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Comment: Re:Airbnb profiting on illegal activity (Score 1) 319

by Critical Facilities (#46694623) Attached to: SF Evictions Surging From Crackdown On Airbnb Rentals
Well, what about those folks who own their homes? The article says that they're subject to these restrictions as well. So, if you own a 5 bedroom house, and you choose to rent out a room on AirBnb or VRBO, you'll be cited as well.

To me, seems like the solution should be simple. Just handle it the way a lot of paid escorts do. Offer your room "for free" to people visiting, and then if anyone wants to "offer" you some money expressly NOT for lodging (nudge nudge, wink wink), well then they're free to do that. In the same way that you're paying escorts "for their companionship" and specifically NOT for anything else, you could make the same argument about folks staying the weekend in your spare room. They're not paying you for lodging, they're paying you for your services of guiding them around the city, or cooking for them, or allowing them to use your washer machine, or whatever.

Comment: Re:Personal Experiance (Score 2) 137

And on a related note, this "study" says that 500 lux is the magic threshold, and goes on to suggest that this level of light is difficult to achieve indoors. From personal experience, this is not true.

I spent several years working in Commercial Real Estate Management, and one thing that was always a struggle was that we'd have folks in various office type environments arguing over whether or not it was too bright or not bright enough in the office (this was in addition to everyone fighting over whether or not it was too hot or too cold....another conversation entirely). Anyway, as a solution, I had my team buy light meters, and we used the OSHA thresholds for safety for egress lighting as well as the lighting designer's standards from the blueprints of the facility as a guideline, and I would instruct my team to ensure that the light levels were at LEAST 35 footcandles, and at MOST 90 footcandles (in most cases).

500 lux = 46.45 footcandles. I can tell you that the vast majority of the workspaces in conventional offices (from my experience) is usually in the 50 to 60 footcandle range. The point being, I disagree with the study claiming that it is difficult to achieve indoors, or that you specifically need to do something extraordinary to achieve this light level.

Comment: Re:I'm sure they're grateful for COBRA (Score 1) 287

by Critical Facilities (#46150557) Attached to: Layoffs At Now-Private Dell May Hit Over 15,000 Staffers

but ask me how I know you don't have a pre-existing condition.

Ugh! I can only imagine. I'm inferring that you (or someone you know) does, and I was (and am) grateful that I didn't have that complicating the matter to drive up the cost even further. While I'm not sure exactly who to believe any more in this whole Health Care Reform debate, and I do not thing the existing legislation is a complete and thorough solution, I'm glad that at least the issue of pre-existing conditions is being addressed. While I'm fortunate enough to not have that be a factor for me yet, I don't think it's fair that those who are should be so boxed in with their choices as a result.

Comment: Re:I'm sure they're grateful for COBRA (Score 2) 287

by Critical Facilities (#46149445) Attached to: Layoffs At Now-Private Dell May Hit Over 15,000 Staffers

But at least you're getting a group-policy rate that the employer had negotiated, rather than an open-market individual/family rate. It's better than (pre-ACA) open-market plans, I suspect

Not always. I worked for the largest commercial real estate company in the world a few years ago. When I put in my notice, there was going to be a lapse of about 30 days between when my insurance would expire with my present employer, and when my new benefits would kick in with my new employer. When I received the COBRA notification explaining the details of my coverage (if I were to have chosen to take it), I was shocked. My premiums more than tripled....not exaggerating. Coverage for me and my young daughter for a fairly standard health policy (which still had copays, co-insurance, and deductibles, mind you) was going to be well over $600 for 30 days.

Suffice to say, I was able to find a term based health insurance plan, and get us both covered for about $150-$175 for 30 days, with better co-pays and a much lower deductible.

Comment: Re:Ya pretty much (Score 1) 299

by Critical Facilities (#46090231) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: An Open Source PC Music Studio?
I totally agree on Sonar. There tends to be a lot of "fan-boi-ism" that comes with the Pro-Tools crowd, or even the Logic crowd. Nothing wrong with either application, both are great, but they are not, repeat NOT, in any way, special or superior to many of the other commercial DAWs. I'm running Cakewalk X1 Producer, and I have to tell you, I can't imagine using anything else. Now, admittedly, I've been using Cakewalk's stuff for years, so I'm used to their particular workflow, but I defy anyone to point me to any capability that their DAW of choice has that Sonar doesn't.

If you're reasonably serious (and it sounds like the poster is), I would suggest starting with at least Sonar Studio (which is their mid-grade option). There's nothing wrong with the basic package, it just lacks some features that you're going to want. You can also go with Producer and get everything you could want and more, but at just over $500, it may be more than you're wanting to spend if the software it new to you.

As for a program for musical notation, check out Notion. I use it and I love it, and it is only $99 (much more affordable than Finale. Now keep in mind, like Finale, these packages don't really come with powerful Virtual Synths/Virtual Orchestras, so the "sound" you're going to get it going to depend on what you choose to use as the virtual instrument. If you're talking about orchestral stuff (and given that you're needing notation, I'm going to assume you do), there are many choices, and the good ones aren't cheap. You can go for East-West Quantum Leap, or Vienna Symphonic, or East-Wests's Complete Composer's Edition, and never look back, but it's gonna be expensive.

If, however, you want one that sounds really quite good, and is a little easier on the wallet, give a listen to Miroslav Philharmonik. The strings, winds, brass, and percussion all sound quite good, in my opinion. The choirs leave a little to be desired, and some of the woodwinds could be more crisp, but overall, for $149, I think it's a good deal.

Comment: Re:I find this strange (Score 1) 397

by Critical Facilities (#45995671) Attached to: Electrical Engineering Lost 35,000 Jobs Last Year In the US
Bro, it isn't that I'm considering this a personal slight. Don't give yourself that much credit. You're just being a bit obtuse here. You're continuing to avoid elaborating on what you feel an "EE type job" would be, which leaves you free to take any position you want regarding any other type of position that is suggested. The reason I'm inferring that you're searching for some "fast track" is because you seem to be making the points that a) novice positions don't pay much, so most folks won't stay the course and thus the engineering field in general will suffer and b) in order for someone to become a GOOD EE, they need to work in various novice level jobs. So it would appear that you're implying that these 2 conditions are creating a condition where no one is ever going to be able to find opportunity in the field.

So you don't know anybody who has worked their way up in various industries from a lower level position. That's fine that that has been your experience. I'm trying to show you that despite your not having observed it in your social circles that it does indeed happen, and it can happen more if folks will apply themselves and get the goddamn chip of their shoulders about where you can/can't make a decent living. These "novice" positions can pay surprisingly well, depending on your specialty and where you are. Of course, desired salaries are relative, but one could easily make in the $50k-$60k range starting out with a degree and some ability to articulate and demonstrate knowledge. You may have to work some alternate shifts now and then, you may have to do a bit of travel, but it is totally achievable. Now, of course it's all relative, I guess, but in my book that's not a bad "novice" salary. Better than a whole bunch of folks.

I have to be honest, I don't see how I've proven any point of yours, and to be totally candid, I genuinely don't understand your point at all. I can't fathom what you're getting at. I don't think you have a point, I just think you like to argue.

Comment: Re:u are the troll, dude, not feeding one (Score 1) 397

by Critical Facilities (#45995519) Attached to: Electrical Engineering Lost 35,000 Jobs Last Year In the US
Spare me, dude. The CS vs coder argument is completely separate. Naturally there is a lot of math in the course of EE degrees. There had goddamn well better be. I'm not making the comparison directly between a "maintenance tech" and an EE, and if you'd read what I wrote carefully, that should be clear. However, a technician/engineer, who is going to be properly installing, diagnosing, commissioning, and/or even repairing inverters, rectifiers, static switches, load banks, voltage regulators, etc absolutely needs to understand both the mathematics and the theory. These guys are not just monkey part changers. They're highly trained, and yes typically have an EE background. Moreover, that is simply 1 potential opportunity that I'm presenting as an example for my other friend. There are many other roles one could easily apply one's EE degree toward and do quite well (perhaps a commissioning agent).

You, apparently as an EE, should know this. It makes me think that while you may have an EE designation, you are not familiar with my side of the industry. Opportunities abound outside of your particular pasture, guy.

I absolutely understand the difference.

Comment: Re:I find this strange (Score 1) 397

by Critical Facilities (#45990651) Attached to: Electrical Engineering Lost 35,000 Jobs Last Year In the US
Starting to feel like I'm feeding a troll here. I know we're not supposed to do that, but what the hell. As the hackneyed old saying on Slashdot goes, I've got Karma to burn, so why not?

I can assure you that there's a point where you'll take any job, rungs be damned. That's usually the point where you start taking things outside your chosen profession. When that happens, EE in this case has 1 less potential employee.

Here's the problem, to get to the level of good capable EE's, someone somewhere has to teach and train them. That generally happens as a novice.

OK, so you need to make up your mind. Do you want someone to explain to you how one enters the workforce after completing a degree, or are you looking for the super, secret, magic, insider trick that instantaneously propels one from "recent graduate" to "uber professional" with an "EE type job" (whatever it is you mean by that). You're switching arguments mid-stream, and as a result, missing the point.

Working as a maintenance tech is not an EE job. It also generally won't lead to an EE type job, much as emptying trashcans in a headquarters office won't generally lead to the CEO position. What your experience might lead to is managing other techs, or even that division, but that's about all. If it were otherwise, there would be little use for college degrees.

Oh where to start? First of all, you could not be more wrong, but before we get to that, let's illustrate how erratic your thinking is. You're saying "maintenance tech" as if that's the same thing as a well trained and educated engineer working on sophisticated electrical equipment like Static Switches or UPS Systems. To further illustrate your lack of understanding, in the next sentence, you use an analogy with a janitor as if it's a corollary. There is a big, big difference between a guy who changes light bulbs or empties trash cans and a skilled, specialized engineer/technician who's capable of working on complex equipment.

You then go on to say that the experience might lead to managing other techs or a division, but "that's about it", which by extraction I'm getting that for you this would not be an "EE Type Job". So, I guess I'm left wondering what it is that you think a person who gets an Electrical Engineering Degree might do professionally. Maybe you think that someone in this position gets a big office somewhere, and a big paycheck, and they just get to sit around and draw up designs on some CAD program, then send it out to other people to "do the work" and that's about it. I'm thinking this (combined with your attitude) are the reasons you're dissatisfied with your results so far.

Most Engineers I know don't have (and never had) any illusions about needing to pay their dues early in their careers, and realized that it was inevitable that they were eventually going to have to get their hands dirty a bit. For crying out loud, you're studying Electrical Engineering, it's not a crazy idea that your job might entail being involved with (and working directly on) ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT. If you're going to take issue with opportunities that might involve you working with the gear, well then you probably picked the wrong degree program for you. What you wanted to pick was the "money for nothing" degree. Good luck with that.

And back to your original point about not being able to get anywhere by being a maintenance tech, I am living proof that you're full of shit. Not only did I start my employment career as a lowly maintenance tech, I never even finished my degree. I now and a Regional Director of Data Centers for a major Fortune 100 company, overseeing all site operations, and am very deeply involved with all of the Electrical Projects we have going on in all of my Data Centers. Prior to this, I've managed Data Centers for other major Fortune 500 and 100 companies, all names you'd recognize. I am in my early 40's, I make more money than the vast majority of folks in the US, and I am contacted constantly by recruiters approaching me for excellent positions. Suffice to say, this formerly lowly maintenance tech is doing just fine, and has a very bright future.

I am not some special genius, I do not come from money, and my family has no "inside connections". All I did was take the jobs I could get at the time, and then I worked my goddamn ass off to make sure I was better than everybody else, and that I never, ever stopped learning on the job. People are way too quick to dismiss jobs because on some level they think that the jobs are beneath them. I can't say it any better than Thomas Edison: "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work".

Comment: Re:I find this strange (Score 1) 397

by Critical Facilities (#45987789) Attached to: Electrical Engineering Lost 35,000 Jobs Last Year In the US

Here's the problem, to get to the level of good capable EE's, someone somewhere has to teach and train them. That generally happens as a novice. Those jobs are also considered to be the first to be outsourced. So if you don't hire the novices, within a generation the good capable ones are gone. That business can't think beyond the next quarter is a huge part of the problem.

I'm not sure I'm following you here. You seem to be making the case that a recent graduate of an Electrical Engineering program has no chance of getting a job because they lack experience, and the "beginner" type jobs are the "first to be outsourced".

First of all, this isn't a new challenge, nor is it one that is exclusive to Engineering graduates. Any recent graduate in virtually any discipline is going to have to take a job where they are able to "prove themselves". Yes, this job is going to be a few rungs down the corporate ladder than you'd probably like, but suck it up, that's life. Second, you're making a sweeping generalization that all "novice" level jobs in the Engineering Field are the first to be outsourced. There are plenty of jobs one could take that would make use of an Electrical Engineering degree which could be the first steps in the climb up toward positions that are more in line with what someone studying that field might want. True, you may have to take a job that doesn't pay quite as much as you'd like at first, or you may need to move to where the job(s) are, or you may need to take a job that has more menial tasks (or even *gasp* physical work aspects to the job) to get your foot in the door, etc.

There are lots of jobs like this that simply can't be outsourced overseas because you have to have a body standing right in front of the equipment to be able to work on it. You just can't outsource a guy to come work on your Generator Paralleling Switchgear or your Automatic Transfer Switch. You need a guy in the area, with the tools and skills necessary to be able to get the job done. So yeah, you might have to start as a Preventive Maintenance tech or maybe a Project Manager or something, but if you stay the course, there is absolutely opportunity.

Comment: Re:I find this strange (Score 2) 397

by Critical Facilities (#45986587) Attached to: Electrical Engineering Lost 35,000 Jobs Last Year In the US

If you're in college now and majoring in EE, you'd have to be an idiot to not change majors. This profession is totally dead.

Utter hogwash.

Anybody working in Data Center Operations or Data Center Construction can tell you that good, capable EE's are not easy to come by at all. If you're smart, you'll stay the course, and with as many Data Centers (and for that matter any other Critical Facilities) being built each year, you will have a long and prosperous career. Opportunity abounds.

Comment: Re:WTF? (Score 1) 336

by Critical Facilities (#45952769) Attached to: New Home Automation?

Jealousy or taking a realistic long view?

Skewed view? Yes. Realistic view? Not so much.

You're making a lot of assumptions to arrive at your point. First of all, you're assuming that this house will be built in some rural area, as opposed to being built more vertically (as a lot of modern homes are built) in an already established area. Lots of neighborhoods in major metropolitan areas are having their older, smaller, aging homes razed and replaced with homes that are more modern, and while having the same footprint, have more square footage).

Next, you're completely missing all of the energy efficient and environmentally friendly building designs and materials. Efficiency in almost all household products has skyrocketed in recent years. Compare the energy efficiency of a modern furnace or air conditioner to one from 30 years ago. It's a compelling difference. Once you start to factor in insulation and vapor barriers, lighting choices, HVAC, and many other factors, you can squeeze a surprising amount of "work" out of a relatively small amount of energy to run a home. Once you start going on about an owner filling his/her home with too much "stuff'" for yours (or George Carlin's) taste, you reveal what's really bugging you. It's fine if you choose a more minimalist lifestyle. No worries, dude. No one's judging that, or saying there's anything wrong with that. But stop throwing rocks if others choose not to (and on that note, nowhere does the poster claim that he/she is doing assumption on your part).

Look, it just seems like you're wound kinda tight on this issue, and are just ready to react to anyone who sees things differently than you. You're like a hammer looking for a nail. Just breath, dude, it'll be OK.

Oh, and the article you linked to with "proof" that Warren Buffet agrees with you, actually refers to this OP ED piece that Buffett wrote, in which he clearly is more making the case for the inequality of TAXES on people in different income brackets. At no point does he suggest that there's anything wrong with some folks making more (even if it's a LOT more) than other people. I respect that you choose to work for a non-profit, and I love that it is one that is centered on helping others who are not as fortunate. You ain't gonna get any shit from me for that. I think it's great to help others, and I often do so myself, not because I expect anything in return, but because it just feels right, and it's how I'm wired. However, if you're having these feelings that future generations are going to be somehow burdened because some folks today make too much money, I gotta tell ya that I sure don't get where that logic is coming from.

Comment: Re:WTF? (Score 0) 336

by Critical Facilities (#45951235) Attached to: New Home Automation?
Your posts are certainly starting to sound like jealousy. Between declaring that a 4,000 square foot home is too big, implying that we're desperately running out of room for said houses, and posting links to pretty graphs that show how all the wealthy people are taking your money, you're coming across sounding pretty resentful.

Maybe a little introspection is in order. Or maybe a change in career or even some money management/goal setting is in order.

Comment: Re:Automatons vs performers. (Score 2) 328

*disclaimer - I am a musician and a composer, and I am not making the argument that "robots" or anything else can ever replace live musicians

With that said:

I have yet to meet the synthesizer that can even remotely duplicate the dulcet noises of the old-fashioned dead trees and metal strings of my grand piano.

You would be surprised at how well some of the sampled, Virtual Instruments have progressed.

East West Quantum Leap Pianos

Native Instruments Piano Collection

8dio 1928 Steinway

Now again, so be clear, I'm not supporting the position that computers will ever replace musicians or actual, real instruments, mind you. I just wanted to point out that VST's have really come a long way, particularly in the last 10 years or so. No more are you stuck with Garritan Pocket Orchestra, and sad, tinny reproductions of instruments based on the PC wavetables. If you've got the money to spend, you can get some amazing sounds, with a stunning amount of dynamics and articulations availble.

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