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Comment: Re:What's the max bandwidth of coax cable? (Score 4, Informative) 335

If I recall correctly, the same amount of space a television channel uses is around 10-12Mb/s of continuous data. Current modems can bond 12+ channels. The more that people stream instead of requiring live tv, the more channels can be allocated to internet. Each modem can be configured to use different channels. While there is one piece of wire from the street to your house, there are many piece of coax AND backup unused cable throughout your neighborhood. Each neighborhood has a junction with bazoodles of cable to it and probably fiber.

So the short answer is they can allocate gigabits of data streams in your neighborhood, and with numerous backbone options from there to the main office they have all the bandwidth they need for the foreseeable future. And it doesn't 'run out', it just gets slower at the shared wire level for the user. Which is why netflix looks like crap at 7PM every night.

Comment: Its all a zero sum game (Score 1) 335

Cable tv is a leaking ship and losing subscribers by the day. In a few years most content will be streamed. If you are losing money on the television end of the business, you have to make it up on the streaming end. Satellite is the same except they don't have the kind of internet end that comcast has. This is why Dish is doing the 'over the top' offering later this year. They're going to offer 'basic cable' as a streaming, non satellite option. This is why comcast is buying time warner. They'll basically own the pipe and will jack up the price to offset declining tv revenues and the more you 'watch', the more you'll pay.

We don't have the 300M cap here yet, but we will and comcast is the only high speed provider anywhere in my county. They also charge more here than they do where uverse/verizon/dsl is available.

I had considered cutting the cord this year and going with a big antenna I have in my attic (83 channels), netflix/hulu/amazon and some specific channel streaming (TNT, Disney) to save some $$$. But then I saw what comcast was doing with the caps and extra charges in other areas and realized I'd just be paying $120+ for internet instead of $60 for internet and $60 for tv.

Since the head of the FCC is the former head of the cable lobby and the head of the cable lobby is the former head of comcast, it looks like the political revolving door will assure that this will come to fruition.

Google will never run fiber to anywhere near a majority of homes. The phone company doesn't even offer DSL in that broad a manner.

Comment: Re:Incredibly wise advice (Score 2) 119

As usual, statistics lie. In dual degree marriages with engineering degrees there is a lot of money involved so one or both eats a lot of shit so they can live in the nice house, drive the nice cars and enjoy their earnings.

In poor marriages, there isn't enough money to make it worthwhile.

Its also interesting to note that second marriage divorce rates are higher than first, and third marriages are even worse. So they don't learn from their mistakes and failures beget higher failures. Once you're done with your first one, everyone you date will already have been married and divorced at least once. The ones that make it into their 40's without ever marrying are a real treat, because there's a reason.

And if you think that problem solving and rational thinking happens in a marriage...wow, have you got some surprises coming to you.

Comment: Re:Incredibly wise advice (Score 4, Informative) 119

Kids don't have to cost very much. Billions of them are raised around the world for next to nothing. Living below your means and having a good retirement account is a very good idea.

But yeah, marriage is a piss poor idea. You have no idea what you're going to get. My ex wife held her breath for 5.5 years of dating and everything was wonderful. Which ended within days of the ring going on her finger.

The old saying is true: marriages fail because men think that everything will stay the same and women think everything will be different.

I survived financially because most of my assets were earned before we married and weren't community property. There's a reason they call it financial death.

Comment: Re:Transcript... (Score 4, Informative) 119

I learned that many programmers are musicians or good at various art forms. Which surprised me because I was a good programmer and can't play a musical instrument or do anything artistic at all.

I learned that if you're a coder, you'd better have a career change lined up before you're too far along into your 40's.

I learned that when you're older if you lose your job, good luck getting re-employed.

I learned that if you want life long income from writing code, you'd have been well off to learn legacy languages and operating systems and get a job with a large business or the government. In fact, doing that now would leave you with a lot less competition for highly specialized work and you'd largely be competing with old farts for jobs.

I learned how to reduce stress.

As a code writer from the 70's through the early 90's and the manager of programmers through early 2000's, followed by watching almost everyone I know who did it lose their jobs in their early 50's and go through hell to find work, seems like all of that is not only reliable but pretty important.

That's without going back and re-reading the transcript.

Comment: Re:Transcript... (Score 2) 119

As someone who has been unemployed for the last 14 years, I can manage anything because I've been doing almost nothing besides reading about everything on the internet.

Oh, and I'm also stupidly wealthy, which is why I haven't had to work since 2000. Which probably qualifies me for a few things here and there.

Comment: Re:How many employees does Slashdot need? (Score 1) 272

Unions aren't evil but sometimes they go a little overboard. Nobody needs to make $20 an hour to make cupcakes. My ex works in a medical profession that requires a college degree and extensive training. Her uncle worked his whole life as a cashier in a grocery store. He made more an hour than she did and retired in his 50's. He didn't even graduate from high school. All he had to do was say "HI!", smile and pass boxes over a barcode reader.

Comment: Re:Corporate culture (Score 1) 272

Yeah that one is a bit of a mystery. My uber white trash, almost penniless ex in-laws have one and I'm pretty sure its bigger than that. Huge driveway penis. The thing is, they can't afford the fuel for it but that's okay because they can't afford to put new tires on it either. The ones on there are at least ten years old and as any RV owner will tell you, pushing those past 7 years is asking for trouble.

My greatest hope is that they offer to take my ex on a long trip through a winding mountainous bypass with lots and lots of long drop offs on both sides.

Comment: Re:How Many Employees are Required? (Score 1) 272

To be fair, Windows has had an issue that many other OS's haven't really had. It had to maintain compatibility with a ridiculous array of third party apps written in a bazillion languages over a very long time period with a fairly monolithic operating system that was built like topsy on a fairly hard to work with processor architecture that also grew like topsy. While their ability to maintain backwards compatibility has been way less than perfect, unix/linux had a much more technically adept user base and apple had a much smaller collection of applications and third party products to deal with. Microsoft had a lot of baggage in terms of user volume and apps to deal with, and a ridiculously broad array of hardware and oddball drivers.

I never saw a unix/linux release that didn't go something like "Well, I put in the upgrade, recompiled almost everything, edited 57,000 text files filled with arcane settings, half the drivers didn't work for six more months until I got a version 6 revs back, waved some chicken bones over my head and learned swahili". Apples migration from 68k to powerpc to intel came with a very small comparative user base, very limited hardware, and not many apps...but a lot of stuff still broke. I remember putting the first version of OS X on my mac. Nothing worked.

But your point is well made. When you have just the people needed to do the work, you're all like minded, and you don't have a lot of legacy stuff to deal with, you can really crank out some code.

Comment: My experience (Score 5, Interesting) 272

I worked for some time for one of the largest companies in the world during its biggest growth period. We had about 40,000 employees when I joined and about 15 years later we had about 120k. Honestly, we didn't really do anything significantly different production wise at the end that we weren't doing that the beginning, perhaps 10k of those extra 80k employees contributed to an actual increase in delivered products and services.

At the beginning a department was generally a manager who reported to a VP or GM, they had 5-6 managers under them and each manager had 6-12 employees. Those first line managers were responsible for making decisions and accountable for the results. About half the company was in manufacturing or customer support of some kind.

What we had at the end were lots and lots of meetings with lots and lots of people who all wanted a vote. Ownership and accountability were all over the place. Perhaps 3-5 people were all doing the job that one FLM was doing at the beginning. We had a ton of process and paperwork. Lots and lots of middle management. There were now as many as 7-8 layers between a first line manager and a GM or VP. That's another thing. I think we had about 9 or 10 VP's at the start and we had about 50 of them towards the end. We spent millions, even billions on things we really had no core competency on and then abandoned them when the people running them realized the quagmire they were in was about to go over their heads. We got further and further away from profitable products and services.

Then we took a seriously wrong turn innovation-wise (like we didn't do any for a while, just insisted on doing the same stuff we'd always done, the way we'd always done it) and we almost had our lunch eaten by a far less capable competitor. We lost or laid off about 30,000 employees in just a few years. Unfortunately many of them were the talented people who just didn't need to deal with uncertainty or bureaucracy anymore. Miraculously, a small group of employees coughed up a major innovation and we got back into the game and came back gangbusters. The company has such a commanding lead in the market they're in and are so efficient at manufacturing that really nobody else can profit in the segment so they'll maintain inertia for at least another 3-5 years, maybe more.

The company is still doing well, but frankly even at current employee levels you could take another 20-30k of the middle management and redundant "stakeholders" out to the parking lot, tar and feather them and not allow them back into the building ever again and absolutely nothing bad would happen. As long as you held onto the manufacturing, IT, customer service, engineering and about 50 marketing/PR people, things would go at least as well.

We worked with Microsoft a lot and I met regularly with their execs and senior management. They have pretty much the same disease. A long in the tooth cash cow that turns out money like a broken ATM and management that's sure all of that is due to their guidance and genius. Extreme narcissism and an ivory tower that goes to the moon. Most of the key decision makers and innovators are probably mired down in 7.5 hours of meetings a day and spend the other hour and a half doing e-mail and writing progress reports. Once they wander too far away from the cash cow, they burn through money and get nowhere. They absolutely fit the saying "when you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail". Its all about "how do we stuff Windows into it, and lets just try to do the same things that others already squeezed the profit out of, whether there is a real strategy there or if it even fits into anything we have any competence in".

So I'd say that with their current reasonable and profitable product set, they probably need around 65k-70k employees. I don't think at this point that they really have any valid position in the hardware business. The mobile market blew past them 3+ years ago. They might make 4th or 5th in the ecosystem business if they tried hard. They could easily be pushed right out of business in under 5 years.

Comment: Good luck (Score 1) 280

I have about 25 accounts on sites that have things like payment information. About 25% of them have odd password restrictions to the extent where I have no choice but to write them down. Some require a special symbol, some won't allow that, and one requires a 12 character password and nothing else I use will allow that many.

So while I do use the same password for all sites that haven't got any monetary or important personal information (and I've used the same one for 30 years), I have to have 5 other passwords. Since most of the sites also require a unique username and not an email or other username that I could re-use, I also have about 40 user names. So again, have to write it all down.

At some point, I'd like to see the security level of a piece of paper with usernames and passwords written down all over the front and back sitting in a drawer next to the computer vs just being able to use the same username/password on every system without ever changing it. I actually get ticked off when I'm asked for a password without any listed qualifiers, and its only after I put one in that the site tells me what they will and won't allow. And its *MY* password. I'd like to pick whatever the hell I want, how long I want, whether I want upper/lower/numbers/special characters in it, etc.

The greatest concern I have is that the company holding the password will lose it. I've had my account info hacked/lost about 100 times over the years. Number of times someone has gotten into an account I own without the password being simply lost by the holder? Zero over 35+ years.

Comment: Re:It's time (Score 1) 66

by Cute Fuzzy Bunny (#47389443) Attached to: Does Google Have Too Much Influence Over K-12 CS Education?

That's one way to possibly solve the problem. If you've got a long time to work with and aren't concerned with what happens to the kids currently in the programs. It'd turn out badly in areas of low affluence. When California tried reducing class sizes without thinking about making more qualified teachers, as jobs opened at the schools in affluent areas, the good teachers ran to them and the schools in poor areas had to hire crap teachers just to fill the jobs. Quality of education plummeted right in lock step with how wealthy the neighborhoods were.

The other way would be to do what the top education graded countries do. All education free from kindergarten to college. Longer school days but about 50% of it extracurricular and fun. Highly trained and certified teachers. Low student to teacher ratios. Minimal standardized testing since the teachers are trusted to handle education issues in the class room and the low ratios and rigorous teacher certification actually allow that to happen. We happen to be doing the exact opposite.

I have a son in public elementary school and have dealt with the issues. The principal is a bureaucrat and low grade politician, but she isn't very good at it. She'd last about a month as a first line manager in a fortune 500 company. The superintendent is a pure politician. Neither has an education bone in their body. The teachers are all unionized, and right now they're forcing out one of the best teachers in the school because they keep expanding class sizes (past 30 to one teacher) and she's got the least tenure. Half the teachers suck so badly I'm surprised the kids learn anything. Some are decent, but badly undertrained or inexperienced and the huge class load burns them out.

There's a big push to use technology as a teaching replacement. Only problem is that many of the younger kids have no computer experience. What's worse is I live in an extremely affluent area, yet mommy doesn't want little Jimmy playing with her computer and many of them won't cough up the $200 for a dedicated machine for the kid.

This is the top end experience for public schools, due to the affluence in my area. Schools in run down areas are horrific by comparison. Private schools aren't much of a panacea. There is very little to go on when trying to figure out which private schools are good and which aren't. Many of the better private schools are religion based and after my experience with private Catholic schools, I'll just say no thank you. A lot of the private schools are really no better than the public schools and if you complain, they'll show you the door and keep your tuition. Plenty more people in line waiting to pay.

We know how to do it. There are dozens of countries that spend a fraction of what we spend and they don't depend on competition. Our universities and major companies are full of their graduates. We'll just keep doing the same wrong things over and over again (and moreso!) and hope to magically end up with a different result.

It is surely a great calamity for a human being to have no obsessions. - Robert Bly

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