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Comment Re:Prime is starting to suck (Score 1) 138

What I've noticed is that about two years ago the reliability and consistency of Amazon's 2-Day "Guaranteed" shipping dropped dramatically. I used to have maybe one order a year arrive late. (And I shop on Amazon a lot... I probably average an order a week.) But in the last couple of years, I've been given so many of those "complimentary one-month prime membership extensions" that I'm not even sure when or, indeed, if I'll be billed again. And I've had more lost shipments replaced than I remember.

I think they must have renegotiated their contracts with the shippers for lower rates, but also with lower quality of service. Maybe it's cheaper for them to give out all those free months and replacement packages than it was to pay for better shipping in the first place? I'm not sure what els could have changed, anyway.

One thing that I have noticed though, is that shipping to business addresses is a LOT more reliable now than residential. And I have significantly fewer issues having switched to having most of my stuff to my office instead of home. I guess UPS, Fedex, Et al, are less inclined to fuck around wth businesses than with plebes.

Comment Re:And there won't be any accountability (Score 1) 68

The alternative is to ban "cost plus" contracts. Screw up and overrun the costs specified in you bid? Tough cookies. Eat it on your P&L leader, and do a better job bidding next time.

Another, at least as good and maybe better, option is antitrust. Break up the globs back into Northrop, Hughes, General Dynamics, Lockheed, Marietta, Glenn Martin Co, Grumman, McDonnell Aircraft, Douglas Aircraft, Convair, North American, Republic, Boeing, Rockwell, and so on... so that there are a dozen manufacturers actually bidding competitively for contracts with incentives to keep costs under control, lest the contract goto a more reliable competitor.

After all, when there are only two choices, why *Should* Lockheed Martin (from their perspective) deliver a fully-functional air or space craft as promised, and on-time and on-budget. What's the government going to do after all, go to Northrop "2 billion dollar stealth bomber" Grumman?

Comment Re:Regulations (Score 1) 62

> limiting taxi cabs to X number prevents the streets
> from being so clogged with taxi cabs that traffic is
> slowed to a crawl, and even the taxi cabs
> themselves can't get anywhere.

Bullocks.

If that were truly the motivation than Uber's and Lyft's approach... a data-driven algorithm that seeks to optimize the number of cars in a given area by dynamically adjusting fare prices to encourage drivers to relocate to where they're most needed, AND (now) encourages drivers to use certain routes which the app had calculated to be optimal... makes a whole lot more goddamned sense than an arbitrary limit of $x. What I see with the arbitrary limit is not an attempt to optimize the availability vs. demand vs. traffic; but regulatory capture: keep those taxi medallions priced as high, or higher, than the case of a house, so that the established taxi companies can hoarse them and block competition from entering the market.

Comment Re:What in the blue hell are you talking about (Score 5, Insightful) 834

That's why I personally think it's a better idea to scrap H1Bs entirely and replace them with a fast-track to actual green cards and citizenship for skilled* workers in the STEM fields. Take away the ability of employers to abuse immigrant workers with visas tied to specific jobs. And give same immigrants the resources and legal legitimacy to put down roots and contribute back to society; rather than making a quick buck and running or sending remittances back overseas. Everybody (except employers who WANT to abuse and underpay their workers... so everybody worth giving a crap about) wins.

(*And I do mean provably-skilled workers though; NOT those clowns who pad their resume out to 10 pages, list so many certifications that the candidate wouldn't have had time to actually do any work, and whose degree comes from "Initech auto body, project management, and computer science academy".)

Comment Re:Poaching? (Score 2) 47

Non-compete clauses ARE illegal in California. There's a very narrow exception that allows for non-competes to be valid for senior executives holding lots of stock in companies that are aquired. But for the rank and file? Go ahead and cut out that part of your contract and wipe your ass with it. That's all it's good for. Anti-poaching clauses are also illegal. No less than Apple and Google were recently bitchslapped over the issue fairly recently.

Musk is not going to win here.

Comment Re:As a tech worker with kids... (Score 1) 386

> Of course there are absolutely no twinks in SF. None at all.

Meth hasn't been mainstream in the gay scene for nearly a decade now. Mid-2000s or so, most of the tweakers went in one of two directions: They either grew up, rehabbed, got their shit together, and live normal boring lives. Or they let their lives fall apart entirely and disappeared. The last sad remnants of the PnP scene, in the form of the Gus Presents parties, does still exist. But a quick look at his website, revealing the low-capacity venues he uses these days, indicates that it's a tiny scene compared to its peak, circa 2001 or so.

Comment Re:My public school system is great (Score 2) 386

> Those zoning decisions are anything but stupid.
> They're carefully thought out to achieve a certain
> goal. The question that's being asked in TFS is: is
> that goal forcing families and lower income people
> out of San Fransisco? A corollary to that is: is that an
> accident or on purpose?

I don't think it's actual malice, just stupidity... or maybe nostalgia turned up to 11. There's a significant, and very vocal, segment of the populace in San Francisco who have this image in their head of what San Francisco was when they moved here* and they want nothing to change... ever. (Look for invocations of Herb Caen's mythological SF of the 1950s, pining for the "Summer of Love", or baffling nostalgia for the pre-Moscone-Center SOMA filled with skeezy no-tell hotels that made the neighborhood more "real" than it is now.) So they fight tooth and nail to prevent any development, redevelopment, or new construction. Their latest and greatest triumph of NIMBY-ism was a ballot measure stopping all development on the eastern waterfront; requiring a new ballot measure to build anything on it. It was sold to prevent an unsightly "wall on the waterfront"... a waterfront that, except for the ferry building and ballpark, consists of decrepit warehouses and piers that are slowly rotting and collapsing into the bay, all the way from Pier 39 down to Candlestick. So, as new people move in and the housing stock is stagnant, supply vs. demand causes prices to rise. When those prices rise, the demographics of the neighborhood changes. And the live-in-the-past crowd re-doubles their efforts to hold the city in stasis.

(*And, make no mistake, the bulk of the "San Francisco is full. Nerds get out." crowd, including current and former ringleaders such as "Broke-Ass Stuart" and Ted Gullicksen are and were transplants themselves.)

You get things like housing developments being stopped because they include lofts, studios, and one-bedroom units targeted at singles. "Not family friendly!", people cry. Well, guess what? If singles can't find housing for singles; we're going to find a few other singles we get along with, and go in as roommates in a multi-bedroom house in the Mission or the Avenues... a house that could have held a family with kids. Bet you wish you hadn't torpedoed that SOMA high-rise full of "microapartments" and 1-bedrooms now, eh? Ostensibly good and progressive policies in place to help low-income residents afford housing work not by the city subsidizing said housing, but by forcing landlords and developers to offer it at artificially low prices. This, of course, leads to said developers and landlords raising the prices on the rest of their stock so they can still make their profits. Rent control and prop 13 keeping units off the market, preventing churn and kicking up prices on the remainder even more. With the poor covered by affordable and BMR requirements and the rich, by definition, having no difficulty affording the rest; those of in the middle class are getting squeezed the most.

Basically, a segment of the population just has to grow up, accept that you can neither stop the clock nor go back in time, and understand that on a 47 square mile peninsula, we can't build out, we have to build up. San Francisco's population density is not especially high by world city standards. Redevelopment with height restrictions lifted (Zoning currently restricts a very large percentage of the city to 4-stories.) could double, triple, or more, the housing capacity of the city without touching a single foot of our parks and green space. The same NIMBYs would then cry "But that will increase traffic.". But the beauty is that sort of density makes for better walkability provides the critical mass for a New York or Tokyo style subway system, covering the entire city as opposed to the paltry few rail lines and utterly dysfunctional busses we have now, to work. (Gods, I'd love for it to be truly feasible to give up my car entirely.)

Comment Re:Congrats Wyoming! (Score 1) 502

I'm not sure about Carlin, but Robert Heinlein suggested exactly this in some of the stories in his "future history" series. Basically, his theory was thus:

Justice systems based on notions of "justice" nearly always degenerate into systems that are, in reality, based on revenge. So forget about justice, and focus on preventing recidivism and further harm to society. Criminals are therefore given a choice. Submit to psychological therapy to identify and correct whatever defect in their psyche that led to their criminality; or be exiled to Coventry. Coventry was a rather largish chunk of the midwest; with plenty of fertile land, water, and a controlled climate to make it ideal for agriculture. A force field surrounded it and a no-fly zone was strictly enforced. And criminals who refused treatment, thus rejecting society, would be exiled to Coventry and could live their life by whatever rules they made amongst themselves. There were gates and call-boxes, and if someone decided exile wasn't for them, they could accept treatment and be re-admitted to outside society.

Comment Re:Not a single time traveler? (Score 2) 1560

> That kind of score would put him in the bottom 40%
> to 50% range, that's not someone that gets to be a
> fighter pilot or governor. Unless this brain damaging
> drinking was done while governor of Texas then I
> would think he'd score above 115 or so, certainly
> above 110.

An IQ in the 90s *would* be completely adequate if your dad is George H. W. Bush and he's pulling strings on your behalf. Remember, the "Good Ol' Boy Texan" and "Gone native and learned Spanish Floridian" routines are just for show (And tax avoidance.). The Bush family are New England old-money to the core. That's why their family compound is in Kennebunkport, Maine, not anywhere in Texas or Florida. (The fact that they have a "family compound" should be a big clue.) Families like that have connections and influence worthy of a Deus Ex villain.

I'm not going to guess as to his IQ. I have the feeling that, whatever it may be, he'll turn out looking like a brilliant and regal statesman compared to the dumpster fire that just took office; and we'll all look back on George W. fondly in comparison. But he could be as dimwitted as a dimwit could be; and the Bush name, plus a discrete word or two into the right ear from dad, or maybe even Grampa Prescott, absolutely would be more then enough to get him admission into Yale, an initiation into the Skull and Bones, and a nice cushy slot in the air national guard and all of the other finery.

Comment Re:Similarly (Score 1) 389

Eh? I've never had the Apple Store ask me for my password. What they've asked me is if I have my data backed up (Answer is always yes... to three different places, actually.); because when they depot your computer they run a full diagnostic and anything is even a little bit out of spec they pull and replace the component. So you're very likely to get it back with a fresh HD imaged back to the default OS version that shipped with it.

Comment Re:They are full of shit (Score 2) 389

There's being politely greeted.

And then there's having some pushy twat try to up-sell you to a $149.99 gold-plated HDMI cable, a $39 extended warranty and service plan to go with it, and a $99 installation service to have Geek Squad come to your house and plug it into your TV; when you're already annoyed that you're (over)paying Best Buy $40 for an HDMI cable because you need it on short notice and can't wait for the $10 one to arrive from Amazon.

Comment Re: Good Riddance (Score 1) 207

Or, worse, they mutate nearly invisibly when you copy out of Confluence, Google Docs, or any Microsoft product; and paste them into Sublime Text or, gods forbid, the command line; in order to make use of the documentation that your tech writer has proofed and decided to "improve" in order to make it look "professional".

Not just good riddance. But curly quotes, em-dashes, and all that other "smart" or "pretty" formatting garbage makes me want to find the Unicode monkeys who inflicted it on us and hit them repeatedly with a stick.

Comment Re:Hmmm (Score 1) 92

Haven't you heard? Travis Kalanick and Donald Trump are buds now. Kalanick signed went all-in and even kissed enough jaundiced ass to score himself an appointment to Trump's unofficial (And nicely exempt from Senate confirmation.) "Strategic and Policy Forum" shadow cabinet. Any DoT policies that inconvenience Uber ought to be gone in a year; along with federal highway funds for any state that doesn't play along.

Comment Re:Ah, I was wondering when it would begin (Score 1, Informative) 183

Eh? If you don't see the parallels between Trump and the rise of fascism, you're being willfully obtuse.

Alliance with white/aryan supremacist groups? Check.
Elevation of the above to prominent public positions? Check.
Demonizing entire ethnicities and religions to give the masses an enemy to hate? Check.
Violent thugs running around and violently attacking opponents? Check.
Proposals to round up undesirables and put them into camps? Check.
Promotion of xenophobia, also to give the masses an enemy to hate? Check.
A propaganda machine using the "big lie" method? Check.
Promises to "make $country great again" with no specifics besides the claim that dear leader is the only one who can do so? Check.

Trump may not literally be Hitler. But he's using more than a few of Adolf's techniques to gain and secure his base of power. Honestly, I hope you're right and it *IS* all overblown. But enough of the parallels are there to be very worrisome. And if anything even remotely resembling a Reichstag fire type incident takes place once he is in office... I guess the question becomes poutine or Vegemite.

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