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Hostess To Close; No More Twinkies

shaper Re:One of these things is not like the other (674 comments)

The workers thought management was bluffing but oddly they really did not have large bags of gold they slept on.

Some of them did:

"Within a month of taking over, Rayburn had to preside over a public-relations fiasco. Some unsecured creditors had informed the court that last summer -- as the company was crumbling -- four top Hostess executives received raises of up to 80%."

"Hostess pays Rayburn $125,000 a month, according to court filings. At the same time Rayburn became CEO, Gephardt's son Matthew, 41, the COO of the Gephardt Group, was put on the Hostess board as a $100,000-a-year independent director"

Source: http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2012/07/26/hostess-twinkies-bankrupt/

And this was going on last year at the same time that the company was headed into bankruptcy again and management was asking for even more deep concessions from workers. From this and other things I have read, I get the impression that Hostess is a typical large company dealing with typical liability and productivity problems that couldn't manage through it.

about 2 years ago
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Why Economic Models Are Always Wrong

shaper Re:All models are wrong (676 comments)

I prefer one of my old professor's re-wording: "All models are wrong. Some are useful."

more than 2 years ago
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Senator Wants to Tax Internet Shopping

shaper Re:Good. (705 comments)

There is a reason, in that applying sales tax rules is very hard. Sales taxes vary from place to place even within a state. A brick-and-mortar store has an advantage in figuring it out.

I agree, it sounds like an intractable problem to me. But Apple and a few other on-line retailers manage to do it. So it is possible. I wonder how complicated and expensive Apple's tax service is.

more than 3 years ago
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Microsoft Adds Selective ActiveX Filtering to IE9

shaper Re:How Slashdot perceives things (94 comments)

Not all of us. IMHO, native code in the browser is still a bad idea and an unnecessary one at that, regardless of who is doing it, Microsoft or Google. The state of the web is progressing very nicely without introducing potential security problems and platform dependencies. And yes, Google Native Client is platform specific to both hardware and OS. There are a few potential hiccups looming with (the language formerly known as) HTML5 and standard technologies like video codecs. But I'd still rather go that route than just go native.

more than 3 years ago
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New Apple MacBook Pro Reviewed

shaper Re:A BIT expensive?! (627 comments)

I am a Mac-head and even I agree that the Macbook Pro is too pricey. But...

Sorry, in a day when you can buy a laptop for under 399 these premium laptops are absurd. I know you get what you pay for, but you really don't.

$399 laptops are pieces of crap. There, I said it. The material costs alone preclude building anything of quality at that price point. Why do people always bring up the absolute lowest possible price products when comparing to Apple? You could make the same point much better by comparing them to decent, average price laptops and still have a valid argument that the Macbook Pro is too expensive. I grit my teeth every time the topic of Apple laptops is brought up and someone makes the inevitable comparison to something that can barely play a Youtube video.

more than 3 years ago
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New Apple MacBook Pro Reviewed

shaper Re:Uh oh (627 comments)

USB? Appeared on PC motherboards well before Apple ones(it was Intel's baby after all), Apple was just the first to burn the legacy options.

USB was an obscure curiosity when Apple aggressively adopted it in the original Bondi blue iMac. I clearly remember watching the market for USB peripherals be completely driven by demand from iMac (and then other Apple model) owners at a time when PC users stayed away from the technology because it was incompatible with all their PS2, serial and parallel port peripherals. Often the place to find USB equipment was in the Apple section in stores.

802.11b? All of Apple's 1st gen gear was rebadged Lucent off-the shelf stuff.

This one I remember very well. Apple spearheaded the consumer wireless market with the introduction of the $299 Airport "UFO" wireless hub. I had wanted wireless for a while but couldn't afford it. The only other options were all so far above that first Airport price point that it was a shock to the market. The other thing Apple did to lead in consumer wireless was to make it an option in all their computers, especially in laptops, and then a standard option that you had to de-select and finally as an unremovable feature.

Killed off the floppy? The first to stop offering it across the board, possibly; but you've been able to spec PCs without floppies well back into Apple's beige era.

Maybe so, but no sane PC user did back in those days. The floppy ruled the PC data storage and transfer world well past the point when Apple users had moved on to other technologies. It took forever for PC USB boot support to be common enough to supplant the ubiquitous PC admin's emergency boot floppy.

Everything you have said is technically true but misses the whole story. Sure, Apple didn't invent the technologies you mention but Apple's influence was instrumental in getting early adoption going and building markets for them.

more than 3 years ago
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Amazon Pulling Out of Texas Over $269 Million Tax Bill

shaper Re:Normally - Equity (811 comments)

You can completely exempt all sales taxes on the poor by a prebate of the amount of sales tax up to the poverty line to everyone, so no one pays sales taxes on the basic necessities.

It took me a lot of thinking to come around to the idea of a prebate being a good idea. As a check from the government, it echoed in my mind with the concept of "welfare check" with all its attendant welfare state issues. I had to work through the process of realizing that a prebate, like an income tax refund, is just giving people back their own money that was taken in the form of a tax, rather than giving them someone else's money that was redistributed through taxation. All you're doing with the prebate is acknowledging that there is a minimum level of living below which it is just plain immoral to tax. And since everyone gets the prebate, it is agnostic to income level in that everybody, whether wealthy or poor, gets a pass from taxation on basic necessities. I really like the fairtax.org idea but I doubt it will ever get passed in the US. Far too many monied and powerful interests like the current broken system for the ways in which it can be manipulated.

more than 3 years ago
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Amazon Pulling Out of Texas Over $269 Million Tax Bill

shaper Re:Normally (811 comments)

well maybe that's why the poor people are poor, maybe they should spend less?

The fundamental definition of "poor" is that most of their spending is non-discretionary: food, clothing, shelter, medical care, etc. The defining aspect of "not poor" is having money left over after the necessities are covered, discretionary money that can be invested for the future. Basically, your argument here is that the poor should stop being so poor.

I've met many "poor" people in my life who when they get that income tax refund or birthday gift of cash etc, go out and buy a couch or a tv instead of paying their credit card bill.

I agree, individuals who "waste" such opportunities rather than investing bear the responsibility for poor choices. I can only say that it can be hard to fight the natural tendency to want to enjoy temporary unexpected gain while it is there.

more than 3 years ago
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Amazon Pulling Out of Texas Over $269 Million Tax Bill

shaper Re:Normally (811 comments)

I pulled myself up by my bootstraps from about as far below the poverty line as you can be and still live in the USA

All it takes is one catastrophic medical problem to put you right back down there, irretrievably. Yes, lower economic status people can tend to make poor economic decisions. But the number 1 primary cause for individual bankruptcy in the US for a number of years has been catastrophic medical bills. Maybe instead of sneering at all those lazy and stupid poor people, you should be a little more thankful that your health and native abilities gave you the necessary tools to allow your hard work to pay off. It is good that you were able to better yourself but your attitude could stand for some considerable improvement.

more than 3 years ago
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Open-source Challenge To Exchange Gains Steam

shaper Re:PCI compliance? (164 comments)

A policy has to be auditable for it to be valid and PCI compliant. A PCI audit will be considerably more involved than just browsing through your gmail inbox. The audit will cover network communications, hardware, software, change processes and accountability and access controls. Anybody in human resources, finance or accounting who doesn't already know this needs to be fired.

And don't forget HIPPA, SOX and a host of other rules and regulations involving the handling different data that can so easily slip into email. Add in legal liability from privacy breaches and a whole lot of other concerns which make some kinds of data processing and storage outsourcing difficult there days.

more than 3 years ago
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US May Disable All Car Phones, Says Trans. Secretary

shaper Re:Go for it (1065 comments)

You can't fix stupid.

I agree with you there, but...

Guess what, so does eating while driving, changing the radio station, changing clothes, dealing with crying toddler in back of car, and even talking to someone else located in the car.

As maiden_taiwan so eloquently replies, that's a fine opinion, but the data don't agree with you.

Besides the research results, there are the sheer numbers. I can't remember the last time I saw someone eating or applying makeup while driving, but I swear every third bonehead in an SUV has a phone surgically implanted to the side of their head. When the car in front of me slows down to 10 MPH below the the speed limit, I can guarantee that he is dialing his phone rather than reaching for a Big Mac and heaven help anything in front of him while he's at it.

more than 3 years ago
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3 Drinks a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

shaper Re:I have a theory (470 comments)

Repeat after me: an alcoholic is not someone who drinks a lot of alcohol, an alcoholic is someone who can't control their behavior when they do drink. That's why there is no "safe" level of consumption for an alcoholic. And the general population of alcoholics is so diverse it is difficult to make sweeping general statements like "Most alcoholics tend to be thin". The truth is that alcoholics vary about as much as the general population in most factors with the exception of their inability to control their behavior with regard to alcohol consumption.

more than 4 years ago
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Forget University — Use the Web For Education, Says Gates

shaper Not anywhere safety is important (393 comments)

For anything that is safety critical, no way. Ever. There is a reason for the length and rigor of the education and training process for engineers and doctors. I do not want to cross a bridge built by a guy who read how to do it on some web site.

more than 4 years ago
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iPad Bait and Switch — No More Unlimited Data Plan

shaper Existing users can "View Past Data Usage" (670 comments)

FYI, existing data plan users can login to wireless.att.com and view a histogram summary by month of their last 6 months of data usage. Look for "View Past Data Usage" in roughly the middle of the page under the "Usage & Recent Activity" section.

I just checked my own usage: in the last 6 months I have come pretty close to the cheap plan's 200 MB every month and I exceeded that limit last month at 240 MB. So, if I do switch to one of the new plans, it will probably be the 2 GB. I don't want to have to wonder about whether my data will just stop or have an extra $20 to pay for a month if I go over.

more than 4 years ago
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iPad Progress Report

shaper Re:But Apple is known for screwing up from time to (374 comments)

Sometimes Apple has a period of greatness and then they have a period of... well, not so greatness. Maybe it is time again?

Apple sold 300,000 iPads on the first day. Their market cap just passed Wal-Mart making them the 3rd most valuable company traded in US markets, behind only Microsoft and Exxon-Mobil. Regardless of particular views on the merits of the iPhone or the iPad, they are re-defining their markets and forcing competitive innovation just by their very existence. This is almost by definition a "great" period for a company.

more than 4 years ago
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Tridgell Recommends Reading Software Patents

shaper Re:Hidden costs (173 comments)

Reading patents is a very bad idea. It opens you up to willful infringement and treble damages.

more than 4 years ago
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House Passes Massive Medical Insurance Bill, 219-212

shaper Re:Not until 2014 (2424 comments)

A few of the provisions (eliminating lifetime limits, prohibiting canceling people who get sick) start this year. Here's an interesting link that summarizes by year: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1914020220100319 Another fun one that happens rather immediately: a 10% tax on indoor tanning services that use ultraviolet lamps.

more than 4 years ago
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How Do You Get Users To Read Error Messages?

shaper Re:Electric Shock (951 comments)

And if I ever work phone support again I will assume everything, absolutely everything the person on the other end tells me is a blatant lie.

Is it plugged in? yes? LIER! It it turned on? yes? LIER! Can you see any messeges on the screen? no? LIER!

Why do they lie!??!?

First off, spelling: LIAR, not LIER. Second, never ask yes-or-no questions over the phone. Always ask the user questions that force them to use their own words to describe things. I have gotten very good results by asking them to read things out loud. It seems to break through that blind spot that they have. More than once I have had a conversation go something like this:

Me: What version number does it show in the "About" section of the window?
Them: There isn't any "about" section.
Me: Are you sure?
Them (irate): Yes, there is nothing that says "about"!
Me: OK, I must have had you go to the wrong place. Let's make sure I do know where you are. Could you please read out loud the words in the top of the window that you are looking at right now?
Them (reading out loud): "About this application"... Oh, is that what you meant?
Me: Yes, I'm sorry I wasn't clear. Now could you please read out loud the number that is written just below the words that you read to me?

more than 4 years ago
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IdeaPad U1, What We Wanted the iPad To Be

shaper Re:But what did Apple want? (401 comments)

Anecdote, meet anecdote:

I want one. Every single person I have shown it to wants one.

Every one.

(and yes, I did show it to more than one person.)

more than 4 years ago
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Google Says Ad Blockers Will Save Online Ads

shaper Re:wrong assumption (419 comments)

What sig? I turned off sig's in my Slashdot preferences a long time ago because I got tired of seeing them. Yes, I am an aggressive user of ad blocking, too.

more than 4 years ago

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