society, nor is one that's full of desperate people. One way or another, money must circulate. Better via "theft" at tax time than via bloody revolution, I think.

You don't "love" somebody when you refuse to do anything in the name of not doing something counter-ideological. Or expect someone to step up an volunteer to do it for you. If volunteerism were all that common, then Communism would have been successful. It failed because people wouldn't do enough without being granted incentives.

about a week ago
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Cisco To Slash Up To 6,000 Jobs -- 8% of Its Workforce -- In "Reorganization"

RabidReindeer Re:Everything hits poor people harder (206 comments)

The "two wolves and a sheep" argument is a favorite among people of a certain ideology.

But we're not talking wolves and sheep here, or the poor people at the top wouldn't be wailing about the theiving masses and the masses wouldn't have ever have done things like the French Revolution when they got fed up with the people at the top. Or would be doing them every day instead of as a last resort. Everybody at this table has more wolf than sheep at some point.

As for the "Standing on Principles" thing, that's made for a really effective government over the last few years, hasn't it?

about a week ago
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Cisco To Slash Up To 6,000 Jobs -- 8% of Its Workforce -- In "Reorganization"

RabidReindeer Re:Slashdotters, do not disappoint me! (206 comments)

You mean "special skills", nudge, nudge, wink, wink? 'Cause they told us that we're all interchangeable cogs and therefore don't deserve to be paid like we had really special skills. As in Upper Management. People who deserve to get paid more for their failures than us cogs get paid for working hard and then being laid off.

about a week ago
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Cisco To Slash Up To 6,000 Jobs -- 8% of Its Workforce -- In "Reorganization"

RabidReindeer Re:Need to get rid of Americans and bring in more (206 comments)

H1B's are less likely to be NSA spies anyway.

Hey, H1B's like money too! How else are they going to earn as much as the people they displaced?

about a week ago
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Cisco To Slash Up To 6,000 Jobs -- 8% of Its Workforce -- In "Reorganization"

RabidReindeer Re: A complaint (206 comments)

A java guy who doesn't explicitly close a file isn't much better than a C guy. I knew someone like that, and he left resources hanging loose right and left. And occasionally lost data, since it didn't flush to disk until the file was closed. And maybe not then, if the close was done by the garbage collector.

But Cisco was at the forefront of the cheap offshoring boom. They outsourced support ages ago, then their outsourcers offshored it. Connoiseurs of Cisco support knew which country was going to provide the most helpful people and tried to ensure that their calls got directed there.

Cisco got a lot of its growth through mergers and acquisitions, not direct technical excellence, which is one reason why their stock stalled after they ran out of victims to buy.

about a week ago
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Cisco To Slash Up To 6,000 Jobs -- 8% of Its Workforce -- In "Reorganization"

RabidReindeer Re:While Buying Back $1.5 Billion In Stock (206 comments)

Yes, the rich should be paying more back into the economy (through taxes or spending) instead of hoarding wealth, and the H-1Bs and other outsourcing of costs has to be curtailed.

However, when the poor stop getting earned income credits totaling in the several thousands every year (which goes up with the number of children claimed as dependents), while they don't pay a penny in income tax because they're unemployed for whatever reason, then you'll have a solid argument. Until then, too many of the "poor" are getting a free ride on the backs of bad government policy - and they have no skin in the game. Maybe they need to get rid of their iPhones, stop buying $250 Nikes, and cut their cable to pay some taxes back into the system that's paying for those luxuries.

This is a very emotionally appealing "solution". But notice that these "freeloading poor" are contributing to the economy by buying iPhones, $250 Nikes, and cable. Keeping money in circulation and creating jobs.

On the other hand, how many iPhones, numerically speaking, are 1% of the population going to be buying? How many pairs of Nikes? Probably more that any single poor person, but there are so many poor people. Companies like Cartier may be able to prosper serving only the wealthy, but Apple didn't get to be the behemoth it is by selling solely to the well-to-do, even at Apple's notoriously high prices.

We more or less respect the "idle rich" whose money comes not from working, but from investments, whether direct or inherited.

Maybe we can spare a little love for the "idle poor" as well.

about a week ago
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Cisco To Slash Up To 6,000 Jobs -- 8% of Its Workforce -- In "Reorganization"

RabidReindeer Re:Everything hits poor people harder (206 comments)

Poor people also pay a disproportionate part of their income on food, clothing, energy, housing and transportation. Should all of those things be cheaper for poor people as well?

Should I have done an income analysis on my neighborhood and if I found that I was on the low-end of the income spectrum, should I have demanded a lower price on my house simply because I make less than my neighbors?

I understand charity for the poor, but demanding that poor people pay less for everything simply because they are poor defeats the point of a market economy. If you are going to do that, why not go all the way to a state planned economy?

I'll tell you why.

Because a pure 100% ideological solution to anything is a recipe for failure.

Sometimes a capitalistic approach works. Sometimes a socialistic approach works. Sometimes some other approach entirely works.

If you can achieve a good blend, where you take advantages of systems at their strong points and use some better approach at their weak points, you'll be better off than you will if you live in a binary all-or-nothing world. Where you may get the best of an ideology, but you'll pay for it by getting the worst as well.

about a week ago
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Student Bookstores Beware, Amazon Comes To Purdue Campus

RabidReindeer Re:Hey Purdue! (95 comments)

I recently was affronted by a "modern" Spanish-language course. The actual books were awful, the course itself was online - a very bad idea, I think for a subject where the ultimate test in mastery is how well you can converse with teachers and fellow students. And this particular abomination is the almost universal text for colleges in about 5 states. Oh, and this is one of those courses where half your learning materials disappear in a puff of smoke at the end of the term.

Spanish is a living language and is used in the contexts of changing cultures, so its textbooks do need updating occasionally. However, the fundamentals remain the same and there's no reason why an open-source, even crowd-sourced text couldn't be adopted. Certainly no reason for it to require a multi-decade mortgage to buy.

The same can be said for a lot of mathematics.

Other subjects are more volatile and it makes sense to have specialized, continually-updated texts. And to have to pay for it. But give us a break on the basics!

about a week ago

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